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Dr. Per Sten Stensby

Obituary for Dr. Per Sten Stensby

March 11, 1931 - August 17, 2020
Concord, New Hampshire | Age 89


Dr. Per S. Stensby, a resident of Concord, New Hampshire and Steuben, Maine, passed away on August 17, 2020 at the age of 89 years. Per was born on March 11, 1931 in Oslo, Norway. He was the son of the late Sten Stensby and Astrid Poleszynski Stensby.

Per grew up in Norway. He was very active in sports, especially orienteering and skiing. As an adolescent he grew up during the German occupation of World War II. Although he missed 5 years of formal schooling, he was admitted and educated at the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland.

While working on his doctoral thesis at ETH, he met Eva Svensson from Sweden while she was traveling on vacation. Soon thereafter Per and Eva were engaged. On August 3, 1957, Dr. Per Stensby and Ms. Eva Anita Elisabet Svensson were married in a small church in the woods of southern Sweden and remained married for 55 years until Eva's passing. After being wed, the young couple was frequently on the move. First Norway, then to PA, Switzerland, MA, NY and NC. Per was the father of four children, boy-girl- boy-girl, each about 3 years a part. Upon retirement Eva and Per settled in the New England states of Maine and New Hampshire. In NH, his property abutted a wildlife refuge. He would take great joy in watching the black bears walk through his property which happened often as he feed them a feast of seeds and raw peanuts. It was not usual for him to be 30 feet away from a bear, in his backyard, waiting to be fed.

Per believed in the value of education, earning a M.S. in Chemical Engineering and PhD of Technical Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and an MBA from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.

As a native of Norway, he served in the Norwegian Army at the Research Institute of the Department of Defense. He accepted a post-doctoral research assignment at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1960, he joined the U.S. Dyestuff Division of Ciba and later transferred to Ciba's headquarters in Basel, Switzerland and then back to the United States. In the mid 60's Per worked for Ciba-Geigy as the Director of Fluorescent Whitening Agent (FWA) Service and Development Department. He became an industry expert on FWAs. One legacy of his work is the "Stensby Whiteness Index". He also served the company as Executive Director of Technical Service and Development Department for Textile and Specialty Chemicals. He assumed responsibility for the human safety and environmental impact of the division's products. In this capacity, he represented Ciba-Geigy on U.S. and International Industry Committees addressing human safety and environmental impact related issues. After his retirement in 1997, he served as a consultant of Ciba-Geigy for two years. During his career, Per authored more than 25 publications on topics in his field.

Just as significant, were Per's contributions to the sport of Orienteering. Starting in adolescence, he had a passion for orienteering, a sport that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain whilst moving at a fast speed. In the warmer months he ran and winter months he would cross country ski. In his lifetime, Per won hundreds of awards, most notably he was Norwegian, Swiss, and U.S. Champion in Orienteering. He was one of the first in the early evolution of the sport in America and in the beginnings of the U.S. Orienteering Federation (USOF). Per served as Orienteering USA President in the 1980s, and represented North America at the International Orienteering Federation Congress. He was the Event Director for the 1993 World Orienteering Championship at Harriman State Park in New York. Per also received an accommodation from the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps for his service to the nation by teaching cadets orienteering at West Point. At 85, though he was in failing health, through determination he climbed Round Mountain, a 550 foot peak, in Downeast Maine, where he could see the Atlantic Ocean and miles of surrounding forests. Not too long ago, when Per was reminiscing about his orienteering career he said 'Heaven' is the woods, with map and compass for guidance.

For over 40 years, Per loved spending time at Round Pond and his blueberry properties in Steuben, Maine. In retirement, he went from part-time to full-time blueberry farmer. He started his own company, Stenridge, to formalize his work with blueberries, forestry, and land management.

He is survived by his son, Per Ola Stensby of Bucksport, ME; daughter and son-in-law, Nina Stensby-Hurst and Harry Hurst of Harrisonburg, VA; daughter Eva Astrid Stensby of Searsport, ME; granddaughter and husband, Kristine and Lee Siple of Charlotte, NC; grandsons, Ryan Hurst of Harrisonburg, VA, Jolan and Sven Stensby of Sweden; great granddaughters Aria and Isla Siple; niece, Vibeke Nergaard, nephews Kristian and Peder Nergaard and cousin Ivar Poleszynski and wife Karin of Norway and Unni Waterhouse of South Carolina; nephew, Rolf Saxmark of Sweden; nephew, Bengt Saxmark of England; niece, Rita Saxmark of Denmark; Per was predeceased in death by his wife Eva and his son, Jan Stensby.

Per's remains will be put to rest at the family's cemetery at Round Pond. A private service will be held in Maine, at a future date, when his family can gather together for his internment.

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