Friday, April 25, 2008
In loving memory of C.Blaine Harstad
Ah, I have been dreading this post for a long time. Margarets Father passed away last weekend. He was 79. Blaine lived and fought with COPD, a wierd lung disorder for the last four years. If you spoke to him he would say that he was not in pain or that he was dealing ok, but the reality was that he could not breathe. He was on oxygen, he was on a plethora of medications and he was driving like a mad man in his motor cart. Despite this he was himself to the end. He was still working for his law firm right up until the day he died. His last email to his firm was to answer some legal questions for a client and to tell them that he would not be in to work anymore and that he intended to die with his boots on. This was a man so organized that he wrote his own obit. He planned his funeral with his daughters, he planned his gravesite with Margaret and he made sure that his world was in order for his family before he passed. A truly extraordinary man.
Blaine grew up in a small farm town called Ponytown Corners, just outside of Harmony, Minnesota. He went to elementary school in a one room school house called "The Brokken School." He went to school at age four, because there were three other kids starting first grade that year and his parents did not want him to be the only kid in his class. Later at Harmony High he graduated highschool second in his class at 16. He went to graduate from Luther College, did a stint as a highschool teacher, then went into the army for two years, got out and worked as a broadcaster at Radio Station. It was then that he decided to go to Law School. He had many choices as to where he did that. The University of Minnesota won out over Cal Berkely because, as he said it, "Not many people come back from California and my family is in Minnesota". He graduated fourth in his class at the U. He was the President of the Law Review while he was there, elected by fellow classmates who included Walter Mondale and several other lawyers who later became State Supreme court justices and also MN Attorney Generals. Later while practicing law he becaame known as the top Real Estate lawyer in the state. On top of all this Blaine was just truly a colorful and interesting person. There was never ever a dull moment with Blaine, he was always making people talk, always asking questions, always creating humor of a higher level and always learning, reading and educating himself. While hanging with the Harstad Family either at the cabin in Brainard or at the family home on Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis you were going to be pitted against the daily "Issac Assimov" in the paper or quizzed deeply about what book you were reading at that moment.
My wife will miss him, but I too will truly miss him because he was one of the few people in my life that challenged me to look at myself and see what I was up to.........
His funeral is this weekend. Visitation on Sunday and mass on Monday. I believe that Mondale will be one of the guest speakers as well. I will post the Obit soon.