Fulkerson - Stevenson Funeral Home It's all about saying goodbye. Springan - Stevenson Funeral Home
Fulkerson - Stevenson Funeral Home
Springan - Stevenson Funeral Home
It's all about saying goodbye.
Erling Duane Gronfur
December 12, 1929 - March 1, 2018

Residence: Williston, ND

Erling Duane Gronfur, 88, of Williston, ND, passed away surrounded by his family, Thursday morning, March 1, 2018 at Bethel Lutheran Home in Williston. He was born December 2, 1929 to Christian J. and Mina (Fosse) Gronfur on the family farm his father homesteaded in Brooklyn Township. He was the ninth of ten children.

Duane grew up on the family farm. He received his elementary education at Brooklyn School and graduated from Epping High School in 1950. Duane met the love of his life, Phyllis D. Johnson of rural Alamo. They were married October 3, 1953 at Wheelock Lutheran Church. They made their home on a farm south of the Gronfur farm, they referred to as East Seaton’s. They later moved to the Gronfur farm when Duane’s parents moved to Williston. He purchased the home farm in 1955. Duane and Phyllis moved to Williston in 1958.

While continuing to farm, Duane worked various jobs such as Sears and the Co-op market then went to work for KUMV- TV. During this time, he attended the University of North Dakota - Williston Center and also the Elkin’s Institute of Technology in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earning an Engineering Degree in television broadcasting.

Summers were kept busy as Duane worked full time ten miles west of Williston (KUMV-TV) and farmed twenty miles east of Williston while helping Phyllis at the family grocery, “Gateway Market” (1970-1973). Duane spent 17 years at KUMV-TV in the capacity of Engineer and Operator. He resigned in 1974 and returned to farming on a full time basis. In 1974, Duane and Phyllis purchased the Melvin and Alida Siverson’s home quarter, where they made their home.

Duane and Phyllis retired from farming and moved to Williston in May 1997. Duane had farmed for 50 years beginning in 1947. While farming, during the winter months, Duane and Phyllis shared their love of music traveling to nearby towns playing music for dances. Duane and Phyllis loved to travel. They made several trips to Norway, keeping in touch with cousins and extended family. They also made a trip with Festival 76 to Norway. They also traveled many places in the United States. They happened to be in Patrick Kennedy’s office in Washington, DC lobbying for the ND Farmers Union on September 11, 2001 when terrorists flew a plane in the Pentagon.

Duane was a member of the Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge #239, 70 year member of the Sons of Norway, Charter member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, District #2 Democrats. As a member of the Democratic Party, Duane once ran for a seat in the ND State Legislature. A close friend once told him, “Duane, you’re too honest to be a politician”. He also served on the policy and action Committee for the Williams County Farmers Union and ND Farmers Union. Duane also served on many boards, including; View Farmers Union Local, Brooklyn Township Board, Wheelock Cemetery Board, Williams County Historical Society as well as the Board of Directors for the Western Cooperative Credit Union where he served as secretary then as chairman of the board. As a member of the WCCU he was very active on the state and national level with credit unions. In 1983, Duane was elected to serve on the league Board of Directors. In February 2006, Duane was inducted into the North Dakota Credit Union Hall of Fame. At age 13, he first joined, what is now, Western Cooperative Credit Union in 1943 depositing $1.27 from the sale of a chicken from his 4-H project. The rest is history.
After Phyllis’ passing unexpectedly on November 28, 2012 Duane remained at home until entering Bethel Home in June 2013. As his health declined from Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia, Duane was so lucky to have two loving daughters that (one or the other, if not both) checked on him daily while in Bethel’s care. Dad, even when the days came where you couldn’t communicate with us, we laughed, smiled and sometimes shared tears. Thank you for your love, for teaching us about honestly and integrity. Thank you for teaching us to do our best and for being there when we needed advice. Thank you for teaching us about faith and being a good parent (role model). We’re trying dad, but your shoes are hard to fill. We’ll miss you Dad, but we know you and mom will be watching over us. We’ll do our best to make you proud. We love you Dad!

Duane leaves to mourn his passing his four children: Cheryl (Aldean) Landro, Ray, ND; Daryl (Diane) Gronfur, Bismarck, ND; Douglas Gronfur, Williston, ND and Kristi (Brett) Olson, Williston, ND. His eight grandchildren: Michael (Lorelei) Landro, Erika (Dustin Jost) Landro, Amy (Ira) Walter, Christopher Gronfur, Justin (Carmen) Gronfur, Shawn (Rachel Johnson) Olson, Alyssa Olson and Kinsi (Devan Maki) Olson. His ten great grandchildren: Parker and Hannah Landro, Madison and Ashley Walter, Hunter Jost, Brent, Anna and Daniel Gronfur, Mercedes and Kailyn Olson; one brother, Cliff Gronfur, Williston, ND; sister-in-law, Arlene (Harold) Tvedt; a special Cousin, Jarle (Jenny) Gronfur, Forde, Norway and special lifelong friends, Larry and Dorinne Haug, as well as, many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Phyllis; his parents, Christ and Mina Gronfur; mother and father-in-law, Erling and Cora Johnson; his sisters, Alida (Melvin), Olga (Helmer), Esther (Edwin), Myrtle (Osmund), Clara M. and infant twin sisters, Clara and Mildred; a brother, Jorgen and brother-in-law, Curtis; nieces and nephews, Dorlin, Bruce, Valerie, Erling C., Roxanne and Charlene.

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Judy (Christensen) & Ken Anderson (Spokane Valley, WA)
Mar 1, 2018
A very long time ago, I worked with Duane at KUMV-TV. He was always so nice to this very young girl. Duane was also my neighbor on 17th Street. He, Phyllis, & their children were wonderful neighbors. Our memories & our thoughts & prayers are with you all. He lived a good life & will be greatly missed.
JoAnne and Jerry Christensen
Mar 1, 2018
We have many treasured memories of Duane and Phyllis in the years gone by. Duane and I were fellow members of the Credit Union Board for a time and I always admired his honesty, dedication and enthusiasm . Now he is at peace. God bless his memory.
Ron and Carole Haug (Epping, North Dakota )
Mar 1, 2018
So very sorry for your loss!! You have so many great memories and also knowing he's reunited with the love of his life once again!! RIP Duane!
Rod and Linda Tofte (Williston , Nd )
Mar 3, 2018
Sorry to hear about Duanes passing, you are in our thoughts and prayers
Dennis & Cathy Stromme
Mar 4, 2018
So sorry for your loss. We have many memories of both Duane and Phyllis. May god be with you in this time of sorrow.
Julie & Steve Treib Family (Williston, ND)
Mar 5, 2018
Dear Cheryl and families,
Steve and I are deeply saddened with the news about your Dad. May you feel the Lord's Presence while you mourn. Treasure the beautiful memories from the past and keep them alive by sharing with others.
May God watch over you and bless you!
Deb Hayden (Bismarck, ND)
Mar 6, 2018
I was so sad to see that Duane had passed. He was such a kind, respectful heart when he was on the Board of Directors of the ND Credit Union League so many years ago. All of us always enjoyed seeing Duane and Phyllis at meetings, conventions, and their many visits to the office in Bismarck. They are together again!
Jeanne Smith Knudsvig
Mar 6, 2018
My prayers & thoughts are with all of so sorry for the loss of your Dad. May you keep his memories close to your hearts to help you through the days ahead...
Sincere Sympathy,
Jeanne
Sharon Carnell (Colorado Springs, CO)
Mar 6, 2018
Sorry for your loss, have known Duane for many years, he was a good man. He will be missed by many. You have taken very good care of him & now he is ready for peace. God's Blessings to the family. RIP Duane.
De & Glen Clark (Williston, ND)
Mar 6, 2018
Our sincere sympathies to the families of Duane. May you find peace and comfort in his memory. RIP Duane :(
Rosemary Turcotte (Trenton, ND)
Mar 6, 2018
Cheryl, Aldean , Kristi & Brett. my deepest & dearest sympathies to you and the whole family.
Donna Rockneh (Williston, , ND)
Mar 6, 2018
I am so sorry to hear of Duane's passing. I knew both Phyliss and Duane almost all my life. We enjoyed some good family gatherings together and also spent some time with them eating or just visiting. Phyliss' death was do sudden, but I believe Duane had a good life his last years. His family was there with him so much. It is hard to lose a loved one. Thinking of all the family at this sad time. Keep the memories. Our prayers with all of you.
Steve and Bernadette Perdue
Mar 6, 2018
We send our condolences to your family. We have many fond memories of both Duane and Phyllis, may they be reunited in Gods heavenly home.
Gail Pederson (Blacktail Dam, ND)
Mar 6, 2018
Cheryl and Duane, I did not know your Dad but I would say you learned your Dad's kindness and way. So sorry for your loss.
Donna Sieg (Williston )
Mar 7, 2018
So sorry for your loss. Erling had a way to make people smile and feel good about themselves. Prayers for you all.
Jeanette and Russell Umback (Lemmon, SD)
Mar 9, 2018
Our sympathy goes out to the family of Duane. He and Phyllis were some of the first people who befriended Jeanette when she moved to Williston with her son Kent in 1960. They were good people to know and Jeanette was very grateful for their friendship. We know their family will greatly miss them.
David & Regina Lalim (Tioga, North Dakota)
Mar 9, 2018
Cheryl & family
We are sorry for your loss of your dad. Our prayers are with you in this time of sorrow.
CHI Hospice
Jason & Sammi
Kristi, Brett & Family & Your Friends at Continental Resources
Moose Lodge #239
Joan Bekkedahl & the Bekkedahl Families
Your Friends at Plant Perfect
Tres
Thad & Terri Olson & Family
Cliff
Leona & Family, Kelly & Family, Erick & Family. The Family of Roxie
Larry & Brails
Jarle & Jenny, Jane & Andre, Terje & Monica, Kato & Mona & Families
Western Cooperative Credit Union
Darwin & Debra Ytterdahl
Gene & Shirley Chamness
Diane Laroque
Michael & Brenda Moe & Justin, Bobbie & Jami Tjelde
Staff at Burke Central School
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