Beloved Rex William Sjostrom of Castle Rock passed away May 31st 2006 at his home of 38 years west of Castle Rock following a two-year struggle with multiple myeloma. He was surrounded by his loving and steadfast wife Joan of 54 years and his cherished family.
Sjostrom was born in Norcross, Minnesota in 1930, moved with his twin sister, Esther, and parents, William and Ruth, to the Loveland area in 1944. He received his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering (1952) and Masters of Electrical Engineering (1956) degrees from Colorado State University. Graduation marked his debut as a licensed professional engineer and solidified an association with CSU that continued throughout his professional career and retirement. His activities included serving on the Dean's engineering advisory council as an active alumnus and involvement in the University's 1870 Club. He was recognized by the CSU College of Engineering as the Honor Alumnus in 2004, received the Distinguished Service Award from CSU, and was dubbed an "Honorary Ambassador" for the University.
While at CSU, Sjostrom joined the National Guard and served with distinction for 30 years until his retirement in 1979. He was on active duty during the disastrous Cherry Creek flood of 1965. Prior to retirement, he had been promoted to Colonel, was Deputy Commander of the Colorado Army National Guard and Director of the State Area Command. He received several honors as a result of his service including the Army Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Award and the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal.
Sjostrom's professional career spanned nearly 40 years of outstanding engineering and management accomplishment, culminating in his position as director of one of the most technically advanced and highly successful space programs in the United States (24 satellites flown of which nine launched in a single year a U.S. record). Accomplishments included design of ground system instrumentation for Titan I and II, design of telecommunications for the OV4-3 satellite, design and management of the telemetry and total electronics for the highly successful Viking Mars Lander, the first spacecraft to operate on the surface of Mars. He also served as a member of the TENCAP Advisory Board to the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Space Command. Sjostrom won numerous accolades for his professional accomplishments including the NASA Public Service Award and the Martin Marietta Jefferson Cup first in 1984 and again in 1991 (the corporation's highest honor).
Sjostrom actively served his community throughout his life. He helped found a Lutheran mission congregation that became Faith Lutheran Church in Castle Rock. He then served as president of the charter church council at Faith. Since retirement, he received his Amateur Radio license (ABØPG) and provided communications support through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service for Douglas and Elbert Counties through several emergencies including snowstorms and the Hayman fire, and for several parades and bicycle rides in the metro area. He installed a weather station at his home and provided data to the National Weather Service through the Colorado Amateur Radio Weathernet.
Sjostrom was interested in military history and was instrumental in establishing several displays in the military history museum in the field officer's quarters at Fort Logan and served on the board for the Friends of Historic Fort Logan. He was also active with the Council of America's Military Past, regularly sending out a departmental newsletter and organizing local historical military treks. He spent much time over the past several years locating and compiling Colorado Army National Guard personnel records from 1860-1995 which he recently published as the Colorado Army National Guard History Timeline (ISBN 0-9774637-0-2). He has also been a guide at Castlewood Canyon State Park, enjoyed beekeeping, traveling, reading, and golfing.
Sjostrom was preceded in death by his son, John, and is survived by his wife, Joan, his daughters Sandra (David) Link, Anne, and Sharon, grandchildren Rachel, Emily, and Davis Link, and twin sister Esther.
Rex Sjostrom's memorial service will be at 1 pm on Saturday, June 3rd at Faith Lutheran Church in Castle Rock (303 S. Ridge Road). The committal service will follow and will be held with full military honors at Bear Canon Cemetery in Sedalia (397 S. Perry Park Road). Following the burial, a reception will be held at the St. Philips in the Field Parish Hall adjoining the cemetery.Memorial contributions can be made to either:
The Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
4301 W. Markham St., Slot 816
Little Rock, AR 72205-9985
Contributions should be made out to The Myeloma Institute and should reference the Rex Sjostrom Memorial
The CSU Foundation
P.O. Box 1870
Fort Collins, CO 80522-1870
Contributions should be made out to the CSU Foundation and should reference the Sjostrom Family Scholarship
Funeral arrangements provided by Andrews-Caldwell-Gibson in Castle Rock.
DEAR WX NETTERS --- WITH SADNESS I TELL YOU OF THE PASSING OF REX SJOSTROM, AB0PG, ON WEDNESDAY 5/31 AT 8:20 A.M. REX WAS 75 YEARS OLD. HIS PREVIOUS CALL WAS N0JUS.
DESPITE A VERY SERIOUS ILLNESS, AND IMPENDING DEATH, REX CONTINUED TO CHECK IN ON 2 METERS EACH MORNING, INCLUDING THE DAY BEFORE HE DIED!
REX WAS A MEMBER OF THE WX NET FOR ABOUT 15 YEARS, AND WAS NCS ON 2 METERS FOR VIRTUALLY ALL THAT TIME.
REX WAS A GRAD OF CSU, WHICH RECENTLY HONORED HIM. HE WAS A FULL COLONEL IN THE ARTILLERY, AND LATER RETIRED AS V.P. AT LOCKHEED MARTIN.
SERVICES WILL BE AT CASTLE ROCK AT 1 P.M. WE HAVE NO FURTHER DETAILS AT THIS TIME. FULL MILITARY HONORS WILL FOLLOW THE CHURCH SERVICE.
REX'S 'TRADEMARK' WHEN COMPLETING HIS CALL TO THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FOLLOWING THE NET WAS:'THAT'LL DO 'ER!'
GOOD, REX!!! YOU DID 'ER RIGHT! 73!73, de WØWPD
FORMER BD. MEMBER OF CO. CH. 58
June 4, 2006