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Leslie Sivertson

Posted 1/28/14 (Tue)

Funeral Services were held Monday, Jan. 27, 2014 at the Assembly of God Church in Watford City for Leslie H. Sivertson, 92, who passed away on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 in Watford City.
Leslie H. Sivertson was born Sept. 11, 1920 in Berg, N.D., to Hans and Florence (Stegner) Sivertson. Hans was a Norwegian immigrant whose family homesteaded in the Berg area. Florence was from Sauk Centre, Minn. Florence and Hans met while she was visiting her sister who had married and moved to the Berg area. They were married on Christmas Day, 1919, after a love affair that included letter writing back and forth while Hans was away during World War I. They had three children, Les, Kenneth and Florence in three years. Tragically, after such a short time together the family was torn apart. Florence passed away as a result of giving birth to their third child. This was a defining moment for Les. He had to learn to live without his Mom and take care of his little brother Kenneth at age three. Les and Kenny grew up like twins. They were fighters and cowboys and farm hands as young men. His stories were of hard work by day and carrying on at night at barn dances and the Snake Pit in Old Sanish.
After Les had his heart stolen by his young bride Beatrice (Swenson), he went to work as a blacksmith and mechanic at Union Center Station in the new town of Keene, N.D. Arnold was born in 1943 and Janice in 1945. Les and Bea bought the station in 1947 and renamed it Keene Garage. Les often said he worked every day for 10 years until it was paid off. He started their reworking plowshares and ended there in 1995 working on automobiles. Les loved work and loved his customers. He worked hard and played hard. He loved to visit and debate politics and religion. Always from the opposite side of his audience at the time. He had great friends that worked side by side with him in Keene -- Don Lund, Sid Muirhead and Don Bleed. He also had great friends that were also favorite customers, Lester Wisness then son Milo, Halvor Rolfsrud then son Harold and his sons, John Anderson then son Ron, Art Mogen then son Kenny, Elmo Sorenson and sons, Harley Olson and sons, John Rice and the rest of the Keene – Charlson crew. He said they often beat him to the shop by the 6am starting time he kept, even after moving to Watford City in 1960. Les and Bea built a new home in Watford City in 1960 so that Arnold, Janice and Debbie, born in 1957, could attend school in town. Bea kept the books and ran the parts. Often times picking up parts after the parts stores had closed and running them to Keene so Les could finish the job in time for the customer to be ready for their next morning’s work.
Les liked to say he lived two lives. One before Jesus and one after. He was saved by the Lord Jesus Christ in 1976 after four years of searching and sleeplessness and watching a lot of Billy Graham. Les felt he was called to share the gospel to everyone who would listen for the rest of his life. He became a Gideon in 1988 and was passionate about ministering to jail inmates for many years. Les first tried to retire at age 65 in 1985. He and Bea, along with brother Kenneth and wife Louella toured the United States in their motor homes that year. He was proud of the fact that he visited every state in his motor home. But Keene Garage was calling and he returned to work for another 10 years until the age of 75. In his 80’s he set up the blacksmith shop in the McKenzie County Heritage Park and fixed the Johnson Corners Christian Academy school bus when needed. Retirement wasn’t his thing. Hard work (and a little more visiting later in life) was his thing. And Jesus. And without Jesus he said he would not have endured the second great tragedy of his life when youngest daughter Debbie was killed in an automobile accident in Wyoming in 1996. He missed Debbie greatly until the day he died. Last Monday Jan. 20, 2014, Les was reunited with his mom, Florence, and his daughter Debbie. And his dad, his sister, and all of his friends and relatives who passed on before him.
Les is survived by his loving and patient wife of 70 years, Beatrice; son, Arnold, and wife Cecelia Sivertson with stepchildren Warren Stenseth (Rhonda) and Marcia Vujnovich and step-grandchildren Dylan and Amanda Stenseth and Alexandra and Isabella Vujnovich; daughter, Janice Sanford; grandson, Brent Sanford (Sandi), and great-grandchildren Sydney, Nicolas and Erin; granddaughter, Beth Lindahl (David), and great-grandchildren Dawson and Bergen; grandson, Barry Sanford (Paige), and great-granddaughter Leyna; brother, Kenneth; brother, Don Sivertson and wife Sandie; and stepsister LaVetta Haugen and her large family. As well as a lot of favorite nieces and nephews and cousins from his beloved Sivertson Reunions.
In one of his well-worn Bibles, Les left a hand written note dated 1990, that said, “For my family – I am growing old, over 70 years old, so if I don’t get a chance to tell you, I will meet you at the East Gate of Heaven. Be there!”
Fulkerson Funeral Home of Watford City was in charge of arrangements.