Edward Louis “Ed” Seljeskog, M.D., 87, of Rapid City, SD, passed away on March 16, 2022, surrounded by his loving family at Monument Health’s Hospice House.
Ed was born in Minneapolis, MN, on August 24, 1934, the second of three children to Sigsbee Raymond Seljeskog, M.D. and Jennie (Markuson) Seljeskog. He is survived by wife, Margaret “Peg” Seljeskog; children Vanessa Seljeskog (Martha Nause), Rio Verde, AZ; Eric Seljeskog (Terri), Rapid City, SD; Sarah Morrison (Dustin), Rapid City, SD; Chris Seljeskog (Alanna), Rapid City, SD; sister Elaine Spetz, Coon Rapids, MN; daughter-in-law Sarah Jane Seljeskog, Rapid City; grandchildren Stephanie Seljeskog, Spencer Seljeskog, Secily Selert (Daniel), Samantha Seljeskog, Danielle Seljeskog, Annika Seljeskog, Trinity Morrison, Tyson Morrison, Edward J. Morrison and Henly Seljeskog; and great-granddaughter Bailey Bowers. Ed is also survived by many in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins and their spouses. He was predeceased by his parents, children Christine and Steven Seljeskog; sister Anita Mittelsted; Brothers-in-law Gehl Mittelsted and Jim Spetz; and former wife, Audrey Seljeskog.
A graduate of Washburn HS, Minneapolis, Ed followed with graduations from the University of Minnesota (1955), School of Medicine (1959), and Graduate School (1968); finishing with B.A., B.S., M.D. and Ph.D degrees. He interned at Ancker Hospital, St. Paul, MN; General Surgery residency at Hennepin General Hospital, Minneapolis, MN; Neurosurgical residency at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; and Neurosurgical fellowship at Ulleval Hospital, University of Oslo, Norway. Practicing and teaching at the University of Minnesota Department of Neurosurgery (1968-2004), Ed attained full Professor status in 1977, including 16 years as Vice Chairman of the department and Head, Division of Neurosurgery, Hennepin County General Hospital (1968-1976). He served as Consulting and Attending Neurosurgeon at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Hospital for 29 years (1971-2011). His publications include over 60 medical articles and 21 books or chapters as well as serving on the Board of Editors for Minnesota Medicine for 23 years. A Visiting Professor to numerous universities, Dr. Seljeskog was named Professor Emeritus - Neurosurgery, University of Minnesota in 2005. The Department of Neurosurgery library is named in his honor.
In 1993 he moved to Rapid City, SD, beginning private practice (Neurosurgical & Spinal Surgery Associates, P.C.), was Attending Staff Neurosurgeon at Rapid City Regional Hospital (now Monument Health) and was a founding physician of Black Hills Surgical Hospital, all until November 1, 2012. Although age 78 at the time of his surgical retirement, he insisted on taking ER call at Regional Hospital for the last week of his surgical career. Subsequently serving as Consulting Neurosurgeon at the Ft. Meade VA Hospital from 2012-2018, he retired - again - this time from the Veteran’s Administration at age 84.
“Good grief, Ed! You’re making the rest of us look like slugs!” remarked one of his Monument Hospital medical staff colleagues, but it was Dr. Ed that the health care community always called for care of themselves or their families.
The proud son of a Bronze Star WW II Army Medical Officer, Ed, a Captain, Medical Corps, US Naval Reserve, activated during Desert Storm, also served as Reserve Neurosurgery Advisor to the Surgeon General of the US Navy for 6 years, and affiliated with NR 500 CBTZ Fleet Hospital #23, St. Paul, MN. His devotion to all veterans was a blessing to all who received his care.
Along with his meticulous care of his patients and the tutelage of neurosurgical residents, Ed served numerous years actively contributing to the betterment of care for all patients, serving on 70 hospital, local, regional, and national organization committees. National leadership positions included: Governor (1981-1985) and Regent (1985-1992) of the American College of Surgeons; Secretary (1991-1994) and Vice Chairman (1995-1996), for the American Board of Neurosurgery; Secretary (1982-1985) and President (1994-1995) of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
Laying a foundation for all of his accomplishments was Ed’s growing up with the Boy Scouts of America as his guiding light. The card he received at his Eagle Scout ceremony in 1950 states ”Your Eagle Badge signifies that you have prepared yourself for service to others.” Ed served with the board of the Black Hills Area Council-BSA from 1996-2002. In 2003, he received the Whitney M. Young Service Award, a national BSA award for outstanding service in the initiation and support of the ScoutReach Program for disadvantaged youth and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Boy Scout program. The National Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (2005) recognized Ed’s association with scouting as a youth and adult, the recipient an Eagle Scout with a minimum of 25 years before nomination who has rendered outstanding service to his profession and community.
Ed, the man, was a lover of World War II non-fiction books, smooth jazz, Bob Dylan, Bill Withers, crispy hot dogs eaten off a fork by the grill, ice cream, Oreo cookies and celebrating returns from world travels with a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. But more than these things, he absolutely adored his family, his grandchildren in particular. While he could be pretty “crusty” at work, his grandchildren knew he adored them. We will fiercely miss our stubborn Norwegian but are grateful that he is at peace and in everlasting life with his Savior.
Visitation will be held from 5-7 pm on Friday, March 25th, at Calvary Lutheran Church, 5311 Sheridan Lake Rd., Rapid City, SD. Funeral service will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday, March 26th, at Calvary Lutheran Church. A gathering will follow the service at Arrowhead Country Club, 3675 Sheridan Lake Rd.
Burial will be at North Waseca Lutheran Church Cemetery, Waseca, MN, on Tuesday, March 29th, 10:30 am, through the care of Dennis Funeral Home, Waseca.
Philanthropy was very important to Ed. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Ed’s honor to Black Hills Area Council - Boy Scouts of America (blackhillsbsa.org/give), Working Against Violence, Inc. (wavi.org/donate), Calvary Lutheran Church (calvaryrapidcity.org/gifts-giving) or the Neurosurgical Education & Research Foundation (nref.org/ways-to-give/Memorials-Tributes).
The entire Seljeskog family extends their heartfelt gratitude to Jenny & Amber of Black Hills Advocate for their guidance the past two years, along with the staff at Peaceful Pines Senior Living, Monument Health Hospital and Hospice House for their care and compassion during Ed’s final years and days.