Frithjof Orval Martinius Westby | Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

Frithjof Orval Martinius Westby

June 6, 1920 - January 21, 2019

Frithjof Orval Martinius Westby

Dr. Westby was born June 6,1920 in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
His father and mother, Frithjof Martin and Olga Christina Westby, raised three children, Orval, Charlotte and Philip. Dr. Westby’s youth was spent on the family farm near Aberdeen. After finishing at Aberdeen High School, he entered and graduated from Northern State Teachers College.

Called to the ministry he entered Luther Seminary, St. Paul MN. in the fall of 1941. In December that year, Dr. Westby enlisted in the chaplaincy service of the Navy. He served on the USS Oneida APA221, a troop transport ship in the Pacific Theatre. Returning home he graduated from Luther Seminary.

He met his wife, Helen Irene Hewes, and they married on December 30, 1947. They raised a family of five children. At the time Helen passed away they were married for 63 years.

In 1953, Dr. Westby completed his Masters at the University of Minnesota and was offered a position at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD., where he became chair of the Department of Sociology. He was respected by his peers and admired by his students. He received his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Minnesota in 1970.

Appointed in 1973, by Gov. Richard Kniep, he chaired the Department of Social Services for the State of South Dakota. In 1978 he was engaged to serve as the Executive Director of Lutheran Social Services System headquartered in St. Paul. The family settled in St. Louis Park, MN. and it remained home for the rest of Dr. Westby’s life. Upon retiring in1985, Dr. Westby became an Associate Pastor at Central Lutheran and implemented the 55+ program program for seniors.

He was preceded in death by Helen, Paul and Nathan, Charlotte and Philip Westby.
He is survived by Ragnhild, David and Stephen Westby.

He will be remembered for the quiet courage with which he governed his life.
God has called his faithful servant home to Him.
Blessed be the memory of Frithjof Orval Martinius Westby.


  1. Miles Renaas says:

    I want to express my deepest sympathy for the death of your father. I remember him driving me and Paul to the YMCA when you lived in Sioux Falls. May God bring you comfort as you give thanks for your father’s life. Miles Renaas

  2. Beverly Erickson says:

    If I am not mistaken, I assume this is my Augustana teacher when I attended Augustana in the mid 50’s. I took Sociology from him and he was a very good teacher and made the class interesting. Sympathy to your family.

  3. Nancy Thompson Putz says:

    Very sorry to read of the loss of your father. Please accept my condolences.

  4. Randi Nervig says:

    Dr. Westby was an important person in my life. He and my father were good friends when they were both at Augustana, and Helen and my mom were also friends, so we spent time with them in my early childhood. When I entered Augie, he was my advisor – and the only professor to hold me accountable for coming late to class. He lived a long life and I’m sorry for the loss to his family.

  5. Danette Bohlken says:

    Please accept my condolences on the passing of your father

  6. Sally Myers Swanson says:

    Professor Westby and his wife were people of grace and kindness. (He actually gave me a ‘D’ in his class when I deserved an ‘F’ and saved my hide from the ire of my parents. Loved him for that!!) Rahn, Stephen and David, please know he was very much admired and respected and we know he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers for comfort and peace.

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