Richard Norvold

On Tuesday morning, December 21, 2021, Richard Gustav Norvold, age 88, of Bemidji, went to be with his Lord and Savior, passing away from heart failure at the Sanford Bemidji Hospital. A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 8, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. at the Evangelical Free Church of Bemidji under the supervision of Olson Schwartz Funeral Home, with visitation an hour prior to the service. Inurnment will be at a later date in the Bagley City Cemetery. Richard was born January 3, 1933, in the Bagley Hospital, to Esther and Reinhart Norvold. The family later moved to Bemidji, where Richard graduated from Bemidji High School. It was during this time that Richard’s passion for all things cars – old, new, used, and everything in between – became evident, and it was also when he met his lifetime sweetheart of 67 years, Ruth Lena Powers. They were married on June 12, 1954, in Bemidji. Throughout their marriage, and while raising their own three children, they welcomed several different individuals into their home for extended periods of time, mentoring and encouraging them. They believed that as long as they had an extra bedroom, they should fill it with someone who needed a place to stay. Richard’s long career in the car sales industry began in Bemidji at Saar Motors as a tow truck driver, mechanic, and then salesman. After marrying Ruth, the couple moved to Grand Forks ND, where Richard worked for Rydell Chevrolet and received many awards for being the top salesman. He even won a trip to Morocco where he and Ruth enjoyed riding on camels! He then managed a dealership for Rydell’s in Langdon ND for 3 years, before moving to Crookston and purchasing a dealership of his own. Unfortunately, the 70’s were not kind to the automotive industry, and Richard ended up moving the family to Bemidji in 1974, where he enjoyed a time at Dave Walters and Bob Lowth Ford, and he also sold quality wood stoves for a period of time. Eventually, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to open his own used car lot, Norvold Motors, initially located where Dunn Bros is now. The business relocated a few times and eventually operated alongside Aunt Ellie’s Attic on Hwy 71 South. Many who knew Richard would often stop by his little office and enjoy a cup of coffee and a good chat, and if they weren’t careful, might even find themselves driving away in a new (used) car! Richard had the privilege of being featured in the Bemidji Pioneer a couple of years back, and in that interview, when asked about his retirement plans, he said he thought he’d maybe retire when he was 92! As often happens, the Lord had other plans for Richard, but he enjoyed selling cars and going to work every day until just a few days before his Homegoing. A faithful and longtime member of the Evangelical Free Church of Bemidji, Richard served at various times on the Elder Board and the Board of Trustees, and he ushered or greeted most of his life. He also served for many years as a Board Member with Youth for Christ. Many in the Bemidji area and elsewhere will deeply miss Richard and remember him for his friendly smile, positive attitude, perseverance, his strong Christian faith, and of course, his passion for cars! Richard is survived by his wife, Ruth; his three children – Carol (Brad) Reuter of Stillwater MN, Steven (Pat) Norvold and Dan (Stacy) Norvold, both of Bemidji; seven grandchildren – Justin (fiancé Nicole Forcier-Gelbman) Reuter, Steven (Caitlin) Reuter, Emma (Cody) Reams, Jarrod (Sarah) Norvold, Jason Norvold, Lindsey (fiancé Zach Vail) Norvold, Kyle (Chelsey) Norvold; 8 great-grandchildren; and four sisters, all of Bemidji – Elaine Lauderbaugh, Mavis Lundquist, Marion (Dale) Makey, and Linda McGuirk. Richard was also grateful for and had many laughs with his longtime friends – coffee buddy Gene Lund, and business partner Ted Smith.


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