Former OTP employee Stigen kept local values in adult lifePublished 11:04am Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Wally Stigen, 83, who died Thursday, March 1, always appreciated the values instilled in him as a youth while growing up in Fergus Falls. Service to community was something he carried over into his adult life in management for Otter Tail Power Company in the state of North Dakota.
Stigen came up through the ranks at Otter Tail Power, in the years following World War II, to become a branch manager at Wahpeton. In 1987 he was named a vice president to oversee all of the company’s division operations in the state of North Dakota.
His civic duties did not go unnoticed. The State of North Dakota honored Stigen with the Governor’s Leadership Award. He also received the Community Leadership Award from the Greater North Dakota Association.
“Wally epitomized the role that Otter Tail Power Company played to enhance customer service and work with the various communities with economic development,” said Fergus Falls retiree and former Otter Tail vice president Bill Giesen.
While Stigen oversaw operations in North Dakota, Giesen did the same thing for Otter Tail’s branch offices in northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. They both performed lobbying duties at their respective state legislatures.
Stigen began work with the company in October 1946, as a timekeeper on the Loeffler Crew, based out of Fergus Falls. In 1948 he became a clerk in the purchasing department.
Stigen learned more about electrical transmission and customer service, starting in June 1948, when he became a service representative helper in the Fergus Falls Division, an area that also included towns such as Battle Lake, Pelican Rapids, Perham and Parkers Prairie.
He became a stock clerk in Fergus Falls and headed into North Dakota, for Otter Tail Power, in 1951 when he was promoted to chief clerk at Oakes.
Stigen became district manager at Langdon, N.D., in 1964. A person who later succeeded him at Langdon was future Otter Tail Power Company President John MacFarlane.
Stigen became division manager at Wahpeton, in 1971. He was happy to represent Otter Tail Power and work in customer relations only 25 miles from his hometown, which also was the headquarters for OTP. He served six years as vice president in North Dakota, retiring in 1993.
Stigen’s wife, Gloria, preceded him in death. He is survived by three daughters, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The funeral was this morning at Bethel Lutheran Church, Wahpeton. Burial is at Bethlehem Cemetery, Fergus Falls.