On Saturday, April 10, 2021, Astrid Ongstad passed from this earthly life into the arms of Jesus, her Lord and Savior.
Astrid was born December 12, 1929 to Peter and Karine (Hegg) Braaten of rural Tioga on the farm her father homesteaded in 1902, after immigrating from Norway. Astrid was an only child who had more relatives in Norway than here in the United States! She was very proud of her Norwegian heritage and loved her three trips to Norway to visit her many aunts, uncles and relatives.
Astrid shared that when she started school, she spoke only Norwegian, but even so she made an incredibly special friendship that lasted 85 years and even involved a trip to China together. Astrid graduated from Tioga High School in 1948 as Valedictorian and received a one year scholarship to Augsburg College. While in high school, she worked for a local attorney as well as secretary to the superintendent of the Tioga Public School. Her “spare” time was spent helping her dad on the farm. She become quite a “pro” at driving the tractor, seeding and cultivation. She loved her family farm and all the hard work her parents put into it. Following high school and her year at Augsburg College she transferred to Minot State Teacher’s College where she obtained her teaching degree.
Astrid met the love of her life while at Minot and on July 29, 1951 she married Walter Ongstad. She taught school in Gladstone for a few years but then her and Walt moved around North Dakota and she held various jobs. They moved to Dickinson where she was secretary to the pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Williston, Minot, Mandan and finally Bismarck. While in Bismarck, she worked for many years for the Memorial Mental Health Center, Governor Link and the North Dakota State Highway Department. In 2014 she left her beloved Bismarck and moved to Devils Lake to be close to her daughter.
Astrid and her husband were very active in the Bismarck Sons of Norway and the Square-Dancing Club. She belonged to NSA (National Secretary Association) and was once selected Secretary of the Year. She was a member of the Toast Mistress while in Bismarck and also did volunteer work at her church, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Astrid and Walt loved to travel, going to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Germany and Norway. They were “snowbirds” to Arizona for 20+ years. They loved traveling in their various motorhomes all over and visited many National Parks and campgrounds.
Astrid is preceded in death by her husband Walter in 2000. She is survived by her son, Dr. Curtis Ongstad and Kathy (Clow) of New Richmond, Wis. and her daughter, Vicki Harper and Craig of Devils Lake. Astrid is also survived by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were her greatest pride and joy; she shared her love for them with everyone who came into her room at Eventide Heartland Care Center to visit.
Grandchildren – Dr. Sarah Ongstad (Chris Falter) of Lincoln, Neb., Seth (Sarah) Onstad of Fargo, Jordan Ongstad of New Richmond, Joanna (Sean) Schneider of Fargo, Ethan (Christina) Ongstad of Minneapolis, Minn., Andrew Ongstad of Woodbury, Minn., Emma Ongstad (Zach Bahr) of Roberts, Wis., Jeremy Harper of Grafton, Karissa (Dylan) Holien of Williston, and Lacey (Matthew) Pye of Clover, S.C.; great-grandchildren – Emmett Ongstad, Edwin Ongstad, Charles Holien, Julia Ongstad and two on the way; brother-in-law, Duane Ongstad of Zephyrhills, Fla.
A Memorial Service for Astrid will be held on June 5, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Bethel Evangelical Free Church, Devils Lake with fellowship and lunch to follow. Interment will be at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, rural Mandan at a later date.
Posted online on April 20, 2021