|Christian F. Kongsore, co-founder of Grain Millers, Inc.|
BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON, U.S. — Christian F. Kongsore, co-founder of Grain Millers, Inc., died Dec. 23, 2017. He was 90 years old.
Born and raised in Oslo, Norway, Kongsore grew up working at his family’s flour mill in Lysaker, Norway. He came to the United States and graduated from Kansas State University’s School of Milling Technology with a bachelor’s degree in cereal sciences in 1952.
After graduating from KSU, Kongsore returned to Lysaker to help his father build the family’s second mill. While in Norway, his father died, and Kongsore returned to the United States in 1955 to become an associate professor at KSU.
In 1957, he went to work for International Multifoods in Buffalo, New York, U.S., before heading west to join Fisher Mills in Seattle, Washington, U.S. He worked at Fisher Mills for four years before joining Continental Grain Co. in 1962. Kongsore spent 12 years with Continental Grain, traveling and selling grain in a number of locations, including Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Sudan, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Barbados.
Kongsore started his own company, In-Line Mills, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., in the mid-1970s. After six years with In-Line, he joined Prince Macaroni in Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S., and shortly after returned to Minneapolis to work with some of his former friends at Pillsbury Co. It was during this time that he decided to partner with the Nicolini family to purchase a mill in St. Ansgar, Iowa, U.S. The company was called NorOats, and was eventually purchased by Grain Millers, Inc., a company Kongsore is credited with co-founding. By the age of 70 he had built more than 9 mills on 4 continents. He would go on to build two more mills after the age of 70.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Aase Marie. Survivors include a daughter, Bente; a son, Christian Petter; a brother, Joergen; and many grandchildren, nieces, nephews and extended family.
Memorial donations may be made to the Christian F. Kongsore Scholarship Fund, IMEF, 12351 W. 96th Terrace, Suite 100, Lenexa, KS 66215.
The Christian F. Kongsore Scholarship was established in 2013, with a donation from Grain Millers, Inc. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to a top performing student enrolled in the milling science and management program at KSU’s Department of Grain Science and Industry.