Frederick Kristjan Bjornson, Dec. 31, 1932 – July 9, 2013, was born to Kristjan and Gertrude Johnson Bjornson in Svold , N.D. He spoke Icelandic before he learned English. As the second oldest of six children, in a very loving, tight-knit family, Fred's family and friends remained his priority throughout his life.
Fred attended high school in Cavalier, N.D., where he met his future wife, Marilyn Houghton. Having enlisted in the National Guard when he was 16, Fred was activated in 1950 during the Korean War and was an Atomic Bomb Blast veteran. He studied drafting and estimating in college on the GI bill. The majority of Fred's career was in the lumber industry and insurance sales.
They moved to Tucson, Ariz., in 1956 and a few years later moved, with their four children, to Willcox, Ariz., where they opened Bjornson Lumber. Fred was very active in the Lutheran church, Elks and Kiwanis, coached youth baseball and was a Scoutmaster. He was the last living member of the original board of Rex Allen Days Rodeo Association and considered Rex Allen Sr. a friend. Fred was active in politics, becoming Mayor of Willcox and later a councilman. During his tenure the council built the city pool, the ramada in the park and implemented the paving of gravel streets. He was named in Who’s Who in America in two categories. He and Mo Udall, along with Fred’s four children, planted a tree for the dedication of Sunizona. Fred always had a soft spot for Willcox and his many dear friends who lived there. The family later moved back to Tucson.
Fred loved large group picnics, camping, Sudoku, card and other games with family and friends, and traveling. He especially loved road trips and going on cruises. Fred and Marilyn recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with their family.
Fred survived a heart attack, kidney cancer, and stroke, and was prepared to fight this last battle of cancer. He remained optimistic, but was at peace whatever the outcome. His legacy is that of unconditional love and faith.
Fred was predeceased by his parents, siblings: Boyd (and Karen) Bjornson, Lois (and Gerald) Sevigny and Judy Rustan.
Survivors include wife Marilyn; children: John, Debbi (Eric), Bob (Irene) and Denise (Mike); grandchildren: Justin (Jen), Shannon (Chad) and Patrick (Vicky); their great-grandsons: Christian, Dylan, Ethan and Blake; his brothers: Richard (Janyce) and Roger (Margaret); brother-in-law Jack Rustan; Uncle Baldur; Marilyn’s sisters: Judy, Bobbi and Elaine who considered Fred their big brother; extended family and friends, all of whom Fred loved so dearly.
A special thank you to everyone at the VA Hospital and Hospice.
A memorial service will be held at Dove of Peace, Tucson, at a later date.