Gordon Strand, 66, of Williston, passed away on Saturday afternoon, December 16, 2017, surrounded by his family, at the Trinity Medical Center in Minot.
Gordon Archie Strand was born to Archie and Effie (Halvorson) Strand in Williston, ND, on September 8, 1951. He attended the Hagbo Elementary School at Bonetraill, ND, then Hanks Junior High School, and graduated with the class of 1969 from Grenora High School. He began his post-secondary education at the Williston UND Center, then completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Minot State College in May 1973. He began his teaching career in the Williston Public School System at Webster School and then moved to Rickard School for two years. After the unexpected death of his father, a young Gordon assumed the responsibilities of the farm.
Gordon was raised in the Lutheran faith, having been baptized at the St. Petri Church at Bonetraill, ND, confirmed in St. Olaf Church in Grenora, ND, and a life-long member of First Lutheran Church in Williston, ND. It was important to him that he and his family were active church members.
Gordon was united in marriage to Charlene Tofte on December 27, 1974, at First Lutheran Church in Williston, ND. To this union, three children were born - Jeffrey, Brenda, and Kayla. Gordon was very present and active in the lives of his children and grandchildren. He was extremely proud of them and their accomplishments. During the winter months, he was often his grandchildren’s babysitter, chauffeur, and teacher as he helped them with their homework.
Gordon cherished his time, after surviving a mini-stroke almost 8 years ago; he awoke every morning and was grateful for one more day. He was a man with an agenda. Even after being diagnosed in April with cancer, he worked every day throughout this last farming season, from seeding until the harvest, rock picking, and hauling the final loads of grain. He was grateful for the chance to work with his son, Jeffrey, and grandson, Channing, to achieve his dream for the Strand Farm.
Gordon was a great mentor to many in all aspects of life. He had a realm of friends, young and old, he knew everyone from Westby to Williston. He was generous with his time and gifts to make life easier for everyone. Though he only worked in education for three years, he always saw the world through a teacher’s eyes, and enjoyed helping others learn. He was known for his sense of humor and fun, his one-liners (he thought were funny and usually were clever), and his “Doing the right thing attitude,” which he learned from observing his parents. He not only treasured his time with family and friends, he also has many “Treasures” that he accumulated over the years.
He enjoyed participating, be it softball or a bowling team, First Lutheran Church Lutefisk dinner, the morning Breakfast Club, the stops at the elevator or implement dealers, or his pride and joy project, “Steeple on the Prairie,” at St. Petri. He will be missed by all of these groups or “my buddies” as he called them.
Surviving Gordon are his wife of almost 43 years, Charlene; son, Jeffrey and his wife, Nicci Strand, and their children, Channing, Chesni, and Chyler; daughter, Brenda and her husband, Ben Schafer, and their children, Benett, Brekkyn, and Bowen; and daughter, Kayla and her husband, Brian Christopherson and their children, Brett, Corey, Jayse, and Halle; sister, Alvina Skogen and her husband, Gary; father and mother-in-law, Harold and Charlotte Tofte; brothers-in-law, Les (Connie) Tofte and Cal (LeAnn) Tofte; nieces and nephews: Christian (Nancy) Skogen, John (Angela) Skogen, Lindsay (Keith) Rath, Brandon (Steph) Tofte, JoAnn Messina, Danielle (Willie) Terrett, Jenny Dunbar, and Kalliann (Jason) Arnson; cousins: Keith Grodt, Robert Strand, Jeanine Armey, Gerald Strand, and Carol Sue Bartley.
Preceding Gordon in death were his parents, Archie and Effie Strand; cousin, Charlotte Pfeifer, and his aunts and uncles.