Fitchburg – David L. Strand, age 87, passed away on Saturday, September 13, 2014 at Agrace HospiceCare.
Dave was born on October 1, 1926 in the Village of Iola, the son of Roy and Eva (Thoe) Strand. He grew up in Iola, and attended Iola public schools, graduating from high school with the Class of 1944. He served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in the closing months of World War II and in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War in 1950 and 1951. He attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950. His career with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation began with summer employment in 1948 and 1949 in Price County. Upon graduation from the University in 1950, he was employed as a Civil Engineer with the DOT La Crosse district, which employment was interrupted by a one year leave of absence, during the Korean War. In 1956 he was transferred to Madison to head up the locating and design of the Intestate System freeways. He continued in that role throughout the years of developing the Interstate System, and in 1960 was given the added responsibility of overseeing design for other highways in the western half of Wisconsin. In 1976 Dave was appointed Chief Design Engineer all Wisconsin highways. As Chief Design Engineer he lead the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in developing many new and innovative concepts in highway design, including leading the nation in recycling of asphalt and concrete pavements. After many years of successful leadership in the Division of Highway, Strand, in 1987, was appointed to be Director of the DOT Bureau of Aeronautics. He was a licensed private pilot, a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Being an avid flyer and owning his own aircraft, serving in the Bureau of Aeronautics gave him great pleasure and allowed him to utilize his engineering, aviation and management skills in that position. He concluded his many years of service with the DOT upon retirement in July 1988.
After many bachelor years as a single person, Dave finally got re-acquainted with a friend he had known since first grade and with whom he graduated from high school. Dave and Ruth Stamstad Gilbertson were married on November 10, 1992 at Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Together they enjoyed many years of long auto trips, three trips to Europe, on Caribbean Sea and Mississippi River Cruises, Broadway shows, Brewers Baseball games and Greyhound races.
Dave is survived by his wife, Ruth; brother, Phillip (Flip); nephew, Phil; nieces, Sandra (Mark) Johnson and Lisa (Jim) Lenton and their families; step-daughters, Bonnie (Dave) Thompson and Barbara (Mark) Richards; and step-foster son, Rich (Peggy) Evans and their families.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 on Friday, September 26, 2014 at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, with a visitation from 10:30 a.m. until the time of service. Burial will be held at Riverside Cemetery in Black River Falls. Memorials may be made to All Saints Lutheran Church, 2951 Chapel Valley Road, Madison, WI 53711; Elks Lodge #410, 711 Jenifer Street, Madison, WI 53703; or a charity of your choice. Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com