Kjell Lorang Hoelstad was born in Oslo, Norway on 16 April 1936. He passed away on 18 October 2021.
Kjell grew up in Norway during the five years of Nazi Occupation. As a young child he actively participated with the Resistance Movement throughout the war.
In December 1950 he immigrated to the United States with his family, settling in Winnetka, Ill. This was a ten-day boat trip through storm and calm. Upon graduation from New Trier High School, he was notified he was on the USA draft list. In order to reduce the wait time for his number to come up he signed up with the US Air Force making it a 23-year career.
He was deployed to Japan and then Kansas. In order to remain on the flight line, he took a weekend off, traveled to Chicago, became a US citizen and then went right back onto the flight line. He was a flight engineer with a wide span of responsibilities.
He spent three terms of deployment in Vietnam enduring being drenched with Agent Orange. A fourth deployment required special clearance to be a part of this mission. All he knew was that he was the Flight Engineer for this mission and that his passport opened doors and services never seen before. His last assignment was with the missile site at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. For his service he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
On June 30, 1978, he retired from the US Air Force. He went back to Norway by airplane where he taught school, took care of his parents, aunts and uncle, and his children.
He returned to the USA. He, his wife, Orpha, and Gyda, his dog, lived on the A.O. Kragnes family farm, near Kragnes, MN.
Kjell is survived by his wife, Orpha (Kragnes) Hoelstad; sons, Knut Helge (Daria) Hoelstad, and Hans Martin (Kris) Hoelstad; brothers, Jon (Becky) Holstead, of Nevada, and Bjorn (Phyllis) Holstead, of Illinois; sister, Karin (Rick) Okun, of Colorado; three grandchildren, Christian, Makayla, and Skylar, and two great-grandchildren.
Kjell is preceded in death by his father, Helge Hoelstad and mother, Else Hoelstad.
Freedom is Not FREE!
A funeral service with a livestream will be held on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, at 11:00 AM with a visitation one hour before the service at Concordia Lutheran Church, rural Glyndon, MN.
Final resting place will be in the church cemetery.