Gilmore Tilmen "Shelly" Schjeldahl, 89, of Devenshire Estates, Lenox, MA, died Sunday evening, March 10, 2002, at home.
Born in Esmond, N.D., on June 1, 1912, son of Ole C. and Anna Bentley Schjeldahl, he attended schools there. He also attended North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton and North Dakota State University in Fargo. He moved to Lenox about two years ago.
A World War II Army veteran, he served in a combat infantry division in Europe. He received a Bronze Star for his actions in the Battle of the Bulge.
While at the university, he worked at Armour & Co., in West Fargo and after the war, was employed by Armour Laboratories in Chicago.
In 1949, Mr. Schjeldahl, established a business in Minneapolis making polyethylene bags. He designed a machine that simultaneously cut and sealed plastic film with a hot blade. He sold the business in 1954 and, in 1955, founded G.T. Schjeldahl Co. in Northfield, Minn., which used mylar to produce atmospheric balloons.
In August 1960, Echo I, a 100-foot-diameter passive satellite he designed and built for NASA, was launched from Cape Canaveral, which eventually made possible the first coast-to-coast television transmission. He later founded three more companies in the Minneapolis areas.
Mr. Schjeldahl received an honorary doctorate of science degree from North Dakota State University in 1970 and an honorary doctorate of engineering degree from the University of North Dakota in 1993. He also received the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame Award in 1986 and the North Dakota Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Award in 1989.
While in Minneapolis, he served on the boards of the Walker Art Center, Lutheran Deaconess Hospital and the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church. He was a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and was active in the Midwest Coalition for Democracy in Central America.
He and his wife, the former Mary Charlene Hanson, were married Oct. 5, 1940.
Besides his wife, he leaves two sons, three daughters, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Burial will be at the convenience of the family in North Dakota.
[Roche Funeral Home, Lenox, MA]
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