Ivar Opgaard, 85, computer pioneer, 39-year resident

Ivar Opgaard
Ivar Opgaard

Ivar Opgaard,  an early expert in computer applications and a 39-year resident of Ridgefield, died peacefully in Stuart, Fla., on Nov. 29. He was 85 years old and the husband of Sigrun Opgaard.

Mr. Opgaard was born in Alta, Norway, on July 20, 1928. He met his future wife, Sigrun Vistnes, while serving in the Norwegian Air Force in Stavanger, Norway. They were married on April 3, 1954.

In 1957 he moved to the United States to establish himself in the computer industry. He worked for Teleregister, the first company to create a computerized airline reservations system as well as an electronic stock reporting system for stock brokerages. Later he worked for Philips electronics, where he helped create a new generation air traffic control system for the Federal Aviation Administration.

For the last decade of his career, he worked for Ergotech in Danbury, where he helped integrate ergonomic technology into many companies including Boeing, Sikorsky and Harley-Davidson.

Mr. Opgaard retired in 2002 and moved from Ridgefield  to Stuart.

A member of Sons of Norway Skaugum Lodge in Stamford, he served many Lodge officer positions including president. In Florida he was a trustee of Sons of Norway Gulfstream Lodge. He volunteered at Martin Memorial Hospital. He also served as a building president of Conquistador Condominium.

Besides his wife of 59 years, Mr. Opgaard is survived by son, Reidar Opgaard of Newton, Ala.; a daughter, Anna Brooks of Vero Beach, Fla.; a daughter, Irene Mardal of Bethel; a son, Andrew Opgaard of Cornwall;  and a daughter, Ingrid Opgaard of Vero Beach;   five grandchildren: Andrew Opgaard, Brendan Opgaard, Christina Sansolo, Thomas DiLillo and Mitchelson Brooks; brothers Leiv Opgård, Per Opgård, Gudmond Opgård and sister Ingeborg Li, all of Norway.

A celebration of his life will take place Sunday, Dec. 15, at 11 a.m., at the Conquistador Club House in Stuart.