Per Ragnar Pettersson


image of Per Ragnar Pettersson

Per Ragnar Pettersson

Per Ragnar Pettersson I passed away March 16th, 2024 after a long health battle. Ragnar was born on the family farm in Balinge, outside of Lulea, Sweden on April 15th 1931.  His parents were Johan and Hildur (Eriksson) Pettersson.  He joined 3 brothers, 3 sisters and later a 4th sister joined the family.  He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Candace and his daughter Mona Lisa and her husband Ryan and his son Per and his wife Kelsie. He also leaves behind 3 granddaughters that he loved very much, Linnea, Makenna, and Harlow, his sister Irene Nygren in Sweden, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Penny and Bruce Wood, sister-in-law Joretta Gilden and numerous nieces and nephews.

Ragnar lived an intriguing life that led to many crazy stories.  Before he emigrated to the United States in 1954 he worked on the family farm, saw mill, and salmon fishing operation.  From an early age he was taught to work hard.  He went on to drive trucks, worked on a pig  farm and dreamed of coming to the United States.  He was often called Yankee because of his ideas.

Two uncles living in Seattle sponsored him to come to America and in 1954 he did just that, with $300 in his pocket and no knowledge of the new language.  He made his home in Seatle working for an uncle building houses.  He broke his back in a fall from the roof and it was during his time in the hospital that he decided that being in the hospital with no money coming in was no way to live.  So, in no time he was running his own construction company, The Swedish Builder, building homes and apartments and having a good time.  He was a hard worker who did not shy away from doing the hard or demanding work himself but he also expected it from others.  Many could not keep up with him but two always did, Per and Mona Lisa.  He had instilled in them his work ethic.

The 1960’s brought more work and play. He traveled around the world.  According to stories and his passport a few of the stops included Hawaii, Japan, China, Burma, India, Pakistan, Egypt, United Arab Republic, France, England, later adding Australia to the list.  He also traveled around America, having fun on the Strip in Las Vegas, trips through Glacier National Park, Yellowstone Park, the East Coast and then Mexico .

During this time, besides building custom homes, he built Hildur Apartments and his largest project, Sunrise East Apartments. It was at those very apartments that he met Candy in the sauna.  Soon Ragnar and Candy were a couple having the time of their lives.

1981 brought a lot of changes. On a trip to Sweden, Ragnar proposed to Candy and on June 6th 1981 Ragnar and Candy were married.  A few months later Mona Lisa came along.  Not long after, the search was on for a place more kid friendly and that is when Ragnar found the farm that would grow and become their home for over 30 years. As an anniversary gift in 1984 Per Ragnar II was born.  The family was complete.  Ragnar was an adventurer who loved to fly his own airplanes, but most of all he enjoyed working at home on the farm with his family near.

He was an entrepreneur and was involved in numerous ventures.  In 1997, Ragnar received a medal from the King of Sweden in connection with the Entrepreneurs’ 150th anniversary in Lulea.  Ragnar was always proud of his Swedish and Norrbothnian heritage and kept in touch with family and friends in Sweden until the end.

Ragnar would often say “when an old person dies it is like a library burning down”.   And so, while our Library is no longer physically with us, his spirit and stories will live on!

One Response to “Per Ragnar Pettersson”

  • Candace Pettersson says:

    We miss you my love! The years were much too short and now the days are much too long without you here. I love you!

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