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Peter's Story

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Peter T. Harstad, 81, died on June 7 in Lakeville, MN after a courageous 12-year battle with Multiple Myeloma. He was born on November 13, 1935 in Madison, WI, the third of 10 children of the Rev. A.M. and Martha (Tjernagel) Harstad.
Funeral: 11 AM, Monday, June 12, Heritage Lutheran Church, 13401 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley, MN. Visitation at White Funeral Home, Sunday, June 11 from 2-4, White Funeral Home, 14560 Pennock, Apple Valley.
Peter graduated from Bethany Lutheran High School, Mankato (1953). He received an AA degree from Bethany Lutheran College in 1955, and from the University of Wisconsin, Madison: BA (1957), MA (1959), PhD (1963). After earning his doctorate he became a history professor at Idaho State University, Pocatello (1963-1972), University of Washington, Seattle (summer 1970), University of Iowa (1970-71). He became director of the State Historical Society of Iowa (1972-1981). From 1981-84 he was development officer at Bethany Lutheran College and then in 1984, became CEO of the Indiana Historical Society until his retirement in 2001. In retirement, Peter published a 2006 book about Nehemias Tjernagel and his music; We Saw the Elephant: Overland Diaries from the Lander Trail (2010); Store Per: Norwegian-American "Paul Bunyan of the Prairie (2011).
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn and five children: Linda Becker (Rev. Vance Becker, Mankato, MN); Karen Scislow (Jim, Lakeville, MN); Mark (Tiffany, Stuart, FL); Kristen (Tim, San Jose, CA) and David (Chris, Bloomington, IN), plus 10 grandchildren (Carol, Eric; Kristen, Jonathan, Kathryn, Jennie; Jake, Alex; Elisabeth, Annika and one great-grandson, Mark Joseph.
Peter was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, Mary Moldstad and Lydia Wiggs; a brother, Mark, spouses, Rev. Robert Moldstad, Rev. John Schmidt, Dick Wiggs, and a great grandson, Peter Matthias Yenish. Peter believed firmly in salvation through grace with faith in his Savior, Jesus Christ and looked forward to eternal life in Heaven.
Memorials are preferred to the Peter and Carolyn Harstad Scholarship fund at Bethany Lutheran College, 700 Luther Drive, Mankato, MN 56001.
Published on  June 11, 2017
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