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Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: May 23, 1929
Date of death: April 8, 1959
Age: 29

Lucky Bag

1951 Ekeren LB.jpg

From the 1951 Lucky Bag:

Halvor Martin Ekeren

Thief River Falls, Minnesota

A staunch defender of the mid-western way of life. . . known as "Hal" to friends . . . recognized throughout the Halls of Bancroft by his smile and distinctive laugh . . . born at Devil's Lake, North Dakota in 1929 ... a living example of the fact that everything that emerged from the depression was not bad (?) . . . graduated from Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls (better known as Crook Creek), Minnesota . . . Motto: "Things can't be as tough tomorrow as they were today" . . . Hobby as a civilian was keeping his jalopy running; hobby now is meeting people and seeing some of the world . . . ambition: to retire with a family on a small farm . . . friendly, a hard worker, conscientious and practical.


Hal was lost when his "jet plane exploded over Las Vegas, Nev." on April 8, 1959 He was survived by his wife, Nancy, their three children, and now at least three grandchildren. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Project Mercury

Hal was one of 32 candidates for NASA's Project Mercury and his life is discussed at length in "Selecting the Mercury Seven: The Search for America's First Astronauts" by Colin Burgess. It's believed that Hal was originally in a smaller field of 18, but he removed his name (with the possibility of later consideration) before that occurred. He was lost the day before the seven Mercury astronauts were announced.


(L to R) Robert G. Bell Captain USAF, Roland M. Brunelle Captain USAF, Richard M. Corbett Captain USAF, Halvor M. Ekeren Captain USAF, Kenneth W. Grubaugh Captain USAF, Gerald A. Hattendorf Captain USAF, Archie T. Iddings Captain USAF, Herman L. Knapp Captain USAF, Jesse C. Locke Jr Captain USAF, Jimmie Pierce Captain USAF, Ralph C. Rich 1st Lt USAF, Donald W. Stewarc Jr Captain USAF, William R. Wronski Captain USAF, Henry E. Chouteau Civilian Northrop Acft, Jack H. Stephenson Civilian Grumman

In 1959 the USAF Test Pilot School introduced an award in Hal's name, presented to an outstanding pilot in each class.

Class Navigation

Class of 1951
Halvor is one of 48 members of the Class of 1951 in Memorial Hall.
<< Melvin Shimer '51 Ralph Stothard '51 >>