Obituary: Kolbjorn Inge Tenfjord
Kolbjorn Inge Tenfjord
March 3, 1934 – November 20, 2018
Kolbjorn Inge Tenfjord passed away peacefully on the evening of November 20, 2018, in Austin, Texas, with his daughter, Marit, by his side. He was 84 years old. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Kathryn (née Younes); his two daughters, Marit and Kari; his two sons, Trond and Peter; his daughters-in-law, Rose and Mallory; his grandchildren, Erik, Sofie, Kathryn Rose and Lawson Kol; his sister, Kjellaug; his sister-in-law, Jorunn; his niece and nephews Marianne, Øystein and Tor Inge and their families. He was predeceased by his parents, Margit and Petter, his brother Per, and his brother-in-law Kjell.
Kolbjorn was born on March 3rd, 1934 in the small town of Sjøholt, Norway. He came to the States in the early sixties and settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where he met and married Kathryn not long after his arrival. Kolbjorn worked for Gulf Oil and then Chevron. Due to many company transfers, he and his growing family traveled and lived around the world. In 1992, Kolbjorn and Kathryn moved to Colorado to start their post-retirement years together. They created an amazing life in Summit County and made many dear friends. They rooted themselves wholly, naturally, and genuinely into their community. They’d found their place and their people.
In the winter months, Kolbjorn taught skiing at Arapahoe Basin, which was a pure joy for him. He loved inducting new members into the snow cult and he always arrived home bragging about his students. He re-shared with friends and family the many stories he heard from people from all over the world. At the end of a good day of teaching and/or skiing, before heading home, he could often be found indulging in a burger and fries or simply a cold beer with friends and fellow instructors.
In the summer months, Kolbjorn and Kathryn loved to hike; they were like kids in a candy store during wildflower season. It didn’t take long before both of them could name almost any flower they saw, but they, of course, took their wildflower book along on every excursion just in case they found one they hadn’t seen before. Kolbjorn and Kathryn often hiked together, with friends, and sometimes with one or more of their kids if they were in Summit for a visit. For the fourteeners, however, Kolbjorn had a cadre of fellow hikers to accompany him on these challenging hikes that he loved so much. Of the fifty-four in Colorado, he hiked more than thirty of them. He had the most amazing strength and lung capacity and made summiting these peaks look easy. He often lugged home a beautiful rock—sometimes quite a large one—and proudly handed it over to Kathryn or Kari.
When not on the trail or the slopes or outside building a deck or a patio, Kolbjorn loved to spend time with his friends and family— talking, sharing meals, playing bridge, drinking wine and sipping aquavit. He delighted in good conversation and a funny joke or story inevitably elicited that infectious laugh of his. That laugh — that amazing laugh — his sincere and warm smile and those piercingly beautiful, light blue eyes … they are dearly missed.
Kolbjorn and Kathryn have been in Austin for the last 6+ years so they could be closer to Marit and her family. After Kathryn went into a memory care facility in 2014, Kolbjorn moved in with Marit, Rose, and Ryn. As his confusion worsened, his trust in Rose deepened and he turned to her for reassurance and support. He also relied heavily on Pia, a close family friend, who walked with him when he could no longer find his way around the neighborhood.
While Austin is where Kolbjorn spent his final days, it’s not where his heart was. It was split between Norway and Colorado. He asked his children to spread his ashes at the top of a mountain in Norway that was particularly special to him. We will make sure his wish is granted. Since Colorado was a second home to him, we will save some of his ashes to spread on one of his favorite fourteeners and perhaps on the slopes of A-Basin.
The family plans to have a memorial for Kolbjorn in Summit County sometime in the spring or summer of 2019. We hope to see as many of his and Kathryn’s friends there as possible so we can share stories, memories, photos, laughter, hugs and tears.
Kolbjorn was a kind and gentle man, a loving husband and father, and a loyal and steadfast friend. He was a happy man and took joy in his many endeavors. He was proud of the life he built in his adopted country and of his Norwegian heritage. He was truly loved and he is truly missed. May he rest in light and love and peace.
For those who wish to make memorial donations in Kolbjorn’s honor, here are a few organizations you might consider:
Friends of Eagle’s Nest Wilderness:
Humane Society of the United States:
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