Sigurd Erling Sivertson, 89, passed away peacefully on Oct. 27, 2013, at Boutwell’s Landing in Stillwater, where he resided with his wife and partner of 67 years, Helen Sivertson.
Born Feb. 20, 1924, in La Crosse, Sigurd completed his pre-med education at Luther College, Yale University and the University of Wisconsin between 1942 and 1944, and his medical education at the University of Wisconsin in 1947 while enlisted in the U.S. Army. Over the next two years he completed an internal medicine internship at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth and an internal medicine residency at the Gundersen Clinic-Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse. But in 1949, anticipating a conflict in Korea, Sigurd re-enlisted and the Army stationed him, along with Helen, in Kobe, Japan. When hostilities commenced in June 1950, he was deployed to Korea at an evacuation hospital with the first MASH unit, and diagnosed in United Nations troops the first cases of smallpox and Japanese B. Encephalitis.
Upon returning from Korea in 1952, he spent the next three years completing his fellowship in internal medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. In 1955, Sigurd joined his father, Martin Sivertson, and others at the Gundersen Clinic and for the next 13 years practiced internal medicine. He became Gundersen’s first director of medical education, as well as research and preceptor liaison for the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. In 1968, the La Crosse native moved his career and family to Madison, Wis., where he joined the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. There he served as assistant dean for education, assistant dean for clinical affairs, associate chair for continuing medical education, representative for the UW Institute for Aging. He also founded the Physician Assistant Program, expanded the school’s Preceptorship Program statewide, and continued to see patients throughout.
Upon Sigurd’s retirement in 1989, he and his wife spent the next seven years traveling the country in their motor home, eventually settling in Sarasota, Fla., where they spent 10 years golfing and enjoying the beach each winter, and spent the summers on Lac Courte Oreilles in northern Wisconsin. In 2005, Sigurd and Helen moved to Stillwater to be closer to their family.
He is survived by his wife, Helen; six children, Leif, Eric, Alf (Michelle Barrette), Kris (Susan), Helen (Dr. John Drawbert) and Ann (Dan Harris); daughter-in-law, Cathy Bross; and 13 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
There was be a celebration of Sigurd’s life on Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Swanson Chapel at Boutwell’s Landing, 5600 Norwich Parkway, Oak Park Heights, Minn. Memorials to University of Wisconsin Medical School, Boutwell’s Landing or Lakeview Hospice (The Gathering) are preferred.
Arrangements with Bradshaw Funeral and Cremation Services, 2800 Curve Crest Boulevard, Stillwater.