David Albrightson. Submitted photo
David Albrightson. Submitted photo

David Edward Albrightson passed away at Park View Home, surrounded by his family, on Sunday, March 24, 2019.  He was preceded in death by his parents Alf and Nora (Lund) Albrightson.

Early Years:  David was born at home in rural Woodville, Wisconsin and was baptized and confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church.  He attended Brookville and Spring Valley Elementary Schools and Woodville High School, graduating in 1954. 

David joined the U.S. Army and served in Army Securities.  He served actively in Kyoto, Japan beginning in 1955 and continued in the Army Reserves until 1962.  While in Japan, the highlight of his military service was radio monitoring the Russian satellite “Sputnik” as history was being made.  During this time, he also spent hours in libraries nurturing his interest in aviation.

Flying:  In 1959, David became an employee of North Central Airlines in Green Bay, WI ground operations.  He began flying small aircraft to build up the necessary hours to train for commercial aircraft.  David completed his training in Minneapolis and earned his wings in 1966. 

Never one to be idle, David also ran a snow-plowing business in St. Paul, MN during his early years as a pilot.  David flew for North Central Airlines, which became Republic, then Northwest, and finally Delta Airlines.  He retired from flying in 1989 as a Captain, noting, as many pilots do, that commercial aviation was “hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of stark terror!”

Family: David married Elaine Louise Solum, daughter of Joe and Gladys Solum, on June 20, 1959 at Zion Lutheran Church.  They were blessed with three children: Kristen Louise (John) in 1961; Kim Elizabeth (Todd) in 1962; and Mark Joseph (Helen) in 1966.  David and Elaine were also blessed with six grandchildren: Alexandra (Dan), Jordan and Benjamin Mielke, Joseph Albrightson, Sam (Angela) Rosen, and Michael (Cameron) Rosen.  As an airline employee, David and his family were entitled to stand-by flight privileges that allowed for many fun trips for him, Elaine, and their children.

Farm Life: Having been raised on a farm, David wanted to return to his roots and in 1968, the family returned to a 104-acre farm in Woodville while David continued to fly.  The farm produced three crops per year in addition to up to 43 head of Angus beef cattle and assorted pigs and chickens.  The 100-year old home they purchased was remodeled and new “line-fencing” was built and a pole-barn was added to complete the farm. 

After 8 years, the “labor-of-love" that was farming became too much and the pole barn was transformed to serve as a hanger for David’s antique Piper J5-A, which he fully restored.  Two airstrips were added to the farm and the mini-airport was dubbed “Flyplassen” (Norwegian for “fly place.”)  Aviation friends who came to Woodville for the Albrightson’s annual Fly-in made good use of these strips.  The events saw small planes, ultra-light planes, motorhomes and tents across the property and was a festive celebration of flight each year.

Hilltop Trees: David planted 68,000 tree seedlings on the farm as well as a property in the Village of Woodville (lovingly known as “Location X”).  This marked the birth of Hilltop Trees.  David never needed advertising for his business, as people would see his bright green truck and tree spade and contact him for the services they needed.  David planted trees along Church Street in Woodville along with many sites in St. Croix County and the Minneapolis-St Paul area.

Retirement Travel:  David and Elaine flew to and cruised many destinations in the U.S., Europe, and the former Soviet Union.  They also bought several motorhomes over the years and traveled the East and West Coast as well as from Alaska to Key West, Florida.  In 1997, they bought a lot at Long Island Village in balmy Port Isabel, Texas and built a home designed by their daughter, Kim.  This new home gave them the best of both worlds, Texas in the winter and Woodville in the summer!

Local Activities:  David was a former member of the Woodville Legion and Woodville Lions Club.  He also served as a board member for both the Baldwin-Woodville School Districts and Zion Lutheran Church.

Park View: After many happy years of retirement, David’s health began to decline and he and Elaine relocated permanently to Woodville, WI.  A severe bout of pneumonia landed him at Park View Nursing Home where family came to understand that David’s memory issues made Park View the perfect place for him to be.  His room was large and airy and overlooked many trees.  David was surprisingly content to be at Park View.  He greatly enjoyed the visits he got from family, friends, former classmates and the clergy from Zion.  David lived a full life filled with love, humor, and a quiet but abiding faith in Christ.  While he will be missed, his family is deeply comforted by the fact that he has been united with his Savior.

Memorials are preferred to Zion Lutheran Church.

Visitation was held Thursday, March 28, 2019 from 4-5 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church with a Celebration of Life with Pastor Keith Anderson at 5 p.m. Followed by dinner.

Keehr Funeral Home, (www.keehrfuneralhome.com) Spring Valley is handling arrangements.