Harold “Sonnie” Balstad, age 77, of rural Fosston, MN, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, September 19th, at his home. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 26th, at Calvary Lutheran Church in Winger, MN with the Rev. Don Edlund officiating. Interment will be in Bethel Cemetery, rural Winger. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service on Monday, September 25th, at the Carlin Funeral Home in Fosston. There will also be reviewal for one hour prior to the service on Tuesday at the church. Military Honors will be provided by the Fengestad-Solie American Legion Post #200 of Winger and the Air Force Honors Team. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Fengestad-Solie American Legion Post. Arrangements are with Carlin Family Funeral Service of Fosston and messages of condolence may be shared at www.carlinfuneral.com.
Harold Oliver Balstad, Jr. “Sonnie” was born on February 26, 1946, in Crookston, Minnesota to parents Harold and Ione (Geldaker) Balstad. He grew up on the Balstad home farm in Sletten Township, attended elementary school in Winger, and graduated from McIntosh High School in 1964.
Following high school, he attended college prior to entering the United States Air Force in March of 1966. He served as an Aircraft Load Master on C130 aircraft and was stationed in many places throughout the world, including Hawaii, Okinawa, and the Philippians. He was a part of the Apollo 13 ocean recovery team on its return mission from the moon. Sonnie received his honorable discharge, with rank of Sergeant, in December of 1969 and returned home.
Sonnie was united in marriage to Alice Marie Berberich on June 30, 1973, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Brooks, Minnesota. To this union were born two sons, Matthew and Luke. They raised their family and farmed in Sletten Township. Alice passed away on June 16, 2021.
He enjoyed yearly deer hunting trips to the cabin and nightly drives around the countryside with Alice. He was quite a mechanical genius and once built a homemade tractor. He simply enjoyed working, tinkering, visiting, and telling stories. He also loved flying and held a private pilot’s license for many years.
Survivors include his two sons, Matthew (Christie) of Fosston, and Luke (Katie) of Fosston; one brother, John (Sandy) Balstad of Fosston; sisters and brothers-in-law and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice; brother, Mark; his parents; three brothers-in-law and one sister-in-law.