Kenneth L. Evenstad, 77
Kenneth L Evenstad, founder of Upsher-Smith Laboratories and co-founder of Oomaine Serene
Vineyards & Winery, passed away at his home in Oregon, October 21, 2020, having fought
chronic pulmonary issues for the pa.st five years. He was 77 years of age.
Ken was born July 9, 1943 in Baudette Minnesota to Ole and Sophie (Mickelson} Evenstad.
After graduating from Baudette High School he went on to school earning his Bachelor of
Pharmacy degree from the Univel’Sity of Minnesota in 1967. In April of the previous year he
met the love of his IITe, Grace, on a blind date. They were married seven months later and have
be-en partners in life, business, and philanthropy ever since.
In 1969 Ken’s interest in chemistry and Pharmacy drove him to revive an aged company in the
Minneapolis area, Upsher-Smith. In the following 30 years he bootstrapped, led, and managed
the fledgling company into a successful generic pharmaceutical business. Ken was the inventor
of numerous innovations and was awarded scores of patents for life.saving dru,gs helping
millions while creating thousands of high paying American jobs. Ken was r«ognized by Ernst &
Young as their Entrepreneur of the Vear in 2001. In 2012, Ken was awardQd the University of
Minnesota’s “‘Outstanding Achievement Award/’ the highest award given to a graduate.
Ken and Grace’s interest in wine began in the mid 1970’s. Their passion for Pinet Noir and their
adventurous spirit and confidence in their vision drove them to purchase 42 acres of land in the
Dundee Hills of Oregon, to be planted to Pinet Nair, establishing Domaine Serene in 1989. Their
mission was to make the best Pi not Nair in the world, and they became pioneers of the luxury
Oregon wine industry. Oomainc Serena’s land ha.snow grown to over 1,000 acres from its
original 42, including 300 planted to vine, producing 37 different Demaine Serene wines. Ken
and Grace bac.ame the fir.st Oregon vinters to purchase and produce wines in Burgundy, France.
Their vision was first achieved with the award of “Best Pi not Noir” with the 2010 vintage by
Wine Spectator followed by many other awards making Oomaine Serc-ne the most awarded
winery in the world.
Ken leaves Ms wife of 53 years and true partner in everything, Grace, daughter Serene, son
Mark, and six grandchildren, Miles, Henry, Sophie, Gra-ce, Gunnar and Tor. He-is also survived
by brother Glenn [Su2ie) of Chandler, N., and sister Arlene (Bud) Hansen of Baudette, 10 nieces
and nephews and hundreds of friends. Ken was preceded in death by his parents, stepfather
Emil Swanson, and younger brother Ge,ald.