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Odin Stutrud

Posted 4/21/15 (Tue)

Odin Stutrud, 95 of Wahpeton, N.D., passed away Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Odin was born to Anna (Engum) and Marias Stutrud Nov. 21, 1919, on a homestead near Watford City, N.D. His first language was Norwegian. Odin was a remarkable husband, father, friend, mentor, and educator who touched many individuals. A modest man, rich in relationships, he was always ready with a wide smile and a firm hug. He died Feb. 5, 2015, at the Bay Area Medical Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The following guest editorial written by Odin for the McKenzie County Farmer was first published in 2007. His family thinks that his own words most accurately describe his journey on this earth:
The graduating class of 1937 didn’t have the benefit of a School-to-Work program, much less a Guidance Counselor or an Advisor. The only educational guidance I ever received was given to me in the front office of The McKenzie County Farmer. Don Moffitt, the editor/manager, said, “If you want to be a printer and linotype operator, you’ll have to go to school.” He had graduated from the State School of Science in Wahpeton, and didn’t know of another school of its kind in the nation.
Go to school! How would I have loved to do that! He could just as well said, “Fly to the moon.” I was 17 years old with no money and no prospect of ever seeing any. Born and raised on a farm 14 miles south of Watford City, I had learned all about the “Dirty Thirties” and the Depression. My parents’ homestead, part of which is now in the Roosevelt National Park, hadn’t returned the seed we’d planted for six consecutive years. Student loans weren’t available until 30 years later. Go to school? What I needed was a job!
After a frustrating few months of unemployment, I joined the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and was assigned to the Watford City Camp. There I was given the position of Assistant Educational Advisor. It was the greatest job I’ve ever had - getting to do the kind of work I had dreamed of so often. I served as secretary to the Educational Advisor (E. C. Flora, a civilian), but best of all, I was the editor of the camp newspaper. It was called The Badlander and was published monthly and printed at The Farmer. I was given one day to go to Watford City to sell advertising and another whole day to spend at the newspaper while they did the printing. What a great and enjoyable job! I still have a copy of every edition we printed during my tenure.
I was discharged from the CCC in the summer of 1939 and worked in the harvest fields and threshing that fall. When I counted up my wages and savings I had the grand sum of $300. I was rich! I packed all my belongings into a cardboard suitcase and hitch-hiked to Wahpeton. I graduated in the spring of 1941.
Naturally, the next step in my career was to answer Uncle Sam’s call to military duty. I served four years in the Army, 28 months overseas.
I married Hazel Carlson, a petite, blonde school teacher from South Dakota, during a ten-day furlough on July 31, 1944. We had two children, Christine and Mark.
Since that time, I’ve published weekly newspapers and served as Instructor and Department Chairman of the Graphic Arts Department at N.D. College of Science. In 1971, I was named Technical Teacher Educator/Coordinator for the State of North Dakota. I also held the position of Executive Director of The American Technical Education Association on a part-time basis.
I never forgot the wise words I received from Mr. Moffitt, “Go to school.” I completed my work for a B.S. degree at South Dakota State College, and earned my M.S. degree at the University of Wisconsin- Stout. There are also several hours of postgraduate work at Colorado State College. During my military hitch, I volunteered for Officers Candidate School where I graduated with a commission as a Second Lieutenant.
Thank you, McKenzie County Farmer, for giving me a good start in life.”
Odin was a member of Bethel Lutheran Church and active in several organizations including Sons of Norway, Hafner-Miller-Ross American Legion Post #20, Woody Keeble V.F.W. Post #4324, North Dakota State College of Science Alumni Association, and was a charter member of the ROMEO’s (Retired Old Men Eating Out) Port Aransas Texas Chapter.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Gladys and Annette; and wife, Hazel.
He is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Christine and John R. Tinker, Jr., Eleva, Wisc.; son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Susan Elias Stutrud, Saint Paul, Minn.; granddaughter and husband, Nissa and Lex Tinker-Sackett; five great grandchildren, Austen, Faith, Abram, Eleanor, and Jack; and one great-great grandchild, Dominic Tinker-Sackett, Eau Claire, Wisc.
He also leaves many nephews and nieces, including Charles Baker, Aransas Pass, Texas; Lee Baker and wife Nancy, Houston, Texas; Colin Artz and wife Connie, Glenburn, N.D., nephew Ardien Tandberg and wife Carolyn, Deering, N.D.; and niece, Gloria Tandberg Olson, Bismarck, N.D.
Odin cared deeply for his family members in Norway, including Ellse-Lill and Asbjørn Engum, and their children, Nina and Carl-Christian. Odin will be greatly missed by many other family members and friends.
Funeral services were held Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. at Bethel Lutheran Church, Wahpeton, N.D. Visitation was Friday, Feb. 13, from 5-7 pm all at Bethel Lutheran Church. Burial was held April 10, 2015, at 2 p.m. at the Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, S.D.
Memorials may be directed to The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, Bethel Lutheran Church, the Bagg Bonanza Farm, American Diabetes Association or the Chahinkapa Zoo. Online guestbook: www.frankfamilyfuneralhome.com