Kenneth W. Hegstad served in the Navy, loved to fly

Saturday, February 8, 2014 | 6:01 p.m. CST; updated 11:24 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 11, 2014

*CORRECTION: An original version of this story incorrectly state the name of Kenneth Hegstad's father.

COLUMBIA — You couldn't keep Kenneth Hegstad on the ground.

He was a man who loved to fly, who'd always take his children and other children from the neighborhood on his airborne excursions.

Kenneth W. Hegstad of Columbia died Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. He was 89.

He was born Feb. 17, 1924 in Dickey, North Dakota, to Seivert* and Paula Hegstad.

Mr. Hegstad had planned on attending North Dakota State University on a basketball scholarship. But on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, he was sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast with his parents when the family learned the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor over the radio.

His father looked at him and told him that instead of going off to college, he needed to enlist. The next day, Mr. Hegstad enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Fargo, N.D.

During World War II, Mr. Hegstad served as a storekeeper first class. He was in charge of the ship's supplies. He was honorably discharged in October 1944.

After being discharged Mr. Hegstad returned home and became a Boy Scout Troop leader. He also obtained his pilot's license.

Mr. Hegstad married Margaret "Peggy" Robbins on Aug. 28, 1948.

He would often take his children and neighborhood kids flying at an airfield near his North Dakota home. He and his wife also enjoyed golfing.

They had a rental property in Phoenix for 18 years and would spend up to six months at a time golfing there. He passed his passion for golfing on to his son Donald. 

"He just had a great life. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's took him away from us," his son Donald Hegstad said.

Mr. Hegstad is survived by his wife, Peggy Hegstad; two sons, Chris Hegstad, of Columbia and Donald Hegstad of Hallsville; seven grandchildren, Jennifer Herd, of Hallsville, Susan Helming of Ashland, Brian Hegstad of Columbia, John Hegstad of Columbia, Amanda Hyer of Columbia, Allison Hyer of Columbia, and Beth Hegstad of Mankato, Minn.; and four  great-grandchildren, Landon, Reagan, Kelsy, and Madison.

Two sisters, two brothers and his daughter, Loretta Hegstad, died earlier.

Services were held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. The Rev. Larry Churry officiated.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 2400 Bluff Creek Drive, Columbia, MO 65201, or to New Providence Baptist Church at 4641 N. Route E, Columbia, MO 65202.

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