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Harvey H.C. “Doc” Retzlaff

April 04, 1917 - February 12, 2016


Boulger Funeral Home

Harvey H.C. “Doc” Retzlaff

April 04, 1917 - February 12, 2016


H.C. “Doc” Retzlaff, 98, died Friday, February, 12, 2016, at Bethany Homes in Fargo. He was a “character” to all who knew him, and simply died of too many birthdays.

Harvey was born on April 4, 1917, in Cooperstown, ND, and was raised in Jesse, ND. He earned a teaching certificate from Mayville State Teachers College in 1935, a BA from Minot State Teachers College in 1943, and a PhD from UND in 1956.  He spent World War II in the US Army with the Signal Corps Photographic Center on Long Island, NY, as a photographer.

Before and just after the war, he was a music teacher and school superintendent throughout North Dakota including Killdeer, Souris, Glenburn, Cando, Hope, Page, and Rothsay (MN). His favorite memories were of leading bands, orchestras, and men’s choruses in Hope and Page in the late 1940’s.  He had many stories of directing a group on the bandstand in the center of town on a hot summer night.  Later, he taught college at Ellendale and Aberdeen, rising to Chair the Sociology Department at Jamestown.  He continued with music even in these years directing groups such as the Jamestown American Legend Drum and Bugle Corps.  He delighted in telling the story of leading them in a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.

Harvey is survived by his sons Alan and Paul, his daughter Anne, his beloved daughters-in-law Sandy and Denise, grandchildren Charlie, Brittanny, Brendan, and Nikolai, great-granddaughters McKenna and Chloe, and his “perfect” great-grandson Nolan. He was preceded in death by both of his sisters, Vivian and Cleona, and Olive Retzlaff, to whom he had been married for many years.

Harvey’s family would like to extend their appreciation to Bethany Homes of Fargo, his VA Home-based Primary Care team, and Hospice of Red River Valley. All made it possible for him to live well to the age of 98.

Harvey will be resting in peace at Riverside Cemetery in Fargo.


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5 responses to “Harvey H.C. “Doc” Retzlaff”

  1. Paul & Karen Retzlaff says:

    Our sympathy to all of you. Helga (Mrs. Ronald Retzlaff) often spoke of Harvey and tried to keep in touch with the family, so we know of Harvey. May he rest in peace.

  2. Mike Ellingson says:

    I knew “Doc” through our mutual love of antiques. I fondly remember the two of us often sitting in the big barber chairs in his antique shop, looking out the big front window and solving the worlds problems. When he moved to Kinder house & Bethany he would often walk over to my little frame shop and sit in my theater seats and talk of antiques… and solve the world’s problems. I miss my friend.

  3. Ingo Keller says:

    Alan,Paul,and Anne, I’m sorry to learn of your father’s passing. My deepest condolences to you and your families.

  4. Barbara Bentson says:

    Paul – condolences to you and your family.

  5. Benard Benson says:

    My deepest sympathy to your family. I first met “Doc” about 25 years ago when he used to come to the NDSU Post Office to pick up his mail. He would always stop and talk to the clerks at the window. He was well versed on many subjects and was just plain interesting to talk to. I got to meet him again in the past few years when I was volunteering at Bethany, and for not seeing him for many years he still knew me and we would have some short chats about years ago.

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