Sigurd R. Wathne
“Sig” passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Santa Barbara, California, on the evening of September 7, 2020.
A retired Electrical Engineer, Sig was known as a family man, community volunteer and co-founder of Sikama International, Inc., which he and his son Kail started in the family’s garage in 1982. Everyone liked to ask Sig about how they chose the name Sikama, which sounds like it has Japanese origins but it does not. He would proudly inform them that the name resulted from a clever combination of two letters taken from each of the three names of Sig, Kail and Mariellen (his wife), or Si-Ka-Ma.
Sig came from a strong Norwegian heritage of both parents but was actually born in Los Angeles, CA and thus had dual citizenship. His family moved back to Mandal in Norway in 1933 during the Great Depression in order to find an easier life with family relatives. He survived the Nazi occupation of Norway during WWII, and as a young lad got his start in radio operation and served in the Norwegian Merchant Marines as a radio officer. He eventually made his way back to the states where he later met and married Mariellen— the love of his life— in California, with his career advancing in the direction of the radio electronics industry. Later they settled in Santa Barbara and together raised 2 boys, Kail and Jarl, while Sig worked with various companies in the industry, eventually breaking out on his own with Kail.
After enjoying the challenges of running a family business in the hybrid microelectronics industry for 32 years, serving as the President and CEO of Sikama, Sig officially retired in 2014 at the age of 88. Sig was also a Rotarian of 38 years and served on various Rotary, Elks, and Water boards throughout the community. He was a long time Ham Radio Operator and member of the local Amateur Radio Club. His grandsons have fond memories of their Grandpa Sig helping them build crystal radio sets and also how he magically transformed into being the perfect Santa Claus during Christmas time— when he volunteered to suit up in red and white with his dashing white hair and beard.
Sig thoroughly enjoyed his family, participating in the Boy Scouts and the Seashells with his sons and later hosting many barbeques and pool parties not only for his local grandchildren, but visiting nieces and nephews from Norway with their families. He was immensely proud of starting a business with Kail and with Jarl becoming a ENT doctor with a successful medical practice back east. He went on to write a book he called “Sig” and dedicated it to Mariellen, in celebration of their life together and 60 years of marriage.
Sig is preceded in death by Mariellen (2010). He is survived by his two sons Kail (Lori) Wathne and Dr. Jarl Wathne and grandsons Reese, Curtis and Garrett Wathne; and his brother Carl in Norway along with his many nieces and nephews and their children. Because of Covid-19, no memorial is planned at this time.