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John O. "Sy" Syverson, 75, Mission, Texas, Park Rapids and formerly Fargo, N.D., passed away peacefully at Sanford Palliative Care Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, after a short but courageous battle with cancer.

John was born on the family farm in Ulen, July 16, 1938, to Oscar S. and Clara (Jenzer) Syverson, and was the youngest of seven sons. He grew up in Ulen, was baptized and confirmed at Atlanta Lutheran Church, attended grade school at District 48 County School and graduated from Ulen High School in 1955.

He graduated from North Dakota State University (NDSU) Fargo, N.D. His educational path continued to National Air War College, Montgomery, Ala.

On June, 2, 1984, John married Diane E. Benson in Fargo, N.D. During their 29 years of marriage they traveled the world together.

John's passion was flying. His career began with the North Dakota Air Na-tional Guard/Happy Hooligans, retiring as a Lt. Col. after 30 years. In 1966, John was hired by Northwest Airlines, ending his career in 1998 as a 747-400 Captain.

Retirement was short lived as John became active in his other passion, politics. In 2003, he was elected to the North Dakota State Senate from District 45. He also served as vice chairman of the Fargo Planning Commission, Metro Council of Government, and on the Reed Township Board.

John was state president of the Air Force Association, member of the El Zagal Shrine, American Legion, Amvets, Daedalions, Airline Pilots Association, National Guard Association, First Lutheran Church, and was a member of the MIA Hunters in Papau, New Guinea.

John will be lovingly missed by his wife, Diane; and daughter, Beth (Steve) Leonard of Chanhassen. He is also survived by his brothers, Shelvin (Gladys), East Bethel, Lowell, Wallace, and sister-in-law, Penny, all of the Minneapolis area; sister-in-law, Bonnie, Park Rapids; mother-in-law, Betty Benson, Fargo; brother-in-law, Mike (Jan) Benson, Fargo; and 27 nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar and Clara Syverson; brothers, Clinton, Aldus, and Dean; sisters-in-law, Vi and Betty; and Diane's father, Lyle F. Benson.

Memorial service: 11 am, Friday, Aug. 23 at First Lutheran Church, Fargo.

Visitation: one hour prior to the service.

Burial: at a later date, North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan, N.D.

Memorials are preferred to the Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center, 820 4th St N, Fargo, ND 58102; First Lutheran Church, 619 Broadway N, Fargo, ND 58102; North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, 1825 46th St, Mandan, ND 58554, or a charity of your choice.

Please feel free to visit John's tribute page at