Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Dr. H.L. Strandberg, Col. U.S. Army, Retired


Harold Leo "Bud" Strandberg, 92, passed away peacefully on March 31, 2020 of natural causes in Tacoma, Washington.

He was born to parents Gustav and Julia (Bandel) Strandberg on the farm he grew up on near Mahtowa, Minnesota on Dec.4, 1927. Upon graduation from Barnum High School, Harold enlisted in the Navy at age 17 where he served active duty overseas on the destroyer escort the USS Cates. Returning home, he then served in the reserves while he was attending the University of Minnesota. Harold worked his way through college and graduated with high honors with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1954.

He married the love of his life, Virginia "Ginger" Sorensen on June 10, 1953, in Minneapolis. They had five children. Harold worked for the state of Minnesota, but after two years he was activated as a commissioned officer in the United States Army, where he served his country faithfully for 30 years. Through his career he and his family were stationed in Madison, Wisconsin; Germany; California; Okinawa, Japan; and North Carolina.

He also served two tours of duty in Vietnam. Harold was a Veterinary Corp officer in Special Forces during Vietnam. While stationed on Okinawa, he became a member of the elite Airborne Special Forces Green Beret. As a Green Beret, at the age of 37, Harold took Jump Training, High Altitude Low Opening "HALO" training, and was a Jumpmaster. He spent three months in Bangkok, Thailand teaching Veterinary Science at the university.

On his second tour of duty in Vietnam he was sent by the State Department as a civilian to work for United States Aid for International Development to help Montagnards with their management of livestock and controlling animal disease and traveled between camps.

Prior to this second tour in Vietnam, Harold moved his family to Alma Center, Wisconsin, from Ft. Bragg to be near his identical twin brother, Dr. Darold "Doc" Strandberg, DMV, while he was overseas. He dearly loved his twin and was always proud of him. Following that tour, the family remained in Alma Center for eight more years while Harold commuted every week, first to Ft. Snelling in Minneapolis, and later to Ft. Sheridan in Highland Park, Illinois. This devotion to his family enabled his children to all graduate from the same high school. On many Saturdays he would help his brother spay or neuter dogs and cats at his twin's veterinary clinic in Alma Center or ride with his brother on visits to farms.

Harold's last assignment in the Army was at Madigan Army Medical Center at Ft. Lewis in Tacoma, Washington, as Chief of Veterinary Activities where he retired from the Army with the rank of Colonel. Harold then went to work for the United States Department of Agriculture. He retired from USDA after 20 years at age 71. During this time he stepped in as a father figure to his grandsons Larry and Glen Larsen; he was very involved in their lives.

Harold had many hobbies over the years; he was truly a lifelong learner and insatiable reader which continued until his death. His hobbies included-electronics, ham radio operator, car repair, customizing and building computers, beekeeping, construction and photography--along with any other thing he set his mind to learn. He could fix anything. He said many times, "If you can read, you can do anything." He was a gifted man.

Harold was a great father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He enjoyed keeping up with his grandchildren's and great-grandchildren's adventures and achievements. He was greatly admired and loved by all of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a hero to his wife and children; they felt he knew everything and he could do anything.

Harold is survived by his wife of 65 years, Ginger, his children, Susan Bitter of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, Sally (Steve) Bright of Tacoma, Washington, Bruce (Sally) Strandberg of Tacoma, Washington, Sandra (Harry) Gettelman of Anthem, Arizona, and Sarah (Bryan) Staff of Hixton, Wisconsin; grandchildren: Brent (Erin) Bitter, Adam (Carrie) Bitter, Karl (Betsy) Bitter, Larry (Katie) Larsen, Glen Larsen, Keith Strandberg, Kaylin (Garrett Babcock) Brenay, Jamie (Kenneth Aubrey) Strandberg, Jessica (Dave) Harm, Justin (Britta Nelson) Janke, Soren Staff and Jens Staff, as well as 16 great-grandchildren; sister, Beverly (Ross) Halter; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Harold was predeceased by his siblings, Clifford (Marie), Bernice (Rueben) Koivisto, Myrtle (Paul) Anderson, Lucille (Don) Coppernoll, Darold (Sylvia), Maxine (George) Rautio, Walter and Frank (Carol); also by son-in-law, Mark Bitter.

There will be a celebration of life family gathering at a future date still to be determined.


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