Alton Almquist, 100

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Davis, Calif. – Alton Almquist, 100 of Davis, Calif., formerly of St. Hilaire, died peacefully on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 at Kaiser Permanente in Vacaville, Calif.
A funeral to celebrate his life will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, with Rev. Thomas Puffe officiating.  Burial will be at Community Cemetery in St. Hilaire.   Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.
Military honors will be provided by Ecklund-Holmstrom American Legion Post 117, Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post 2793, and the Minnesota Army National Guard Honor Guard.
Alton Wilhelm Almquist was born June 16, 1915 at St. Hilaire, the fourth child of eight born to Jens A. and Signe Erica (Brink) Almquist. He was baptized in Augustana (Swedish) Lutheran Church, St. Hilaire and confirmed in St. Hilaire Lutheran Church.  He grew up and attended school in St. Hilaire and graduated St. Hilaire High School in 1932. After graduation, Alton lived and worked the family farm and also worked part-time at other jobs. He worked as a part-time farm reporter under a program of the Soil Conservation Act, from 1936 thru 1940. 
In 1941, he left the farm and worked for a short time in Detroit, Mich., and then went to South Plainfield, N.J., where he worked for Harris Steel Co, Fabrication Plant. Later he worked as a ship-fitters helper at Federal Dry Dock and Ship Yard Co., Kearney, N.J.
In April 1942, he returned to St. Hilaire and enlisted in the United States Navy, May 23, 1942. His boot training was at Great Lakes Training Station. He was with the initial invasion fleet at Gela Beach, Sicily and Salerno, Italy, Normandy, France, North African campaign, England and also worked at the Naval Ordinance Plant in Pocatello, Idaho. Due to a severe hearing loss, he was discharged from the Philadelphia Naval Hospital in 1945. After his discharge from the service, Alton enrolled at the U of M and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering. 
He then returned to the family farm and enrolled in graduate school at the University of Minnesota. He worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (South Dakota) and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (Arizona). 
On Oct.14, 1950, Alton was united in marriage to Constance Esther Conrad, whom he had met while serving in the navy. They were married at Foundry Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. The couple made their home in Pine Ridge, S.D., and in 1955, they moved to White River, Ariz. In July 1958, Alton started working for Soil Conservation Service in Concord, Calif.  He designed numerous flood control projects throughout the state.  In August 1963, the couple moved to El Cerrito, Calif.  He became a registered civil engineer in 1966. In November 1973, the couple moved to Davis, Calif., and on March 31, 1984, Alton retired from the Soil Conservation Service.  
Alton was a long-time member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans. He also held memberships in several political and charitable organizations.
Alton Almquist is survived by his brother, Basil (Senora) Almquist of Cummings, N.D.; sisters, Olive Durman of Wheat Ridge, Colo., and Shirley (Norman) Busse of Thief River Falls, and several nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; wife in 1989; and sisters Edna (Clarence) Carlson, Vera (Jake) Fehr and Laura (Frank) Durman; brother Woodrow and four brothers-in-law and one sister-in-law.
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