Russell L. Langseth, 86, of Battle LakePublished 9:59am Thursday, July 11, 2013 Updated 12:02pm Thursday, July 11, 2013
Russell LeRoy Langseth was born on Sept. 18, 1926, the fourth of four sons and a daughter born to Peter and Ina Langseth of rural Barney, N.D. Born on the farm of his youth, Russ attended Antelope Consolidated School and worked with his family until he enlisted in the Navy at age 17, while still a senior year in high school.
He finished his schoolwork early, still as the valedictorian of his class, and in March 1943 joined the V-12 program in Valley City, N.D., then moved on to the NROTC program at Berkeley, Calif. He was commissioned an ensign and served on the USS Guadalupe, rising eventually to the rank of lieutenant.
Following his Navy career, he attended the University of North Dakota, where he studied civil engineering, graduating in 1949.
He began his 40-year post-military career working with the North Dakota Highway Department. While performing a survey in Walsh County, N.D., he met his future bride, Doris Evenson, the Home Extension Agent for that county.
They married Nov. 25, 1951, and were blessed with two sons, David and James, who later followed in their father’s footsteps, becoming civil engineers.
Russ continued his career with highway design engineering positions in Kansas City and Minneapolis. In 1964, he took a position as the city engineer for Bloomington, and 10 years later became the director of public works, a position he held until his retirement in 1989. He and Doris then moved to the log home they built on West Battle Lake.
During his career, he served as president of the Civil Engineering Association of Minnesota and served on the executive council of the Institute of Municipal Engineers.
He also chaired the North American Snow Conference and was a speaker and leader at several other national professional events.
In 1985 he was named the Public Works Engineer of the Year for Minnesota and appeared on the cover of the national Public Works magazine in August 1985.
Russ was active in the Indian Guides and coached Little League baseball teams for both of his sons. He was also a Boy Scout leader, guiding his son David to the rank of Eagle Scout.
Russ was a session member in several Presbyterian churches and was also a Sunday school teacher for many years.
He was active with the American Field Services Organization, through which his family hosted three foreign exchange students.
In Battle Lake, Russ was instrumental in establishing the Food Shelf, and served on the original board. He was also active in the building of the Fellowship Hall addition to the Senior Center and enjoyed many years serving with the Battle Lake Lions Club, including serving as the Lions representative to the Battle Lake Park Board.
He and Doris enjoyed square dancing, an activity they pursued both in the U.S. and abroad during their many travels.
Russ had a loving embrace of life and people that touched the lives of many, some through direct service and some through just taking them fishing, helping them get up on water skis for the first time, or showing them how to fix a broken cotter pin in the middle of the lake.
He had a twinkle in his eye, a ready smile, a humble spirit, and a genuine caring for others that made everyone feel welcome around Russ.
Russell was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, Harold, Marvin, and Verle.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Doris Evenson Langseth; his beloved sister, Ila Mae (Langseth) Osman; two sons, Dr. David (Arlene) and James (Thea) Langseth; three grandchildren, Christopher, Julianna, and Dr. Abraham; and special long-time friends, Nader Sheikhi and Tressie Bloomquist.
Memorials preferred to North Country Food Bank or Salvation Army.
Services were at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, at Maine Presbyterian Church, in rural Underwood, with the Rev. Glen Lord officiating. He was buried in Fairview Cemetery in Wahpeton, N.D.
Glende-Nilson Funeral Home in Battle Lake was in charge of arrangements.