Elmer Vangsness

elmer vangsness

Elmer passed away on January 12, 2013 at Rosewood on Broadway Nursing Home in Fargo at the age of 91.

Elmer was born on October 20, 1921, the son of Andrew and Anna (Hagen) Vangsness in Carpio, ND. He was raised in the Carpio area and graduated from High School in Hartland, ND, in 1938. He farmed until he enlisted in the Army Air Corp in 1942. After pilot training he served with the 93rd Bomb Group, Norfolk, England, as a B-24 Liberator Pilot.

Elmer received his B.S. and Master’s Degrees from North Dakota State University in Fargo. He was united in marriage to Nellie Jean Anderson on January 22, 1954 in Rugby, ND. Elmer taught in Rugby and Crosby, ND, before becoming an Assistant County Agent in Williston, ND. In 1958, they moved to Fargo where Elmer worked for North Dakota State University Extension Service as a Resource Economist until his retirement in 1986.

Elmer was a member of Peace Lutheran Church, the American Legion, the VFW, and the Sons of Norway.

Elmer is survived by his wife, Nellie Jean; his sons, Gary (Cindy) of Oakdale, MN; David of Fargo; and his daughter, Janice (Brian) Templin of Sauk Rapids, MN; five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Also surviving is his brother, Glenn (Donna) of Minot, ND; his sisters, Esther (Lyle) Opland of Minot; and Verna Nelson of Washington.

Elmer was preceded in death by his parents; his two brothers – Arthur and Martin; and three sisters – Irene Toops, Alice Anderson, and Mabel Erickson.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Fargo ND
    I got acquainted with Nellie & Elmer at Peace Lutheran but we had connections through Carpio/Hartland. I knew his brother Art and went to school with Elmer’s niece Val and nephews Todd & Stanley. Also Val’s husband Randy. It was nice to have those extra connections beside Peace. Elmer lived a long and wonderful life and touched many people. This is a sad time but a time to remember all the good times, too.

    Lynn Thorp

  2. Ellendale ND
    Received an email from Tim Petry informing me of Elmer passing. I work with Elmer many times. He was involved with many Economic Plannning meeting over the years in Dickey County.

    He certainly enjoyed sports. He must have been in every pool in ag econ.

    I always enjoyed working with him.

  3. Fargo North Dakota

    I loved his gruffness,
    which hardly rubbed off on you.

    It is too hard to type, now.
    Which you afforded me much practice.

    As we age, our poem’s about things wane. But I know, we will all see each other, soon

    Kevin M. Summers
    Periodical Dept. ND
    LA/Arch Dept. KSU
    LARL Moorhead


  4. Fargo ND
    Our deepest sympathies in the passing of Elmer.

    It is so difficult to say goodbye to someone we love. You have our love, our prayers and our deepest sympathies. Elmer will be greatly missed by his family and friends. May beautiful memories sustain you and may God be with you to help and guide all of you through this difficult time and in the days to come. God bless you and know that we are thinking of you.


    When tomorrow starts without me
    And I’m not there to see,
    If the sun should rise and find your eyes
    All filled with tears for me
    I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
    The way you did today,
    While thinking of the many things,
    We didn’t get to say.

    I know how much you love me,
    As much as I love you,
    And each time that you think of me,
    I know you’ll miss me too

    But when tomorrow starts without me,
    Please try to understand,
    That an angel came and called my name,
    And took me by the hand,
    And said my place was ready,
    In heaven far above,
    And that I’d have to leave behind
    All those I dearly love.

    But as I turned to walk away,
    A tear fell from my eye
    For all my life, I’d always thought,
    I didn’t want to die.
    I had so much to live for,
    so much left yet to do.
    It seemed almost impossible,
    that I was leaving you.

    I thought of all the yesterdays,
    The good ones and the bad,
    I thought of all the love we shared,
    And all the fun we had.
    If I could relive yesterday,
    Just even for a while,
    I’d say good-bye and kiss you
    And maybe see you smile.

    But then I fully realized,
    That this could never be,
    For emptiness and memories,
    Would take the place of me.
    And when I thought of worldly things
    I might miss come tomorrow,
    I thought of you, and when I did,
    My heart was filled with sorrow.

    But when I walked through heaven’s gates,
    I felt so much at home.
    When God looked down and smiled at me,
    From His great golden throne,
    He said, “This is eternity,
    And all I’ve promised you.”
    Today your life on earth is past,
    But here life starts anew.
    I promise no tomorrow,
    But today will always last,
    And since each day’s the same way
    There’s no longing for the past.

    You have been so faithful,
    So trusting and so true.
    Though there were times
    You did some things
    You knew you shouldn’t do.
    But you have been forgiven
    And now at last you’re free.
    So won’t you come and take my hand
    And share my life with me.

    So when tomorrow starts without me,
    Don’t think we’re far apart,
    For every time you think of me,
    I’m right here, in your heart.

    Author Unknown

  5. Fargo ND
    So sorry to hear about Elmer.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you,Nellie and your family.
    Many memories of your family and the Ness family together.
    Jackie Ness

  6. Fargo, ND
    Nellie, I read with sadness of Elmer’s passing. Please accept my most sincere sympathies. I hope your many memories together will give you ease.

    Nancy d’Errico Reinke

  7. Sun City AzWe extend our deepest sympathy. I have many fond memories of Elmer, he was a great guy to work with and his friendship socially were a valued memory. We will all miss him and share in your sorrow. Don and Jo Anderson

  8. Fargo ND
    Our sincere sympathy to the family of Elmer Vangsness. I worked with Elmer during my time in graduate school as well as the many years in Extension. He had a great sense of humor. Our prayers are with you.

  9. I was so sorry to hear about Elmer’s passing. I worked with Elmer at my first job at ND
    SU. He was always looking out for me since I was “fresh” out of college. I have wonderful memories of Elmer. He was a special man and I’m glad he was a part of my life.

  10. Sun City West AzPat and I knew Elmer for many years. I worked with him in Extension Service and was his boss when he retired. I always enjoyed his laugh and remember
    how he enjoyed working with people.
    He also worked for Pat’s father Fred Taylor who was Dept. Chair in Agricultural Economics. I remember the
    card games during the noon hour also with Elmer. May he rest in peace@@

  11. Elmer and his wife, Nellie, were great friends to my parents, Wayne and Charlotte Owens. They enjoyed many good times together. Elmer and my Dad worked together at Extension. Our sympathy to Nellie and family.

  12. Lester Prairie Minnesota
    Our deepest sympathy to the family of Elmer Vangsness. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    Keith and Cindy Latzke

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