Diamond in the Rough

Jerry Letnes, author of Diamond in the Rough.

Jerry Letnes, author of Diamond in the Rough.

Jerry Letnes has been a winter resident of Sun Lakes for the past 10 years. He is also a resident of Issaquah, Washington where he and his wife, Joan, spend the summer months. Jerry has just published a book that chronicles his life and life of his family in both Norway and the United States. The book includes several stories from the 1940’s until the present day. He grew up on a potato farm in the Red River Valley of North Dakota, served four years in the United States Navy aboard a destroyer and graduated from North Dakota State University with a BSEE and MSEE degrees and from Seattle University with an MBA. During his career, he worked at Boeing for 34 years as an engineer and manager. Jerry’s sister, Janet Martin, has published several books and is quite renowned as an author in her own right. His newly published book, Diamond in the Rough, is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Every one of us has a story that begs to be told, enjoyed, and preserved. In this book, Jerry Letnes traces his family name and ancestral roots to Norway. Treasured family stories from his immediate family, siblings, parents, grandparents, and ancestors in Norway dating back to the early 1800’s are shared. Letnes tells of his life growing up on a farm in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and uses a series of short stories to capture the environment, culture and traditions of the 1940s and 1950s in rural America. The local community was separated by different ethnic roots, religion, culture and customs and immigrants were just starting to become amalgamated as Americans. Letnes tells of his family dynamics, dreams, aspirations, joys, amusements, prejudices and sorrows during this time of transition.

Letnes shares his own story as a youth growing up in a large family in a farming community. He tells of his four years in the United States Navy serving aboard a world war two era destroyer in the 1960’s and how this experience altered his life. After completing his military service, Letnes relates his story of starting college with the equivalent of a ninth grade education and graduating five years later with a master’s degree in electrical engineering at North Dakota State University.

Letnes spent most of his working career at the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington. He traces his early days as an engineer designing antennas to subsequently graduating from Seattle University with a master’s degree in business administration and becoming a manager at Boeing. He tells of being laid off in 1969 during the Boeing bust, starting a company that failed and returning to Boeing. He shares several stories that depict the culture of large aerospace companies during the late 1960’s until his retirement in 2005. He also shares several stories relating to raising a family in the Issaquah area.

This book is a moving story of one person’s journey through life with all the adventure, pleasant surprises, love, humor, challenges, soul searching and beauty along the way.