Marvin Ellsworth Gilbertson


Marvin Ellsworth Gilbertson, 93, formerly of Willmar, died Tuesday, December 29th at Rosewood on Broadway in Fargo, ND. He ended his struggle with Parkinson’s with his wife holding his hand and a daughter next to him. Services will be held at a later date when it’s safe for family and friends to gather. Funeral arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar.

Marvin was born March 11, 1927, in rural Swift County, MN, near Kerkhoven. He was the 3rd of 5 children of Anton and Laura (Johnson) Gilbertson. He had fond childhood memories of growing up in the Sibley Park/Lake Andrew area. There he attended a one room, rural school for 8 years until his family moved to New London where he graduated in 1944. Shortly after graduation, he entered the army and proudly served his country as a cook having trained at the Cook and Baker School in Fort Riley, Kansas. After the service, Marvin returned to school and earned a business administration degree from Globe Business College in St. Paul, MN, in 1948.

On November 25, 1948, he was united in marriage to the love of his life, Marian Berglund, at Trinity Lutheran Church in New London. After working at a variety of jobs to support his growing family, he was employed by Great Northern/Burlington Northern Railroad as a bookkeeper. He

rode his bike or walked to work and back and home for lunch, almost every day, no matter the weather, for over 30 years before retiring in 1988.

He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Faith. He and his family were active members of Calvary Lutheran Church in Willmar where he had been a deacon, usher, Cub Scout leader, Bible study participant, and was involved in many other volunteer activities. Marvin was a member of American Legion Post #167, he and Marian delivered Meals on Wheels, and he put his business skills to use helping with the Senior Dining program.

Marvin’s commitment to his family was the most important part of his life. As partners, he and Marian raised and educated their four children, passing on his love of the outdoors and nature -- camping, hunting, fishing, and gardening. He had a passion for “trains, planes, and automobiles” and enduring interests in history, reading, working on all kinds of puzzles, music, and drawing (a skill he used from childhood and on, which was a source of so much pride and enjoyment for his family.)

Marvin was a meticulous “do-it-yourselfer,” long before it was cool to DIY. He was a problem solver, adapting what was on hand for what was needed. Whether it was electrical, carpentry, mechanical, construction, or plumbing, he was willing to tackle a problem that needed fixing or that needed to be redone to make it done right. Together, Marvin and Marian visited all of Minnesota’s state parks and traveled to and explored all 50 states. His quiet humor will be missed by all who knew him. He will always be remembered by his family and friends for his sweet smile, the sparkle in his eyes, the peppering of Norwegian in his speech, and the strong bond of love he shared with Marian.

Marvin was survived by, and will be forever missed by, his wife, Marian, of 72 years (wow); children: David (and Elizabeth) Gilbertson of Montevideo, Ann (and Terry) Burrell of Moorhead, Craig (and Marianne) Gilbertson of Walker, and Beth Gilbertson of Moorhead; grandchildren: Britt (and Michael Fasching) Gilbertson, Erik Gilbertson, Zachary (and Amber) Gilbertson, Emily (and Ian) Huxford, Hannah Burrell and Corinne Burrell; six great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Also surviving are his sister, Naomi Olson of New London and sister-in-law, Donna Gilbertson of Willmar.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his grandson, Noah Gilbertson, and siblings: Wallace, Elna, and Elard.

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