New Mexico Solar Energy Association



Monte Ogdahl

3/31/1948 to 9/9/2014 

     The New Mexico Solar Energy Association is sad to announce that Monte Ogdahl, the organization’s imme­diate past president, died on Tuesday, September 9, at the Veteran’s Hospital in Albuquerque after a long illness.

Always cheerful, Monte was tirelessly energetic in his advocacy of solar energy and electric vehicles. He had been a member of the organization since 1997 and served on the board since 2000 and as president from 2010 thru 2012.

Monte was especially committed to educating young people through the NMSEA Sun Chaser program and through solar model car races, which he volunteered to conduct at Solar Fiestas and APS annual competitions. For the past several years, Monte had been marketing kits to convert hybrid cars to electric vehicles.

Originally from Montana, Monte served as a combat veteran in Vietnam. He lived on top of Glorieta Mesa east of Santa Fe. He is survived by his long-term partner, Sandy Ward, and his sisters Beverly Axelsen and Mary Ogdahl.

Monte was lucid until the end, displaying his unrelenting spirit.  He was delighted to see a photo of his new great-nephew on the day of his death.



Click on a photo below to see a larger image with a caption.

14 photo(s) Updated on: 28 Sep 2014
  • Monte promoting his model cars at Solar Fiesta
  • Monte at work on Glorieta Mesa - '97
  • Monte and his cars
  • Monte working on Paul Lusk's E-Ranger
  • Monte with Marlene Brown's Upgraded EV
  • Monte with Marlene Brown June 2013
  • Monte with Marlene Brown June 2013
  • Monte at Taos Chapter Video Project Shoot
  • NMSEA 40TH Anniversary Celebration 11/2012
  • Santo Domingo Pueblo 4/2009
  • Solar Fiesta at Highland HS, Abq
  • SunChaser at Solar Fiesta 9/2002
  • SunChaser at Solar Fiesta 9/2002


NMSEA's Renewable New Mexico Video Series

was recorded in August of 2012.  An Interview with Monte is included in part 2 of Episode 4 - "Solar Entrepreneurs to Educators".  The RNM video series is included on NMSEA's YouTube Channel at

You can "jump" directly to Monte's episode by following this link:


Reaction to the News of Monte's Death


I just have word from Lisa Silva that Monte passed away early this evening. We'll follow with more detail, but please light a candle, say a prayer, or just salute the passing of a wonderful person and advocate.

And perhaps reach out to personally to our more immediate circle with the news.

Janet Bridgers




Janet and all,

Sad news indeed, thanks for sharing difficult news.

Monte's infectious passion and contributions gave boosts to many of us.

He is and will be missed.  

Peace to you, our friend.  

Julie Stephens




Yes, a good man is gone. May his memory be eternal.

Athena Christodoulou



What a shock last night to hear of Monte's death. So many memories of our times together-many years judging the science fair in Las Vegas and "solving " the world's problems on the drive to and fro-my selling him my beloved old Toyota station wagon when I bought my beloved Prius in 2001-his passionate descriptions of his many projects-I didn't always understand but felt his excitement for the future of solar. Well, I feel so fortunate today to have known him and he will live on in our memories. Does he have any family ? Will there be a memorial? I'll await further news.


Amy Bunting



I am so sorry to hear this.   Thank you for letting us know.

Jeannette Moore




So sorry to hear about Monte passing. Great guy and best solar advocate that NMSEA had!
So sad. I remember talking with him quite a while at the SF fiesta in the spring. He had lost quite a bit of weight. Perhaps the solar fiesta or some session be dedicated to his memory.

Carl Axness



God Bless you Monte for being a friend, advocate and educator.  You will be missed.

Ron Rioux, Abq Public Schools District Energy Conservation Coordinator



Wow.  Thanks for forwarding; I am saddened to hear about Monte’s passing this morning.  He was such and energetic and fantastic person; I’m so glad I got to work with him for a couple years on the board and learn from him. When will the services be? Hope all is well and thank you.

Robert  Nelson



I will miss his warm smile and watching him teach the children about solar and all things electric as they excitedly raced their solar cars around the race track he made for them.  I also thank him for all the advice and knowledge he has given me on electric vehicles which has opened my mind to many possibilities .  I find it hard to believe that Monte will simply “Rest in Peace”, so I will say “Happy Exploring, Inventing and Tinkering in whatever new dimension that your spirit has taken you”.

Odes Armijo-Caster, Co-Founder/Managing Partner,  Sacred Power




It’s hard to overestimate how much solar fun and knowledge 

Monte brought to innumerable people, kids and adults alike.

What a true teacher and gentle soul Monte was. 

Rest and Tinker in Peace indeed Monte. We are all indebted to you.

And best wishes to all of you at NMSEA. You were and are Monte's true family.


Professor Ben Luce
Associate Professor of Physics, Sustainability Studies
Department of Natural Sciences
Lyndon State College
Lyndonville, Vermont



Monte was a true pioneer. I never saw him without BIG hearted enthusiasm and a loving smile, sharing his passion, and giving it all away.  His teachings live on in a generation of "kids" who experienced his RC solar cars at numerous events. I know I learned from him. He was always sharing.

Good man, won't be forgotten.

Windy Dankoff,  [Founder, Dankoff Solar]




Hi All,

I really can't believe Monte is gone. I visited him at the VA and we talked shop. I was hoping he'd recover and was excited to hear he was off to hang with Gary and his family. Monte talked me into and helped me with putting lithium ion batteries in my GEM car. I'm now really glad we had that time together and the batteries are working great. He left his mark on all of us and his being (and star) will burn bright for a good long time.

Marlene Brown





Monte you will be missed. When I saw him at the VA a month or so ago he was still moving forward with his passion. I sensed his time was short and he was still busy. Our trips to the Mid-West Renewal Energy fair and all the car kits we sold was amazing. I know he had great fun teaching all the kids like me. May your Spirit soar.

Don Miller




This is a very sad milestone for NMSEA and many of us personally. Thanks to all who were there to support him.

Ron Herman




It has been an honor to be a part of Monte's solar family. He will be missed. Lots to say but I'll sum it up in a few pictures Matt, our son took many years ago. He did a wonderful photo essay on Monte and his cars.. The first picture is a favorite and it all hit home when I saw I and it put me over the edge. I assume there is still time for the Sunpaper and a notice will go out. Please use the picture any way appropriate. I have many more. If a memorial is planned, Matt and I can do a nice slide show.

Mark Chalom       [ASES Passive Solar Pioneer]




To all who knew Monte, 

l only briefly met Monte during our annual solar fiesta, and yet l felt his passionate radiance about everything Solar. I can imagine the loss you feel for all who knew and worked with him over the years. His spark must ignite us to further his legacy. 

Freed of suffering,

Monte will not be forgotten!  

Wendy Schumann




We lost a special soul. May he stay in our hearts.. Go in peace dear Monte.. Here is a picture that our son took. We would like to share as it says it all…           (photo at top of page)

Mark Chalom, Betty and Matt




I want to remember Monte with that big beautiful smile wearing his pith helmet with the cooling fan built in and racing his cars. 

His enthusiasm was most definitely catching. 

The idea of dedicating an NMSEA event to him is a great one. 

At the very least, a memorial car race for our buddy Monte.  He will most definitely be missed.

Jeannette Moore




That picture captures monte's mischievous elfin nature beautifully. Thank you for sending it out. 

Thanks to Gary's message a month or so ago about Monte not doing well, I called him and spoke with him.

Allan Sindelar

[Founder, Positive Energy Solar]




i just read the shocking and saddening message of Monti,s passing   

--  he was such a good person and so knowledgeable    --   ----   he 

was ever busy and ever helpful in many ways   ---   i will miss him 

dearly !     ------------   would you know if there is any kind of 

gathering/ service to pay my respect to him    ----   i would 

appreciate if you could let me know     .......    --- thank you !     

Marlene Fischer





Thank you for letting us know. Please offer our condolences to his family.  It sounds as if he will now suffer no longer and that is a good thing.  I know it is hard to lose someone who has been a close friend and colleague.  We can hope that Monte is now in a better place. I know that Gary did all he could to help Monte.

Holly & Steve Baer    [Zomeworks]




Thank you for sending this sad news and links to pictures.  The pictures of Monte teaching kids about solar energy using his toy electric cars are so inspiring.  He will truly live on in the hearts and minds of all of us whether we knew him or not, because he was a force for good in this world.
Gayle Simmons and Craig Wentz
NMSEA--Silver City Chapter




Thanks for all the wonderful messages and memories of Monte...and planning a gathering of friends for him.  On this end we are planning a Celebration of Life for Monte next June at our ranch in Eastern Montana for his many friends and relatives in this area.  His ashes will be spread at the ranch...our brother Tommy is also there.  We will keep all informed as that time gets closer and would love too see any of you that may want to make a trip to Montana.

Bev Ogdahl Axelsen   




I heard today that one of the most delightful, caring and giving people I know, Monte Ogdahl, passed today after a long bout with cancer. Monte had strong ideals and put his mind, heart and energy into making this world a better place. He always had a smile to give. Heaven better watch out...they'll be going solar before they know it with him there!

Rose Marie Kern



Hi Gary, I love reading all of the comments about the celebration for Monte.

Please share that Monte's sisters live in Montana, and that my life is in far away Idaho. 

I will have a small window of time October 6,7 & 8 in New Mexico. I will be driving so I can bring Monte's dog back with me. My job is holding me tight, plus I have pets and a disabled brother here. 

His time spent with you was very special. One thing he wanted was to get outside into the sun, the hospital just kept him trapped. He told me one day that he was at NMSEA central, Gary is the president. He had even envisioned himself "hobbling" around the fiesta this year.

NMSEA meant a lot to him & he loved you all, and I see he was loved too.

My heart is with you all and have a joyful celebration!

Love & Light, Sandy




Perhaps we and (NMSEA), should create an ambassador of solar energy award in honor of Monte Ogdahl. He was a true friend and will be missed greatly by many people. I remember every time I saw Monte he had an enthusiasm that convinced me that solar energy and related ideas are very important for the world as a whole.

Please post this on the on the memorial page for Monte.

Thank you Michael David Lipkan and Ivory Lipkan







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