William Rongstad

Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2004

Juneau resident William Alver Rongstad, 57, died Monday, Aug. 9, 2004, at his home in Juneau after a long fight with cancer.

He was born Aug. 30, 1946, in Lamberton, Minn., the son of Alver N. and Harriet Gunderson Rongstad. Along with his wife, Nancy, and their two children, Kaia, 15, and Amund, 14, they moved to Juneau in 1993. He was co-owner of Northland Audiology & Hearing Services, Inc. Prior to moving to Juneau, he lived in Fairbanks, where he headed the Communicative Disorders Program for the State of Alaska. In 2001, he received his Ph.D. in Audiology from Vanderbilt University through Western Michigan University. He held two masters degrees from the University of Washington, one in public health and the other in speech and audiology. He received his bachelors in fine arts degree from the Professional Actors Training Program at the University of Washington in Seattle and was a graduate of Lake Washington High School in Kirkland, Wash. In 1966, he volunteered for duty in Vietnam, where he served in the 101st Airborne Division as an infantryman and journalist with the American Forces Vietnam Network.

His family said he considered his wife and children the treasures of his life. They said he had a lifelong admiration for his father, who he saw as a role model for his life.

"Many people in Juneau didn't know that Alver spent years as a professional actor, working in film, television and theater in Seattle, New York, Chicago and Virginia," his family wrote. They said he had a lifelong love for storytelling. He was a longtime member of the Baha'i Faith.

"He lived his life with a passion for diversity and a hope for world unity," his wife wrote.

They said his love for the diversity of mankind motivated him to initiate and sponsor a Racial Unity Scholarship for Juneau-Douglas High School graduates for many years.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Harriet Gunderson Rongstad; and his infant sister, Gail Rongstad.

He is survived by his wife of 17 years, Nancy Rongstand; daughter, Kaia; son, Amund; his 93-year-old father, Alver N. Rongstad of Bellevue, Wash.; step-sisters, Judy Ness, Rosie Olson and Carol Ann Askland, all of Seattle; and numerous sisters and brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15, at the Juneau-Douglas High School Atrium, followed by a reception and meal at the Juneau Yacht Club.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Hospice and Home Care of Juneau, the AWARE shelter or the Glory Hole.

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