Home Records Obituaries Dr. Thorlief Ludvig Stangebye

Dr. Thorlief Ludvig Stangebye

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DR. THORLIEF LUDVIG STANGEBYE, 91, finished his race Sunday, July 28, 2019 surrounded by his loving family.

Dr. Stangebye was born in the front room of the family home in New England, North Dakota, on March 18, 1928. The only son born to T L Stangebye Sr. and Ruth Jones Stangebye, Doc was the third of four children. He grew up in Mott, North Dakota, weathering the hot plains of summer and the frigid temps of the snowy winters, his boyhood enhanced by his childhood friend, Roger Stubbins, and with good books sent from his Aunt Belle in Chicago, and with the shenanigans into which he and his slightly older sister, managed to get. Named salutatorian of his class, Dr. Stangebye finished high school early to enlist in the US Army. After his stint there, he enrolled at the University of North Dakota, intent on pursuing a pre-dental course in preparation to become a dentist like his father. However, somewhere along the way, he made two significant course changes: he switched to pre-med and began to date a pretty girl from the big city of Fargo, Karen Bergesen, who would become his wife in l952, the year he started his last two years of medicine at the University of Maryland. Even as dementia would steal his memories in the last years of his life, he would daily express the good fortune of meeting our mother and marrying her. Upon graduation, he did his residency at Detroit Receiving Hospital and was then employed as a physician by the Quain and Ramstead Clinic in Bismarck, North Dakota.

In l963, Dr. Stangebye moved his family of seven, including a newborn only weeks old, and began what was to become a four decade long career serving patients in Roswell, NM. He loved his work and his patients, and his family was reassured of those patients’ affection for Dr. Stangebye at Christmas time each year when their gifts were delivered to the family home: hand made afghans, jars of salsa, boxes of candy, and more. One of the tributes we relish is the time one of our brothers was paired with a stranger on the golf course in Roswell, and when the stranger found out who his partner’s father was, he gushed our father’s praises, concluding with the remark that although he himself had an incurable illness and there was no medical help for his condition, he still loved visiting with our father because of the laughter they shared, and he always felt better after leaving his office.

During the early years of his practice, he and his nurse, June Franko, helped develop and charter the Chaves County Medical Assistants Association in an effort to increase the education and professionalism of Medical Assistants throughout the community. Years later, he would later become the first Director of Hospice of Roswell.

He was never keen on traveling, much preferring to leaf through a picture book of foreign places, a cost-saving behavior he passed on to at least one of his progeny. But during the course of his life, our mother successfully urged him to accompany her to other countries and other places including Israel, Scandinavia, England and his mother’s native land, Wales. He was always better for having been but never inclined to go again.

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He called himself a late bloomer, not learning the benefits of hugging until in his 50’s and although a long-time churchgoer, not coming to an understanding of Jesus as his Savior until the same decade, and then became an eager participant in Community Bible Study for many years. During his own children’s early years, he was often away from home, distracted by the needs of his patients. But we were all grateful that his son Eric’s children gave him a second chance to enjoy the happy furor of family life. His success as a late bloomer still gives us hope.

Our father’s vision brought us to New Mexico, and we have been so blessed by the beauty of its vistas and the friends we have made. His skill created for us a good name in the community, and that opened many doors for us. Moreover, his perpetual pleasant disposition and ready laugh still warm us. Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” He leaves behind his wife of 67 years, Karen, his children Brenda (Kellar Winkelmeyer) of Columbia, Missouri, Thor (Sue) of Minneapolis, Eric (Janina) of Roswell, Krista (Eric Lindquist) of Denver, Lars (Jenny) of Montrose, Colorado and Meghan Houk of Dallas. Also his older sister, Patricia Kailer of Albuquerque, the children’s beloved Aunt Pat. He and Karen share 21 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

The family owes a special debt of gratitude to our middle brother, Eric, and his wife, Janina, and their children, Theo, Sophia, and Sallyanna, who served as boots on the ground and loved our parents with all their hearts.

We are also thankful for the loving care and attention provided to our mother and father by Kindred Hospice of Roswell and the entire staff at Avamere Assisted Living of Roswell. Finally, we wish to thank Dr. Reynaldo Martinez, who provided the same kind of compassionate care our father gave so many others.

A Memorial Service will be held at 9:00 AM, Saturday, August 10, 2019, at Grace Community Church. Memorial gifts may be sent to Royal Family KIDS of Roswell, PO Box 3886, Roswell, NM 88202 or Harvest Ministries of Roswell.

Dr. Stangebye’s tribute was written in his honor by his family. Celebrate Dr. Stangebye’s life by visiting www.andersonbethany.com to offer a memory or expression of sympathy for his family.