Walter Westberg of Gainesville, FL, 90, died on December 13 with his family by his side at the ET York Hospice Care Center. He loved his family and throughout his life he relished his role as brother, husband, father and grandfather.
Walt was born in Williston, ND, on March 20, 1921 and grew up in many different towns in North Dakota. He received a degree in chemical engineering from the University of North Dakota. After graduation, he became an officer in the Navy Reserve and took radar and sonar classes at harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of techonology at the naval research lab. He served in the occupation forces in Japan at the end of World War II.
Before starting his career, he sailed with the Merchant Marine through the Panama Canal. He then married Naomi Balstad of Minot, ND in 1949. He worked for 30 years in research and development with the 3M Company inMinnesota. He was a product development engineer and a major contributor in non-woven and static control technologies, which led to many patents and successful products. He was co-inventor of 3M’s surgical mask.
Walt’s creativity spilled over into many areas. Throughtout his life, he was a serious amateur black-and-white photographer. He entered many photography contests and won many awards from such organizations as the St. Paul Camera Club. In his retirement, he continued to photoraph is surroundings and shifted to digital and color photography. He also dabbled in creative writing and published several columns with the Gainesville Sun. Music was very important to him and he played the oboe and English horn for the 3M Company orchestra for many years. He also loved humor, comics, cartoons and was known for telling great jokes.
Walt and Naomi moved to Gainesville in1986, where he enjoyed many community activities and cultural events. He enjoyed his membership in the local Athenaeum Club.
He is survived by Naomi; his four children, Deborah (Christopher) van den Honert of Boulder, CO; Lisa (David) Peters of Minneapolis, MN; Andrew Westberg of St. Paul, MN; and Peter (Mary) Westberg of Woodbury, MN; his six grandchildren, Nathan, Rebecca, Emily, Anna, Melissa and Chandra; and his brother, Richard Westberg of Pennsylvania.
Walt’s family will have a celebration of his life next summer in western North Dakota.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Haven Hospice, 4200 NW 90th Blvd., Gainesville, FL, 32606.