Al’s ALS Promise Fund, in honor of Allen A. Wahlgren
Al was a people person, always getting to know those around him. He enjoyed talking with everyone and about everything. He was a friend to everyone. His family, friends, community and church were very important to him and he gave generously of his time and talents for them.
He was very curious and an astute learner. He loved being an engineer. He was interested in a wide variety of topics and seemingly knew every fact, figure and detail. He enjoyed sharing his knowledge and explaining how things work.
As an international engineer at 3M, he traveled extensively throughout Europe as well as to South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Canada. He worked hard to do the best for the company as it expanded operations globally. He enjoyed learning about different cultures, but was always thankful to return home. Our children enjoyed receiving postcards from around the world from their dad.
Al had high standards, so any job worth doing was worth doing well. Being an engineer, he liked to have everything properly maintained. He was the “handyman” who kept things ship-shape, including the house, cars, boats, motors and all things mechanical. Al was always willing and eager to help anyone with their projects. He would research thoroughly to find the very best solution to any task or problem.
The outdoors was his second home. Al trapped and hunted small game, and was at home in the woods. He particularly enjoyed the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, first going there in college and then bringing our family there many times. He grew up on a lake and enjoyed building our retirement home on the same property. He enjoyed lots of water activities and was always ready to teach anyone to fish, canoe, drive a boat or waterski.
He earned his Eagle Scout badge and incorporated the Boy Scout Law in his daily living. He became Scout Master for a St. Paul troop and was proud of the boys, including our son, who earned their Eagle Scout badges. The regular trips to the Boundary Waters were highlights for Al and the boys.
After he retired, we moved back to the community where Al grew up. Al became active in our community, serving on numerous business and lake-related boards and committees. He was particularly dedicated to reconnecting our chain of lakes to expand recreational boating and improve the local economy.
Al was very interested in politics. He read, studied and talked a lot about politics, and believed that it is important to be well informed. He had strong ideas concerning how we govern ourselves and believed that it is important to follow our Constitution. He wanted our country to be financially responsible so we won’t be a financial burden to our children and grandchildren. He would engage in any political discussion, always striving for the best for our country.
Al and I were married for 54 wonderful years. He was very proud of his three children and three grandchildren and took great joy in spending time with them. He attended many sports, dance, music and academic activities, and was always a good photographer and cheerleader. He particularly enjoyed photography.
The diagnosis of ALS (in March 2014) came both as a surprise and a shock, but he kept his sense of humor and quipped, “I didn’t even play baseball.” The disease progressed quickly; he lost all muscular function within a few months. He accepted his fate with great courage and dignity. He led by example and showed us how to finish strong, living life well to the very end. He did not complain and prepared himself and his family for what was to come. He maintained his quick wit and sense of humor, sharing his broad smile and laughter until his last days.