CFK was a determined student all his life. After graduating from high school he chose Kansas State University to pursue his college education and arrived in New York on the S/S Stavangerfjord and hopped a train to Manhattan, Kansas to begin his journey as a University Student in KSU's famed Milling School. He spent his summers pursuing his other passion, yachting, by working as a deck hand on the 46' Sparkman Stephens designed Yawl "Ayesha," which belonged to Charles H. Jones III, the proprietor of the Bostonian Shoe Factories in Boston. He raced the East Coast circuit under the New York Yacht Club Burgee. During these times he participated in the Martha's Vineyard Race, The New York Yacht Club Cruise and he humbly described himself as "doing well" in these events.
He made many life-long friends during his time as KSU and often travelled long distances with his friends in order to see more of the United States. One particular trip he enjoyed was the drive from Manhattan, Kansas to Sun Valley, Idaho for winter break skiing, this footage can also be seen on the family videos section of this site.
Even as an exceptional student, CFK could not have known the affect he would have on the international grain industry at this time. Nor could he have understood the amount of commerce, employment and prosperity he would help create around the world. During his time as "K-State" CFK was a member of the famed ACACIA fraternity and built many relationships that would serve his career well down the road. He immediately became a fan of American Football, cheering on the Wildcats with enthusiasm. He graduated in 1952 with a degree in Milling Science.
Christian Frederik Kongsore was born to Christian Alfred and Jorga Kongsore on May 25th, 1927 in Oslo, Norway. He was destined to become a miller spending his childhood around his father's mill in Lysakker, Norway. The original Lysaker mill still stands today and footage of it operating can be found in the video section or by clicking here. The original mill now functions as an office building.
In the early 1930's through the early 40's Christian Frederick Kongsore (CFK) spent his days doing what many little boys dream of. He could usually be found outdoors, preferably near the water. He enjoyed his free time sailing on his father’s 10mR 54' sailboat, as well as hunting, fishing, and skiing at the family cabin in Skeikampen (Lillehammer, Norway). His love of outdoor activities continued throughout his life and he passed this love onto his children taking them to some of the most beautiful places in Europe and North America to enjoy time as a family. CFK's father, Christian Alfred, was a strict, well-meaning man who taught his 3 boys (Bjorn, Christian, and Jorgen) the value of hard work. Grandfather Johann Iversen also influenced CFK by enforcing the virtues of hard work and sharing his passions for the outdoors.
Birth and Childhood
Oslo in the 1950's was a small town and young adults of similar backgrounds were acquainted with each other either directly or through friends of friends.
This was true of Aase Marie and Christian F. Kongsore and, when dad returned from his studies at Kansas State, he saw his future bride at a Sonja Henning figure skating exhibition and said to his friend, "That's the girl I am going to marry."
They started dating shortly thereafter and it appears CFK was as convincing in his early dealings with his would-be wife as he was in his early dealings in the milling industry because just three months later he asked Aase to marry him and she accepted. They announced their plans to Chris' parents during dinner shortly thereafter and that very evening, Chris's father, Christian Alfred had his fatal heart attack and did not get to witness the wedding of his son.
It's amazing now to think back to 1953-54 and everything the Kongsore family, and therefore, Aase was dealing with at the time. The 2nd family mill had finally been approved for construction and Christian had returned to Norway from University and secured the love of his life. The family had to have felt like they were on the cusp of some special times in their history! And then, shockingly, their patriarch was gone. It's inspiring to understand how even at the very beginning of CFK's relationship with Aase, she nurtured him and helped him persevere through the challenges he and his family were so unexpectedly faced with.
Aase and Christian married on February 19, 1954 in a very large, formal wedding ceremony. As we all know now they went on to live an adventurous life that endured an incredible amount of change and required alot of each. They were a handsome and revered couple throughout their time together.
Building a Life Together
Between 1940-45, due to the German occupation of Norway, the Kongsore family spent much of their time in Lillehammer. Separating themselves from Oslo allowed Christian and his brothers to supplemented their education with at home lessons without the poisons of German occupational propaganda, this included learning the arts, such as piano. These years were formative for CFK, he learned about the dichotomy of the human condition, that man is capable of both greatness and great wrongs. He worked in his father's wheat mill – where his father would store weapons for the resistance in his grain bins – during the war. These years instilled in CFK the ability to judge men by the content of their character and value them by their actions and so he measured himself by these factors. In his free time during the war Christian's father trusted him to sail his own 16' sloop, a boat he named "Hiawatha." During his adventures he was confined to a 10pm curfew otherwise risking the machine gunning of his sails by the German high command.
Between the end of the war and 1950 CFK graduated from Frogner Gymnasium with a major in Modern Languages, began sailing his second boat, a 19.5sQM vessel named "Kurant," while working part-time at his family's Lysaker Mill and eventually purchases and races his 3rd boat, "Vesle-Kiss," sailing her around Southern Norway and Sweden. With her, he placed 2nd in the Norwegian Junior Championships and won the Bundefjord Cup.
Boat racing was a huge part of CFK's post-war youth. Although most would say he was a gentle man and the consummate team player, when it came to individual competition, Christian Frederick was solely focused on victory. He took his 4th boat, "Capu," from Oslo to Kristiansand while racing local clubs along the way during the summer. With her he won the Roedtangen Cup.
CFK served in Germany, during European reconstruction, as an MP in the Norwegian Brigade #481 as part of the Yorkshire Reginment of the Birtish Army of the Rhine. He fondly remembered the story of a particular yacht race between the British and the Norwegians during his time in the service. He skippered the Norwegian boat on Steinhude Meer outside Hanover, Germany and his crew proudly claimed the win.
The College Years
The Building of a Mill and Man
After graduation from KSU CFK returned to Lysaker to help his father build their family's long-awaited 2nd mill. His father had purchased a perfect piece of land for the facility at the confluence of Lysaker River and Oslo Fjord. It had deep water access where vessels could dock and unload grain. Unfortunately, Christian Alfred spent many years in litigation with local authorities seeking a permit for building a mill on his property. The day after winning his court case in the Norwegian Supreme Court he suffered a major heart attack and passed – the year was 1953. As the only son formally trained in the milling business, CFK was immediately tasked with planning and overseeing the construction of the mill. Without his father's influence the family began to feud and shortly after the mill's completion CFK decided to return to the USA to take an offer as an Associate Professor at the Milling School he had recently graduated from. The mill his father had long dreamed of building was eventually sold to his long-time competitors Bjoelsen Mills.
The years of losing his father – who was also his best friend – and the family business in Norway had a profound impact on Christian Frederik. These events created an enormous drive for success within an already competitive man. He would, for the rest of his life, commit his efforts to the trade that his father had so passionately taught him and raised him in.