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Martin O. Ronning, 95, of Aberdeen, and formerly of Columbia, SD, passed away Friday, August 9, 2019, at Bethesda Home of Aberdeen.
Mass of Christian burial will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, August 14, 2019, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 409 2nd Avenue NE, Aberdeen, with Father Andy Thuringer as celebrant.
Burial follows at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Aberdeen.
Schriver’s Memorial Mortuary and Crematory, 414 5th Avenue NW, Aberdeen, is in charge of arrangements. Family and friends may sign Martin’s online guestbook and also view his service via the live stream link at www.schriversmemorial.com.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, at Schriver’s Memorial Fellowship Center, with a liturgical wake service beginning at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will continue one hour before Mass at the church on Wednesday.
Martin O. Ronning was born on March 21, 1924, to Sigurd and Gurina (Graslie) Ronning in Red Elm, SD. He was the eldest of six children. Martin attended country school in Red Elm, until his family moved to the Forbes, ND area around 1939. Martin had to leave high school to help support his family when his father got sick. He finished school on his own at home and later attended vocational school in Ellendale for two winters.
In 1951, Martin married Patricia Palmer in Aberdeen SD. They moved to two different farms before settling into a new home five miles east of Barnard SD. Martin and Patty raised nine children and three foster children. Their second eldest, Gary, passed away tragically at 11 months old. He and his sons farmed several acres of corn, wheat, barley, alfalfa, beans, and other crops, along with various livestock; but most of all he enjoyed the cattle. Later in life, Martin and Patty split time between their farm, their condominium in Aberdeen, and Apache Junction, AZ during the winter months. Patty passed away January 9, 1997.
Martin cared deeply about his family and community. He served on many farmers’ organizations, local boards, and groups including: 34 years on the local school board, the Brown County School Board, the township board, Sacred Heart Church in Westport, and he was instrumental in developing the vocational school in Oakes, ND for the North Brown School District and for the Hub Area Vocational School, where he served as a board member.
Martin was happiest being outdoors, working his land, and taking care of his cattle. He never lost touch with his Norwegian heritage and family. He took several trips back to Norway with his father and his children. Throughout his life he continued to speak fluent Norwegian, including the Norwegian dinner prayer. He was always excited when his relatives from Norway came to visit. He even took a few days off from work!
After moving to Aberdeen, Martin continued to drive to the farm daily. After Patty’s death, Martin met Angie Usselman and they remained special friends until they both entered nursing homes. Together they shared many memories with the families.
Up until a few days before his passing, Martin still played games and ball with his great-grandchildren which brought him great joy. He always had a huge smile on his face. Martin died peacefully at Bethesda nursing home surrounded by family. He will always be remembered lovingly as our stubborn Norwegian Dad & Grandpa.
Martin is preceded in death by his wife Patty; sons, Gary and Mark Ronning; parents, Sigurd and Gurina; sisters, Sylvia Smith and Gladys Humphries Elsen; two foster children, Darlene Wylie and Hilda Haggerty; and foster son-in-law, Doug Roettele
Martin is survived by his children: Marcia Paul, Janet (Monte) Riggs, Joyce (Todd) Voeller, Karen (Ed) Howell, Jim Ronning, Jeanie (Lance) Styer, and Brad Ronning; his foster daughter, Sheila Roettele; foster sons-in-law, Eldon Wylie and Ike Haggerty; siblings: Mildred Armour, Helen Binegar, and Ardel (Ila) Ronning; his brother-in-law, Merlon Elsen; his special friend, Angie Usselman; 24 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Martin’s family, who will in turn make a donation to Storybook Land in Aberdeen and the Frederick Fire Department in Martin and Patty’s memory.