Erik Sogaard, 95, passed away Feb. 8, 2020 in Haderslev, Denmark. Funeral services were held Feb. 15, 2020 at the community church in Hoptrup, Denmark. Erik’s ashes were interred in the church cemetery May 13, 2020.
Erik was born June 13, 1924 to Aksel and Marie (Abildtrup) Sogaard in Loesning, Denmark. The oldest of three children, he graduated from high school in Vejle, Denmark in 1942. Due to the German Wehrmacht occupation of Denmark and the hardships that followed for its citizens, Erik joined with his friends a local resistance group in 1943 where his primary function was small operations against German war projects in the southern part of Denmark. During 1944-45, local operations had to be moved to eastern Denmark where they, with other groups, collaborated with England for weapons and explosives within the country. German occupation ended May 5, 1945 with the Allied victory and the end of WWII. Erik remained part of the Danish Homeguard for the remainder of his days, and was given numerous honors for his service. His love for his country and for the assistance of America in bringing the war to its conclusion were paramount throughout his life.
Erik married his sweetheart, Inger Abildtrup, Oct. 23, 1949 on the island of Bornholm, where Inger’s family lived. Together they raised three children while he worked as a social worker, she as a teacher. They lived for a time in the schoolhouse where Inger taught classes that included her own children; eventually they found the small farm of their dreams outside of the small village of Hoptrup and started to own and board horses. Erik’s love for God and his family came first, but his beloved horses were a large part of his life. He became known in the southern part of the country for his knowledge and abilities with horses, and many young people learned to ride and train at the Sogaard farm. Erik and Inger were very involved in their church and local civic organizations; in his later years, Erik gave many volunteer hours developing a historical wagon and horse carriage museum in the nearby city of Haderslev. He was also known for years of cantor singing in his church, his warm affection towards his family and many friends, his avid reading and his love of classical music.
Erik is survived by his wife of 70 years, Inger; daughter Annemarie (Johs Christiansen,) of Holdbi, Denmark; sons Jens (Mary Ungs) of Dyersville and Ole (Bodil Schmidt) of Haderslev, Denmark; grandchildren Mikkel and Jeppe (Gitte Frederiksen) Sogaard Christiansen; Katrina (Joel) Anderson, and Kirsten Sogaard; Lise (Emil Kabell), Majken (Benoit Collins) and Lars (Nana Kley) Sogaard; nine great-grandchildren and his sister, Ellen Sogaard Gadeberg of Rorvig, Denmark. Erik was preceded in death by his parents; his brother Henning and grandson Christian Sogaard.