Alsaker, Allan (Died on 7 Jul 2011)
appeared in Wilmette Life (Wilmette, Illinois), 14 Jul 2011, p. 27

Full Text

Alsaker, Allan Age 97, passed away July 7, 2011. Mr. Alsaker died of natural causes and was a 59 year resident of Northbrook, IL. Mr. Alsaker was born August 6, 1913 at Lutheran Deacon Hospital in Chicago, IL. His parents were Norwegian immigrants from Bergen, Norway and settled in the Logan Square area of the City. Mr. Alsaker attended Brentano Grade School and Roosevelt High School. He graduated from Northwestern University, Phi Beta Kappa in 1936 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He received his Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1937. At Cal-Tech he was offered a teaching position and invited to join the newly formed Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). However, he elected to return to Chicago to accept a position with the Delta Star Electric Corporation, manufacturers of high-voltage transmission equipment. An avid ski jumper, he won First Place in the Juniors Division of the 1932 Norge Ski Jump Competition. At Northwestern he was the Goalie of the 1935 un-defeated Water Polo Team and was named the Big Ten's All-Conference Goalie that year. Although his position at Delta Star carried a military exemption, Mr. Alsaker enlisted in the United States Navy during WWII. With his educational background he joined the Navy's Research and Development team at John Hopkins' Applied Physics Laboratory. This project, the VT Fuse, was classified by the U.S. Department of Defense as the Second most strategic weapon development program of the War. The production of the radio proximity fuse was developed for use with heavy artillery shells and first used in the Battle of the Bulge, the March to Berlin and later in the South Pacific. The fuse functioned by detonating an artillery shell when the shell reached a pre-set distance from the target. When used on land it detonated the shell to explode above ground. The resulting devastation was so complete that in a June, 1945 Washington Times interview with General George Patton, the General said, "the use of the VT Fuse made trench warfare obsolete". When used on anti-aircraft artillery it enabled gunners to bring down kamikaze aircraft without necessarily scoring a direct hit. The anti-aircraft artillery shell would explode near the fuselage of a diving airplane and the explosion's concussion would bring down the aircraft. A modified version of the VT Fuse was used to detonate the two atomic bombs dropped over Japan. Mr. Alsaker retired from the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1960 with the rank of Lt. Commander. While at Delta Star Electric, one of his favorite projects was with the Norwegian Government to restore and expand the electrical service to the City of Oslo after the German Occupation. A few years after his retirement from Delta Star at age 65, Mr. Alsaker joined H & R Block Company. Many Northbrook and Glenview residents will recall Mr. Alsaker as the Manager of the then newly opened H & R Block office in Carillon Square in Glenview, IL. He retired from H & R Block in 1993 at the age of 80. Mr. Alsaker married Mildred Hjelmeseth at United Lutheran Church in Oak Park, IL. on June 29, 1940. They recently celebrated their 71th wedding anniversary. Mr. and Mrs. Alsaker were Charter Members of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Northbrook, IL. He was also a Little League Coach in Northbrook in the 1950's. Mr. Alsaker was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Ragna, a brother Irving, a sister, Jane Olson and his daughter Nora. He is survived by his wife Mildred, his son Robert (Evy), nephews Christopher (Kathy) Olson, Eric (Astrid) Berg and a niece Bette Jondeph. A memorial service will be held at a future date. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers the family requests a donation to be made in his name to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 523 W. Water St., Decorah, IA 52101-0379, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1133 Pfingsten, Northbrook, Il 60062 or to your favorite charity. Funeral information 847-998-1020.

Media Type:
Genealogical Resource
Item Types:
Death notices
Date of Publication:
14 Jul 2011
Date Of Event:
7 Jul 2011
Last Name(s):
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.07225 Longitude: -87.72284
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Wilmette Public Library
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1242 Wilmette Avenue
Wilmette, IL
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Alsaker, Allan (Died on 7 Jul 2011)