Karl L. Bendetsen – Colonel, United States Army

Under Secretary of the Army

From a contemporary press report:

Karl R. Bendetsen,  81, a former undersecretary of the Army, died of a heart attack on Wednesday, June 28, 1989 at his home in Washington.

Mr. Bendetsen, former chairman and chief executive officer of the Champion International Corp, had a long and illustrious career in business, the practice of law and the military.

During World War II, Mr. Bendetsen was an artillery officer in the Army. With the War Department general staff he served as an assistant chief of staff, 4th Army. As a member of the combined staff, he helped plan the Normandy invasion. He also served as assistant deputy chief of staff in the 12th Army Group. In 1942, he attained the rank of full colonel. He left the Army in 1945 after five years of service.

As a civilian, Mr. Bendetsen served first as the assistant secretary of the Army and then as undersecretary of the Army between 1948 and 1952. In 1948, he proposed the establishment of the Army's Office of General Counsel. He served as its first general counsel. Before and after his war service, Mr. Bendetsen practiced law in
Washington, Oregon and California, with proprietary and management interests in logging, lumber and mining. After the war, he resumed law practice in San Francisco. He was a member of the bar in each of those states as well as in Ohio, New York and the District of Columbia. In addition, he was qualified to practice law before the US Supreme Court.

Mr. Bendetsen joined Champion Papers in 1952 as general consultant. He was elected vice president and general manager of the Texas division in 1955. He was promoted to vice president of operations in 1957. In 1960, he was elected president and chief executive officer and director. In 1965, he was elected to serve as chairman of the board as well as president and executive officer. He became chairman of Champion International in 1967 after the merger of the US Plywood Corporation and Champion Papers, two internationally known forest product firms. Upon retiring from Champion International, Mr. Bendetsen functioned as a government affairs consultant.

An Aberdeen, Washington, native, Mr. Bendetsen attended Stanford University where he received a bachelor's degree in 1929. He also received two law degrees (LLB and JSD) from the university. He is survived by his wife, Gladys Ponton de Arce Heurtematte Bendetsen; two daughters, Brookes M., of San Mateo, Calif., and Anna Martha, of Dallas; and a grandson. Burial Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery will be private, with a memorial service to be held at a later date.



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