Gerald “Jerry” Duane Bjelde, 88, of Moorhead, MN passed away peacefully on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, in his home.
Jerry was born on June 21, 1934 in Fargo, ND to Clem and Edith (Nielsen) Bjelde. He grew up in Kindred, ND and graduated from Kindred High School in 1952. He went on to attend Concordia College, Moorhead and after serving two years in the US Navy, he returned to campus and received his bachelor’s degree in 1958 (actual Class of ‘56).
While at Concordia Jerry met fellow students that would be become life-long friends. One evening, he gave a ride to a particular young lady, Beverly Meyer. She captured his heart and soon after graduation they began their ride through life together for 60 years. They welcomed a daughter Kim in 1960 and a son Scott in 1963.
Jerry enjoyed a prolific working career, beginning in sales and then back to Concordia having been named as the college’s first Director of Alumni Relations. He was a consummate fund raiser and continued on with positions in development with Augsburg College, William Mitchell College of Law, and the University of MN Medical Foundation. He spent the last 10 years of his professional career with The Good Samaritan Society in Sioux Falls, SD. Following retirement in 1999 he and Beverly moved back to the Fargo/Moorhead area.
Jerry and Bev were true Cobbers at heart and spent their next several years attending all things Concordia including football games, alumni functions, C-400 dinners and golf outings. A special highlight for them was always the annual Christmas Concert. The Concordia legacy continued with his children and other family members becoming an integral part of the Cobber community. Soli Deo Gloria.
To say he was an active member of The Lutheran Church of the Good Shephard is an understatement. From fundraising to breaking ground for the new church facility, to serving on church council, to attending the needs of the columbarium, he could be seen at church throughout the week, always ready for a cup of coffee and a story to share. When not at church he enjoyed spending time with his friends and neighbors at Farmstead where he was a resident for many years bringing cookies to newcomers and playing cards daily. He loved to golf and was teeing off at Village Green just days before he passed away.
The Bjeldes loved to travel and spent family vacations throughout the US and Norway. In later years, Bev and Jerry traveled with dear friends to Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland. He visited Norway again just this year spending treasured time with family.
His dear wife Beverly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the late 90’s and Jerry took on the role of caregiver. Through his love and patience he ensured that Bev was able to continue to attend church, visit children and grandchildren, and spend many hours visiting with friends. She remained at home with him until just before her death in 2018.
Jerry is survived by his children, Kim (Curt) Swanson of Rogers MN, Scott (Sarah) Bjelde of Eden Prairie, MN and grandchildren, Jason Swanson, Melissa Swanson, Christian Swanson, Betsy (Aaron)Ostertag, and Katie Bjelde.
He was preceded in death by his parents Clem and Edith, wife Beverly, and brother, Jim.
Memorials are preferred to Concordia College or The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.
A visitation will be held on Friday, October 28, 2022, from 4-6 PM with a prayer service beginning at 6:00 at Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead, MN.
A Celebration of Life will be Saturday, October 29, 2022, at 11:00 AM with a visitation one hour before the service at The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Moorhead, MN. A livestream of the service, along with a video tribute and online guestbook will be available at www.wrightfuneral.com.