Charlotte Lutjens

charlotte lutjens

Charlotte J. Lutjens, Fargo, ND passed away at the age of 82 on Sunday, May 18, 2014, at Sanford Palliative Care, Fargo, ND. 

Charlotte June (Schmitz) was born June 15th, 1931 in LaMoure, ND to Mathew and Effie (Gyldenvand) Schmitz.  She was a truly remarkable pioneer throughout her life.  In her freshman year in college (1949), she was the only woman in the engineering program at North Dakota Agricultural College, now NDSU.  In January 1951 she enlisted in the United States Air Force as the Korean Conflict broke out.  After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, she was assigned to Keesler AFB for electronic fundamentals and radar repair training, the first time women had been assigned to these types of classes; she graduated with honors. She was assigned to Ellington AFB, TX where she worked repairing radar components of B-25 and C-41 aircraft.  Charlotte was honorably discharged in May of 1953. 

By 1973, Charlotte was a mother of six children and employed by the U. S. Postal Service in Valley City, the only female letter carrier in North Dakota.  Charlotte then joined the North Dakota Air National Guard, working in administration management.  She married John (Jack) Lutjens in 1975 and moved to West Fargo. She worked in the NDANG Judge Advocate General office as a legal services specialist from 1987 to 1991, when  she retired as a Master Sergeant as the first woman in the United States to retire from the Air National Guard with a full 20 years of service. 

Charlotte and her husband enjoyed their retirement years relaxing by area lakes and occasionally wintering in Arizona.  She had a passion for knitting and sewing and shared her talents with other knitting enthusiasts as well as the residents of One Oak Place in Fargo after she made that facility her home in 2007.  Charlotte loved to read and was a huge fan of Bison athletics.  She was an incredibly resilient woman who persevered through many difficult medical issues.  Charlotte maintained a great attitude and lived life to the fullest, supported by a strong faith, loving family, and many wonderful friends.

Charlotte is survived by six children: Debra Anderson, New Berlin, WI; Guy (Lucy) Anderson, Spring, TX; Joy (Pat) Green, Dublin, GA; Cheryl (Charlie) Burg, St. Joseph, MN; Ryan (Sharlene) Anderson, Fargo, ND; Darrin (Barb) Anderson, Fargo, ND; four stepchildren Dale (Lorraine) Lutjens, Bismarck, ND; John O. Lutjens, Valley City, ND, Rodney Lutjens, West Fargo, ND; Diana Wieland, Sibley, ND; three sisters, Eleanor Bergeman, Canon City, CO; Gloriann (James) Roach, Lisbon, ND; Patricia (Richard) Willits, Conyers, GA; two brothers, Jim (Katy) Schmitz, Miles City, MT; Robert (Carol) Schmitz, Fargo, ND; 17 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband John, stepson Keith, step-grandson Tommy, and brother Bill.

The family thanks all the medical and nursing home professionals who helped care for Charlotte during her time of need.

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  1. Fargo North Dakota
    I had the pleasure of serving in the ND
    Air Guard with Charlotte. She was a grand lady.

    God bless!

  2. West Fargo ND
    Ryan and Shar, we were saddened to read of your mom’s death. We know it was expected, but, nevertheless, death can be hard to take. You are in our prayers.

    Ivan and Gerry Lucht

  3. Canon City COI will be praying for the family during this time of loss. I wish I could be there. I will be thinking of you. Love Eleanor

  4. What a wonderful tribute to Char. She paved the way for women. My heart is heavy hearing the news. Char was a good friend and a great help to our family when mom moved into One Oak Place. She made her feel welcome and comfortable. For that we will always be grateful.

    My prayers are with you all. Cherish the memories. Char would say….I had a pretty good ride, and I’m back with Jack.

  5. Fargo ND
    I was saddened to read about Charlotte’s passing. We were classmates at ND
    AC in 1949. And we had one other thing in common: we both had childhood dreams of becoming architects. I allowed myself to be diverted but Charlotte had the courage to persist for one year before she was told to “go back to your pots and pans” and coerced into a Home Ec major. I was pleased to read that she nevertheless lead a full, satisfying life.

  6. Fargo ND
    Ryan, Shar, & Family~

    My deepest sympathy to all of you at this difficult time. My thoughts & prayers are with your Family!

  7. WisconsinWhat an incredible woman the world has lost, but heaven has gained. I am so sorry for your loss Deb. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Jill

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