Skip to Content

Dr. David Jorgenson Obituary

David Jorgenson passed away peacefully at home in the early morning of Jan. 29, 2018. He was surrounded, as he was in life, by love. In the days before, his family spent time with him, expressing their love and caring. He was a fighter to the end in his 20 year battle with Parkinson’s, like the true Viking that he was. Christabel was by his side just as she was for the last 60 years. They loved each other, and he also loved their children, Kimberly, Kristofer, and Kirstyn, their children-in-law, Grant, Marina, and Shae, their grandchildren, Kelsii, Kaarin, Anna, Adam, Alexandra, and Andrei, their grandchild in law, Craig, and their great grandson, Henry. An enormous circle of family and friends will miss him.

David was born in Britton, South Dakota on March 8, 1935 to Einar Jorgenson and Beulah Holmestad Jorgenson. In 1939, he moved with his family to Bricelyn, Minnesota. There he grew up with two older sisters, Mae Lorraine and Elaine, who adored him. After graduating from high school in 1953, David moved to Cranfills Gap, Texas, with his parents, where his father served as pastor of St. Olaf Lutheran Church.

It was there that he met his future wife, Christabel Bertelsen, daughter of William and Johanna (Christensen) Bertelsen. He attended Clifton Junior College during its last semester and moved with other students to Texas Lutheran College, now Texas Lutheran University (TLU) in Seguin, Texas, graduating in 1957. Christabel also attended TLU. They were married Dec. 21, 1957 at St. Olaf by David’s father.

The next four years were spent in Columbus, Ohio, where David attended the Lutheran Theological Seminary, and interned in Sandusky, Ohio. David graduated in 1961 with a Master of Divinity Degree and moved with Christabel and Kimberly to Stamford, Texas, for his first parish. In 1964, they moved with Kristofer to his second parish in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1969, David began his preparation for a career in sociology, completing a masters degree at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and a doctorate from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. He was on the faculty at TCU for six years, and in 1976, with his family, including Kirstyn, moved to San Marcos, Texas, to join the Sociology Department at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), where he remained until his retirement.

David was designated as Distinguished Professor of Sociology Emeritus by the Board of Regents of the Texas State University System in 2000. Reasons cited were his inspiration as a teacher, earning among the highest student evaluations in the Department, and introducing many new courses for the first time at the University. He introduced hundreds of students to the wonders of statistics and helped them to not only understand number crunching but to enjoy it.

He created the minor in Social Gerontology, served as advisor, and directed gerontological interns. As an internationally known scholar, David published several articles in international journals, and delivered papers at conferences in Toronto, Canada, Taipei, Taiwan, and Graz, Austria. He was a thoughtful mentor, a caring colleague, an illuminating teacher, and an accomplished scholar. David loved teaching and his students. He was known for his sense of humor, his patience, and his willingness to help and advise them.

David loved sailing at Canyon Lake, along the Intracoastal, and the Gulf with family and friends. He enjoyed golf, birdwatching, photography, jogging, and trips to the beach. But the highlight of his life was his 60 year marriage to Christabel and their amazing family. They enjoyed a lifetime of experiences, travel, and happiness together. David’s life was full, and he felt greatly blessed. He will be dearly missed.