Sodergren, Jan Harald

Engineer Worked On Apollo Missions; Combustion Engineering

Saturday, February 3, 2018
Jan Sodergren
Jan Sodergren

Jan Harald Sodergren, a loving family man, passed from this life February 1, 2017, surrounded by his family, following an extended struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Born in Sweden on Dec. 2, 1933, he grew up in the city of Goteborg spending summers in a small summer home on the ocean’s edge from which he sailed his own sail boat. He biked around the country of Sweden, served in the Merchant Marine at age 16, and later served in the Swedish Army. In 1955 he came to the United States where he worked as a surveyor then attended The University of Alabama earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees.  He was a member of the Engineering Honor Society and would later be admitted to the University’s Distinguished Fellow Society for Mechanical Engineering.  Early employers included Dupont and The University of Arizona.

One of the highlights of his career was working on all of the Apollo missions and later the Sky Lab Project. He loved his work and was thrilled to be a part of putting a man on the moon. After the Apollo missions he worked with Combustion Engineering in the field of nuclear engineering. He holds two patents for his work.  He enjoyed many hobbies from home improvement and gardening to the symphony and running.

He loved nature, especially wild flowers, water falls, trails through the woods and the beach.  He was an avid hiker, mountain biker, snow skiier, camper and enjoyed canoeing, the symphony, big band music, dancing, boating, tennis, photography, history, and a good scotch.  He was a devoted father and grandfather, spending hours sharing his hobbies with his children and grandchildren.  A Toastmaster and man of great wit, he loved to tell a story, deliver a retirement speech or give a toast. 

He will be missed by his wife of 58 years, Carolyn Moses Sodergren, children:  Karl Sodergren (Tracy), Margaret Fullam (Steve) and Elizabeth Sodergren (Dan Panak) and Grandchildren: Allyson Fullam, Oskar and Scarlet Sodergren and Ben and Sydney Panak.  He also leaves a loving sister Eva Thompson and two adoring nieces, Kristina White and Meta Thompson all of Elberton, Georgia.  His cousin Inger Hultqvist and her family mourn his loss from their homes in Sweden. 

Funeral services will be held at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home in Hixson.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 5-7 p.m. on Monday and from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. on Tuesday.

Interment will be at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, in Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Al.

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