Posted 7 August 2008.

Konstad, Robert (Bob)

Bob was a member of the USS Helena Organization. He served aboard the USS Helena CA-75 in the CS Division as a QM2. 1948 - 1952. (Editor)

QMCS (SS) US Navy, Retired Eight bells - a sailor's watch has ended. Robert Konstad (79), died at his Lynden, Washington, home surrounded by his family as the sun set on July 16, 2008, after an 8-month struggle with esophageal cancer. Bob was born November 20, 1928, in Ski, Norway, and grew up in the village of Orkanger, Norway. Bob, was the loving son of the late Rasmus and Arnette Konstad, and is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Anne Konstad, sons Erik (Liz) Konstad, Rolf (Andrea) Konstad, and grandson Christopher Konstad. Bob is also survived by many friends, including his walking companion, Geneva -- Erik and Liz's Norwegian Elkhound. Bob was raised during difficult times, especially during the Nazi occupation of Norway which separated his parents throughout the duration of the war: his father in the United States and his mother in Norway. Food was hard to come by and employment opportunities were scarce. After the war, at the age of 17,

Bob dropped out of high school and trained on the square-rigged sailing ship Stratsraad Lehmkuhl, then worked as a merchant seaman on the bulk carrier S/S Lysland in the North and Baltic Seas. Late in 1947, Robert emigrated to the United States and enlisted in the US Navy where he served as a navigator on the heavy cruiser USS Helena (CA-75), seeing combat in Korea where his ship took enemy fire. After his active duty obligations were satisfied, Bob continued to serve in the US Navy Reserve, becoming submarine qualified on the USS Catfish and retiring as a Quartermaster Senior Chief Petty Officer in 1981. Bob's connection with the Navy continued throughout his civilian career. He was accepted into the shipyard Apprenticeship program at Hunter's Point in San Francisco in 1955, and worked as a weapons fire control systems expert until his retirement at the end of 1989. Bob met his wife, Anne Catharina Thomle, in San Francisco in 1953 at the Norwegian Seaman's Church on Hyde Street.

They were married the following spring in the same church where they met, and where their son's would eventually be baptized. They lived in San Francisco and Pacifica, California, before making their home in Walnut Creek, California, where they lived for 26 years and raised their two sons. After Bob's retirement, he and Anne moved to Bellingham, Washington. They subsequently moved to Lynden, Washington, where they enjoyed the last 10 years of Robert's life. Bob was a man with many talents and interests: He enjoyed singing tenor with several Pacific Coast Norwegian Singers Association choirs over the years; was a gifted oil painter, specializing in nautical themes and seascapes; built tall ship models from scratch; and most recently, published an English translation of "Skomvaer: Largest Norwegian-Built Sailship." Bob was a 3rd Degree Mason and Past Master of the Columbia Brotherhood Lodge, a longtime member of the Norwegian Club in San Francisco and a former Scoutmaster.

Last November, when he was diagnosed with cancer, Robert accepted his fate with an amazingly positive attitude and sense of humor. His attitude never wavered, right to the end. He was satisfied with his life, felt that he accomplished and experienced everything he wanted, and had a rock solid faith as to where his next journey would take him. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and, of course, Geneva. Our family thanks Whatcom Hospice Foundation for their compassionate support, and request that remembrances be made to the Whatcom Hospice Foundation, 800 East Chestnut, STE 1-C, Bellingham, WA 98225-5241. Memorial will be held August 9, 2008, 5:00 PM, at Faith Lutheran Church, 2750 McLeod Road, Bellingham, Washington. Funeral, with full military honors, will be held on 15 August 2008, at 3:00 PM at Tahoma National Cemetery, 18600 SE 240th Street, Kent, Washington.