Chris L. Roed, 89, passed away in Solvang, CA on November 6, 2017. He was born on a farm near Chester, South Dakota, on December 18, 1927, to Danish immigrants Nels & Karen Roed.
Chris attended a one room schoolhouse, with a single teacher teaching all grades, 1st through 8th. The farm was the perfect environment to foster his innate interest in things mechanical, and to grow in his uncanny gifting for innovation and the ability to fix anything.
Chris had a special love and gift for music, learned seven instruments, and could play anything by ear. At the age of six, he picked up his father's violin and taught himself to play. His music brought joy to family gatherings and to many people through the years.
When Chris was nine, the family left the brutal winters and economic depression of South Dakota for California, making the small rural citrus town of La Habra their new home. Chris attended Fullerton High School, and worked nights in the orange groves, keeping the fire in the smudge pots lit when the crop was endangered by frost.
On his 21st birthday, while playing accordion in a band at the L.A. Danish Hall, Chris met Jean, who was to become the love of his life. On February 3, 1951 they were married in the Danish Lutheran Church in L.A., beginning their 65 year love story of devotion and happiness together.
Just three months later, young Lt. Roed, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, was deployed for active duty to the Korean War, where for the next 8 months he piloted B-29 bombers for 27 successful missions over enemy territory.
Upon completion of his service, Chris returned home to Venice, CA, where he became the proud father of Christa, Linda, David, and Lisa. Chris was the ultimate family man. There was never a more devoted husband, loving father, or attentive Bedstefar to the 7 grand and 3 great grandchildren he adored. He gave them all of his heart and energies, and the gift of security and happiness. The love, deep faith, character, and integrity in which he walked became a beacon for us to follow, and a model to aspire to.
Chris owned his own business in L.A. called Chris Ornamental Iron, designing custom wrought iron and contracting structural steel. He moved his family to Pacific Palisades, where he lived for 27 years.
In 1993, Chris and Jean retired to Solvang, CA, where he enjoyed being part of Bethania and Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran churches, the Vikings, serving as treasurer at the Elverhoj museum, and joining his buddies for their weekly golf date at the Zaca Creek course in Buellton.
Chris was born to fly, and he loved to pilot his friends and family in his Cessna on many memorable trips to the grand sights of the West. He and Jean would also travel the world, with their favorite places to return to being Kauai and Navini Island in Fiji. But as far as Chris was concerned, none of these exotic places held a candle to the annual trips for 58 summers that he made with his family to Bass Lake, or the many holiday and family celebrations lovingly hosted at his Solvang home on the hill, “Solbakken”.
While Chris humbly valued the simple things in life, he touched many lives profoundly with his kind and loving heart and the warm smile for which he was so well known. Chris lived his long life well, and invested himself in the things that last- -faith in Christ, family, and people. His life is our priceless inheritance. He leaves this world a better place by his example of righteousness, the lifetime of treasured memories, and the legacy of love that remain ours always.
Chris is survived by his 4 children, Christa Sullivan (Mark), Linda Crummer (Donn), David Roed (Lisamarie), and Lisa Zylstra (Don); 7 grand and 3 great grandchildren, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Friends and family are invited to honor Chris' life at a memorial service to be held on Saturday December 2 at 11:00 a.m. at Bethania Lutheran Church in Solvang. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to SLH Christmas fund (sent to Atterdag Village in gratitude to the wonderful nurses and aides who cared so well for Chris), Veterans of Foreign Wars, or Viking Charities.