Hartvik Palmer Garsjo, 93, passed away peacefully of natural causes on March 26, 2014, at Prairie Ridge Village in Glasgow.
He was born on April 6, 1920, to North Valley County homesteaders, Adolf and Martha Garsjo. His birthplace was the railroad section foreman's house in Nashua. He was reared with seven other siblings, Marvin, Dagny, Alvhild, Helga, Alfred, Ernest, and Victor. While growing up, he attended country schools at Harding (Tomato Can) and Grain.
At Nashua High School, he was twice selected to the all-state football team and in 1939 he was a state wrestling champion. His sports trophies were lost in their house fire in 1965. His younger children were unaware of his sports accomplishments until discovering them in Nashua yearbooks. Hartvik was offered a full wrestling scholarship to University of Iowa, but he chose to follow his passion to be a farmer; a decision he never regretted.
He married Agnes Buen on Oct. 19, 1941. They were blessed with eight children. He and Agnes had known each other all of their lives - their parents' homesteads were 3½ miles apart. They began their married lives by living and working on his parents' homestead. They were avid card players and loved to dance in various communities.
In 1948, he and Agnes purchased the Zick farm 7 miles north of Nashua. The house had wind charger electricity (like a car battery system), and they used oil-burning heaters and a cook stove for heat and kerosene lamps for light. They built a new house in 1956, complete with indoor plumbing. While the farm was in the Soil Bank in the late '50s to early '60s, he worked as the meat cutter at the Nashua Farmers Union Market.
He was a farmer/rancher who had a love for children, cattle and horses. At 55, he became certified in Artificial Insemination and provided that service for other area ranchers as well. He inseminated his Holstein milk cow with a Maine Anjou, resulting in his "pet" steer, Tiny, who weighed 2,750 pounds and stood over 6 feet at the shoulder.
He retired from farming in 1989. As a new hobby, he started to increase his horse herd and remained on his farm until age 90½. Shortly after, he moved to Prairie Ridge Village in Glasgow.
He was a very strong man physically and emotionally. He was also strong in his convictions for equal opportunity and an advocate for education. He spearheaded the Valley County drive for anyone one month to 40 years of age to receive the polio vaccine, a movement that spread across Montana. He used the same fortitude to encourage integrated special education in the Nashua School system, which included students from surrounding communities.
In his lifetime, he served on the boards, councils and committees of Bethel Lutheran Church of Grain, Farmers Union Oil, Farmers Union Market, Nashua PTA, 4-H, Valley County Democrats, Sons of Norway, and was an original owner in the Whittmayer Grazing Association. At the time of his death, he was the last surviving charter member of the Nashua Lion's Club where he received the Melvin Jones Fellow award for dedicated humanitarian services.
He made three trips to Norway where he met and began long relationships with his Norwegian relatives. During his 2007 trip, he saw the house where his mother was born 100 years earlier. This house is now the Proysenstua Museum, which is named after a famous Norwegian poet. During an earlier trip, he learned about a museum in Hurdal that honored his paternal grandfather's "tall tales." This explains why Hartvik came by his humor honestly. Asked just days before his passing how he was doing, he answered with his sly grin, "Well, I won't be taking on any big jobs."
A humble, quiet and inspirational man, he became a father figure and uncle to many whose parents had gone on. We all will miss his knowledge, history of family and community. We all will remember his beautiful smile, his acts of kindness, and the bright twinkle in his eyes. He and Agnes were honored to be Godparents to many family and neighboring children.
Pallbearers were his son-in-law, Earl Bartram, his daughter-in-law, Sue Garsjo, and grandsons Vince Jerome, Donald Garsjo, Matt Garsjo, Zac Garsjo, Tyler Thievin and Eric Bartram.
Services were held at First Lutheran Church in Glasgow on Monday, March 31, at 11 a.m ., with burial in the Nashua Cemetery. Pastors Scott Hedegaard and Bonnie Novak officiated.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Agnes; one son, Palmer; three grandsons, Mark and Brad Garsjo and Jeremy Doyon; and over 1,000 friends and family. He felt honored to serve as a pallbearer "carrying many family and friends to their final resting place."
Survivors include seven children: Ardis Jerome of Charleston, S.C .; Richard Garsjo of Nashua; Dennis Garsjo and his wife, Sue, of Glasgow; Connie Bartram and her husband, Earl, of Wheat Ridge, Colo .; Cathy Doyon of Great Falls; Lisa Thievin and her husband, Willie, of Scobey; and Karla Garsjo of Glasgow; one brother, Alfred Garsjo; two brothers-in-law, Arthur Buen and his wife, Eleanor and Ernie Kummerfeldt; one sister-in-law, Lila Buen; 13 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; 37 nieces and nephews; and numerous great-nieces and -nephews.
Memorials may be made in memory of Hartvik to: Nashua Lions Club, PO Box 131, Nashua, MT 59248; or Milk River Inc. Building Fund, 219 2nd Avenue South, Glasgow, MT 59230; or Bethel Lutheran Church of Grain, 2037 FAS 438, Nashua, MT 59248.
Bell Mortuary of Glasgow was in charge of arrangements.