Halstein Stralberg passed away peacefully on Sunday November 6th, 2022 in Seattle, Washington due to heart failure.
Halstein was born to Sigurd and Randi Strålberg with the given name Arne on May 12th, 1939, on a farm near the town of Farsund in southern Norway. His early years were marked by the German occupation of Norway during World War II, with his parents actively participating in the resistance movement. He was the oldest of four children (brother Sverre and sisters Ragnhild and Inger). Due in part to their isolation, Arne spent much of his early childhood playing alone and developed a life-long streak of independence and self-reliance. He loved the outdoors and could spend hours by himself walking or skiing in the forests and mountains.
Halstein (then Arne) was a precocious child who excelled in school, especially in math and science. As a teen, he experienced himself as “different” from his peers and began searching for a spiritual path that would help to “fix” what was wrong with him. While studying mathematics at the University in Oslo, he heard about a new spiritual movement called Subud that was starting to spread from its beginnings in Indonesia to the western world. With very little money he made the trip to England in 1958 to be “opened” in Subud, at the age of 18. The profound experiences he received in Subud would shape the rest of his life. He was given the name Halstein by the founder of Subud, known as Bapak (“father” in Indonesian).
After finishing an undergraduate degree in Math, Physics, and Astronomy, Halstein obtained a Master’s degree in Mathematics. Soon after, he got a job with Norsk Hydro, a large Norwegian energy company, where he developed computer programs to improve aluminum production operations. He soon became well regarded for his ability to understand business problems and develop analytical models that would lead to better decision-making or improved processes.
In Subud, Halstein was an early “helper” in the Oslo group. He was known for his ability to get along with most people, being impartial in helping to solve conflicts and giving objective advice to members. Halstein met his wife, Ida, in Subud. They were married in 1964 and became a lifelong team, their marriage lasting 58 years. The Subud experience guided them to move from Norway to Los Angeles, California in 1968. Halstein felt that, despite his promising career at Norsk Hydro, moving to California would allow him more freedom to be his true self.
After moving to Los Angeles, Halstein and Ida eventually settled in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Santa Monica, where they lived for 45 years and raised four children (Diana, Daniel, Sylvia, and Adriana). While Ida took care of the house and children, Halstein found work at a small consulting company called Universal Analytics, where he worked from 1970 to 1999. He worked for another 20 years after that as an independent consultant specializing in mail sorting operations, leading him to work up until his 80th birthday. He was well regarded in his field and eventually became a trusted expert witness in large postal rate case proceedings.
Although his home was his sanctuary, Halstein also transferred his love of the outdoors to southern California and spent much of his free time hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, walking on Santa Monica beach, and cycling and running long distances around town. He competed in many 10K runs, became a health nut, and tended a backyard vegetable garden. He was fortunate to be healthy and mobile for the great majority of his life. In 2013, Halstein and Ida moved to a new home overlooking Lake Washington in Lake Forest Park, Washington, to be closer to two of their children and six grandchildren. There he continued his habit of long daily walks as long as his health permitted.
Halstein’s professional achievements notwithstanding, most would say that he made his biggest mark on the world as a Helper in Subud. He held local, regional, national, and international positions multiple times each, and as a result traveled extensively in Latin America and got to know many Subud members around the world. Possessing a good ear for languages, he taught himself Spanish in order to connect more meaningfully with Spanish-speaking Subud members, and he took any opportunity to practice his Spanish with friends and strangers alike. His spiritual presence, keen sense of humor, and big smile will be greatly missed.
Halstein is survived by his wife, Ida, four children (Diana, Daniel, Sylvia, and Adriana), and eight grandchildren (Simone, Emily, Charlotte, Layelle, Dale, Iris, Rozaria, and Maeve). He also leaves behind a brother, Sverre, two sisters, Ragnhild and Inger, and a large extended family from the Strålberg and Birkeland families in Norway.
A Memorial Service for Halstein will be held at the Seattle Subud House (Spring Street Center), located at 1101 15th Ave, on Sunday January 22, 2023 starting at 1pm.