Obit: Harold Lewis “Hal” Sletten

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal

Harold Lewis “Hal” Sletten, 88, passed away unexpectedly following complications from surgery.

A memorial service will be held at Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth, Calif. on August 10,  at 10 am.

 Harold was born on a family farm in Churches Ferry, N.D. to Henry and Hilda (Welo) Sletten. After the Great Depression he enlisted for active duty in the US Army.  He was assigned to the rifle company of the 96th Infantry Division. Hal was in the 1st wave of troops landing in Leyte, Philippines and was wounded on Oct. 27, 1944.  He recovered, and was sent back for another 1st wave landing, on Okinawa Japan, where he was wounded a second time.  For meritorious achievement in ground combat he received the bronze star medal, two purple hearts, and a Presidential unit citation.

Hal earned a BS degree in mechanical engineering from NDSU in 1948 where he graduated summa cum laude.  He then studied at Cal Tech Inst, Pasadena, Calif., where he earned an MS degree in mechanical engineering in 1950.  For the next 34 years, he worked in the development of innovative cooling systems for nuclear power reactors.  His work led to the personal assignment of numerous U.S. patents and publications.  He retired in 1984.

In 1954 he married Barbara Engel and they settled in Northridge Calif.

Hal is survived by Barbara and their children, Sandra Knierim (John) Puyallup, Wash., Steven (Ellen) Los Angeles, Calif., Karen Allen (Scott) Tallahassee, Fla., and Eric (Julie) Ventura, Calif. 16 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and two brothers, Robert  and Milford.

Preceding him in death are his brothers, Willis, Victor, and Bernard;  sisters, Enid Verke Hanson, Fern Daniels and Ruth Myhre; and several nieces and nephews.

Over the years Hal has enjoyed reunions of the 96th Infantry Division “Deadeyes”.   He looked forward to his nearly annual trips to North Dakota where he maintained his own farmland (adjacent to the original family homestead).  He has been a regular at his local senior center where he loved to dance to Big Band swing music, and play pool and bridge. He was an avid bicyclist, and a proud member of the Sons of Norway Norrona Lodge.  He will be dearly missed.