Earl Sornsin

earl sornsin

Earl W. Sornsin, 87, passed away Wednesday, June 6th, in Fargo, North Dakota. He was a native of Fargo and had recently been a resident of Cullman, Alabama.

Earl was born on September 9, 1924, in Fargo, to Michael M. and Laura (Carrier) Sornsin. He attended St. Mary’s grade school and graduated in 1942 from Sacred Heart Academy (now Shanley High School). He married Jean Jefferies of Dickinson, ND on November 27, 1948, in St. Mary’s Cathedral. They made their home and raised eight children in Fargo before retiring to Cullman in 1989.

After high school, Earl enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He had extensive flight training and attended Michigan State University before earning his pilot’s wings and officer’s commission on May 23, 1944. Earl was particularly proud of his service during World War II when he flew P-38 fighters in the South Pacific.

Earl, along with his brother Tom, started Tri-State Excavating, Inc. in 1947 which then became Sornsin Construction Company; they operated for more than 40 years in the tri-state region. Earl was highly active in the North Dakota Association of General Contractors (AGC) and he and Jean enjoyed their golf outings and conventions. He also held a number of United States engineering patents for improvements to construction equipment.

Earl and Jean were charter members of Nativity Church in Fargo and active members of Sacred Heart Parish in Cullman. They were big Shanley supporters, and Earl received the Shanley Quarterback Club Hall of Fame award in 1982.

Earl was a charter member of the Bison TeamMakers Club. In January 2012, Earl traveled with a family group to see the North Dakota State University Bison football team win the National Championship. He was also a long time member of the Fargo Country Club (FCC), VFW, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Elks and Eagles. Earl was a long-time fan of the Green Bay Packers  and became the proud owner of a team share in 2011.

Earl and Jean loved to travel -- especially to Hawaii. He loved to fly airplanes, read, do crossword puzzles, watch TV sports, and travel around the country to visit with his children. Earl was an avid golfer and spent many summer afternoons on the FCC golf course.

Earl was preceded in death by his beloved wife and best friend Jean Jefferies Sornsin; his parents Laura and Michael; sister MarjorieHendrickson; brothers Kenneth, Michael, Roland , Richard, Thomas, and William Sornsin.

Earl is survived by his children:  Dr. James M. (Karol) Sornsin Sr., Cullman, AL; Jeanette Sornsin, Huntsville, AL; Peg Smith, Minnetonka, MN; Patricia (Chuck Parker) Sornsin, Kailua, Hawaii; Jeffery E. (Nancy) Sornsin, Daniel Sornsin and Charles J.(Susan) Sornsin all of Fargo; and Dr. Beth Sornsin, Santa Rosa, California. He has nine grandchildren:  J. Michael (Leah) Sornsin Jr., Jared Smith, Ashley (Eric) Rasmussen, Kristen Sornsin, Nora Smith, Joseph Sornsin, Shawn Coleman, Patrick (Jessica) Coleman, and Dr. Kelly Coleman. Earl was also called “Great Grand Guy” or “3G” by Lorelai, Ian and Barrett Coleman. In addition, he is survived by his baby brother, John “Jack” (Barbara) Sornsin Sr., Fargo; and sisters-in-law Barbara (Mrs. Roland P.) Sornsin, Fargo, and Kathy (William) Sornsin Boucher, Detroit Lakes. Earl also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate a donation to organizations Earl and Jean supported such as Shanley High School, Roger Maris Cancer Center, and NDSU TeamMakers.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Jeanette, so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. I remember from our days in Fargo how close you were to your family.

    My prayers are with you and your family.

    Anita Morris-Dockter

  2. Centerville IAJim, Sorry to read of your father’s passing. Although we haven’t stayed in contact these many years, I have fond memories of you and your family. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you.

  3. Walker MN
    Deat Jeanette, Peg, Jim & the entire Sornsin family,

    My deepest condolences at the passing of Earl. My thoughts & prayes are with you all at this difficult time. Your Mom & Dad were such great friends to our parents Ken & Pauline Collins, and I have many great memories of the wonderful times they shared! I think they are all together now, looking down on all of us and sharing a laugh or two. As I was reflecting with some of my siblings ,we all said that Earl’s passing was the “End of an Era!” Earl was a great guy & will be missed my many!

    My best,
    Mary Collins Johnson

  4. Fargo ND
    Dear Chuck,Susie and the Sornsin family

    Sorry to hear of your fathers passing.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. My sincerest sympathies Dianne

  5. Detroit Lakes MN
    Chuck & Susie and entire Sorinson family, our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Our sincerest sympathies on your loss.

  6. Cave Creek AZ
    Sure wish we could be there for you Chuck and your family at this time. You are in all our thoughts and prayers. I never met your Dad, but I am sure he must be a great guy, since he had such a thoughtful and respected son. Hope to see you and give you a big hug in July.

    Randy and Cathy George

  7. Omaha NEPeggy and Family I am so sad to hear about your Dad passing. I know he was so loved and my prayers are with you and your family at this time.

  8. Peoria ILDear Beth and family, I am so sorry to hear of the death of your dad. Please accept my prayers for you all. May he rest in the peace of God.

  9. Fargo North Dakota
    Although I will be unable to attend the funeral, my thoughts and prayers will be with the family of Earl Sornsin as he is laid to rest. A memorial will be sent to Shanley High School.

    May God bless you all, especially Jack and Barbara.

  10. Fair Lawn NJWe am keeping the Sornsin family in my prayers. We are so sorry for the loss of your father. We wish for you the sharing of many happy memories of Earl, as you celebrate his long life and are comforted by the support of family and friends as you lay him to eternal rest. God bless you now and forever.
    Cindy, Mike, Joe, Michelle and Aaon

  11. Williston ND
    Bonnie and I are both sorry to hear from Susie about your loss of your Dad.
    We will pray for you and your family.
    God bless,
    Jerry and Bonnie

  12. Hoople North Dakota
    Never does one feel oneself so utterly helpless as in trying to speak comfort for a bereavement. I will not try it..Time is the only comforter for the loss of a father.

  13. Leoti KSTo all my Sornsin cousins, I send my deepest sympathies to all of you. Your family and especially Uncle Earl have a special place in my heart. I know he is at peace and is enjoying eternity with your mom. God Bless all of you and I send my very best prayers just for you!

  14. Grand Junction CODear Family:

    Our thoughts and hearts are with you all as we are thinking about Earl. Wish that we could be closer and give you all a big hug.

    Paul is sad today as he loved being with your family when Earl visited Fargo. Mike and I are sad.

    Sending you all much love,


Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle