Otto Gustav Olsgaard, a man of faith, left this earthly life on May, 5, 2021, at the age of 96, wrapped in the arms of his Heavenly Father, loved and cherished by his family and many friends.
Otto was born on May 27, 1924, on the home farm south of Moorhead, Minnesota, to Jens Lauritz and Esther Margaret (Gustafson) Olsgaard. He was baptized and confirmed at Hoff Lutheran Church in Rustad, Minnesota, attended grade school in Rustad, and graduated from Comstock High School in 1942. A veteran of World War II, he served in the Pacific Theater. Upon his return from service, he was employed by the Fargo National Bank, where he met and fell in love with LaVonne Margaret Rinerson. The two were happily and devotedly married for 63 years, until LaVonne’s death in 2011. Otto and LaVonne moved to West Fargo, North Dakota in 1949, when Otto was transferred to the West Fargo State Bank, where he worked until retiring in 1984. Never one for idleness, Otto dedicated his life to helping his community and his church through service and ministry. He gave his time and talents to many causes throughout his life, including serving on the boards of Bethany Nursing Home, West Fargo State Bank, West Fargo Insurance Agency, West Fargo School Board, West Fargo Park Board, West Fargo Chamber of Commerce, and West Fargo Urban Renewal Board, oftentimes serving multiple terms. He was Division Chair for United Way Cass-Clay, on the Executive Committee of the Veterans Memorial Arena, and a charter member of the West Fargo Lions Club, organized in 1953. Otto was awarded the Golden Book of Deeds by the West Fargo Exchange Club and the Melvin Jones Award by Lions International. He was a lifetime member of Lions International and of the West Fargo VFW Post 7564. Upon his retirement, Otto volunteered for several years as a Mission Builder for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and helped build churches in North Dakota, South Dakota, and South Carolina. Otto was a generous and active member of Faith Journey Lutheran Church, West Fargo, for over 70 years, singing in the choir and for many weddings and funerals, serving as church treasurer multiple times, and teaching 7th grade Sunday School and adult Bible studies for many years. In his later years, his lifelong passion for woodworking led him to form “The King’s Men,” a volunteer group to perform repairs and make furniture for his church.
Otto was an exceptional father, providing unwavering support and love to his five children, all of whom survive him: JayNee Nutting (Mark), DeAnn Benesh, Mary Jondahl (Jim), David Olsgaard (Marina), and Rebecca Pearce (Curt). He is also survived by a large and loving family: brother Richard Olsgaard, sisters Ida Flaaten and Hazel Iwen; brothers-in-law Lochiel Rinerson (Greta) and Harry Kakutani, sisters-in-law Anne Olsgaard, Norma Olsgaard, and Mary Olsgaard; grandchildren Ian (Danielle), Elizabeth, and Christina Nutting, Nick (Mariah) Benesh, Justin (Shelby) Jondahl, Jami (Ryan) Hoffner, Jamie (Chad) VanZandt, Simeon (Julia), Jonathon, and Naomi Olsgaard, and Harrison Pearce; great-grandchildren Royce and Jocelyn Hoffner, Lexi Alley, Cassidy Benesh, Lily VanZandt, and Diana Olsgaard; and numerous nieces and nephews from both the Olsgaard and Rinerson sides.
Otto was greeted in heaven by his wife, LaVonne; his parents, Jens and Esther; his brothers Oscar, Selmer, Raymond, Maurice, Peter, Harold, Theodore, Charles, and James; his sisters Elna, Grace, Margaret, and Shirley; and his beloved grandson, Jacob Benesh.
Otto made true and lasting friendships wherever he went. He never asked anyone to do anything he wouldn’t be willing to do himself, and he left this earth a better place through his love, empathy, and example. The family would like to thank Ethos Hospice, Eventide at Sheyenne Crossings, Bethany Nursing Home on 42nd, Willie, Sharon, and Melanie Schacher, and his Faith Journey Lutheran Church Family, whom he loved very much.
Visitation: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM at West Funeral Home, West Fargo.
Memorial Service: Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Faith Journey Lutheran Church (Otto’s 97th birthday) with visitation at 10:00.
Burial: Private family burial at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the two organizations closest to his heart in his later years: the adult choir and the King’s Men at Faith Journey Lutheran Church. Checks should be made to Faith Journey Lutheran Church with “choir” or “King’s Men” in the memo line.
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center
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