Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Elias Henry “Hank” Seira, 80
Elias Henry “Hank” Seira, 80, Bismarck, died on Oct. 25, 2008, at his home, under the care of Hospice, with his loving wife at his side.
Hank was born Nov. 8, 1927, in Austin, the son of Otto and Ida Bakkila Seira. He began his swimming career at age 12. He shattered many records, one of which lasted for 20 years. In his junior year, coach took Hank to the national championship in Philadelphia, where he won two gold medals, the only multiple event winner that year. He was named an All-American. He enlisted in the army in 1946, and served in the Occupation Forces in Japan. The Army selected Hank and four other soldiers to begin the Army Olympic swimming training program. He shattered two records in Yokohama, at the All East Command Swim. He was discharged from the Army in March 1948. He was recruited by several colleges for his swimming abilities. He entered Yale University in 1948, and swam with the Yale swim team, graduating in 1952. His career as a civil engineer took him around the world, the subway system in Washington D.C., a tunnel under the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, the Alaskan pipeline, copper mines in Chile, a coal gasification plant in South Africa and the atomic test site in Nevada.
In retirement, he taught classes in surveying to former GI’s looking for new careers and also volunteered his time doing income tax preps for seniors. In 1987, he was inducted into the Austin High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He married his former Austin High School classmate Marilyn Holm Monson, the love of his life, on March 26, 2001, and they began their life together as they were meant to be 50 years earlier. Marilyn’s family welcomed Hank as one of their own.
Always anxious to learn, he worked daily cross-word puzzles, Sudoku, and loved the History Channel. He excelled at card games and especially loved duplicate bridge. He was a member of Operating Engineers, Elks, and Rotary. Rotary was an important part of his life, and he was honored to become a Rotarian Paul Harris Fellow.
He was a kind, generous, and thoughtful man with a big warm smile for everyone he met. We will dearly miss him.
He is survived by his wife, Marilyn Seira; daughters, Karen Monson, Duluth, Minn. and Kathryn (Brian) Wood, Lakewood, Colo.; sons, Brian (Cheryl) Monson, Boise, Idaho and Brad Monson, Strasburg, N.D.; grandchildren, Joe (Jess) Slag, Charlie Slag, Kristi (Brandon) Lowder, Reed Monson, Kyle Monson and Stephanie Wood.
He was preceded in death by his parents; 3 brothers; one sister and 6 nieces and nephews.
Per Hank’s wish, his body was donated to the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. Private family services will be held. In lieu of flowers, Hank would be honored by memorials to the Rotary Scholarship Committee. Go to www.eastgatefuneral.com to share memories of Hank and sign the online guestbook.