Howard W. Wrigley

howard w.  wrigley
Howard W. Wrigley died unexpectedly of a heart attack Saturday July 11, at his remote fly-in fishing lodge in the far-reaches of Northern Saskatchewan. We are stunned by his loss, but lifted by the robust and colorful spirit of an extraordinary man. Howard Wrigley lived boldly. Howard, son of Harry and Vada Wrigley, was born in Noonan, ND and raised on the family’s homestead in Burke County, ND, northeast of Columbus, ND. He attended a one room school house, graduating from Columbus High School (Howard’s very own “charm school”), in 1953. That fall, Howard enrolled at the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks. He studied engineering for one year, then enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving proudly. In 1954, Howard was honorably discharged and returned to Grand Forks. Howard and Gloria were married on November 23, 1956. Howard earned his Mechanical Engineering degree in the spring of 1961. Years later, in 2012, Howard was selected for entry into the Hall of Fame for the UND School of Engineering and Mines. Following graduation from UND, Howard and Gloria moved to Bismarck, ND, where Howard began to learn the contracting business from his then-employer and mentor, Harry Thompson. Howard and Gloria made so many life-long friends during those years. Their first child, Blake was born in 1962, son Drew was born in 1965, and daughter Tanya in 1969. In 1970, Howard and Gloria moved their young family to Fargo. Howard worked for a plumbing contractor, then became an owner-manager with a local mechanical contracting company, Peterson Mechanical. In 1978, Howard founded Wrigley Mechanical Inc., a mechanical, environmental, industrial contracting company. He served as President from 1978 to 2002, when he proudly designated his son, Blake, as President. Howard continued to serve as the CEO of the company until his death. Howard worked tirelessly with El Zagal Shrine, and was recognized with 40 years of service this past Spring. He was Potentate of the El Zagal Temple in 1985 and President of the Midwest Shrine Association in 1992. He and Gloria worked together on Shrine projects and on Shrine fun. So many lifelong friends, great trips around the country and happy memories that will never fade. Howard also gave time generously to the Boy Scouts. He enjoyed his many years as Scout Master of Troop 229, guiding both Blake and Drew through their Scouting years to the rank of Eagle Scout. One of his grandsons has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and two more are working their way toward that rank. Howard and Gloria have been blessed with the laughter and shenanigans of six grandchildren, each of whom is their favorite, each of whom they spoil, and each of whom they love deeply and unconditionally: Max (17), Jack (14), and Gracie (14) Lingle (Fargo), and Quinn (14), Patrick (12), and Harper (7) Wrigley (Bismarck). Lake gatherings, family trips, holiday and birthday celebrations, and special moments continue to fill the years. Grandpa Howard will still be with us each and every time. Howard was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Vada Wrigley, and by brothers Dwight, Edward and Joseph. At the time of his death Howard remained the guiding force and patriarch of the family. He is survived by his wife and co-conspirator of 58 years, Gloria, his sons Blake (Cathie), Fargo, Drew (Kathleen), Bismarck and his daughter Tanya and (Keith Lingle), Fargo, as well as six grandchildren and seven step-grandchildren. Memorials can be directed to Boy Scout Troop 225 (Fargo), Boy Scout Troop 73 (Bismarck), Olivet Lutheran Church and Twin City Shrine Hospital.

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  1. Dear Drew, Kathleen, Gloria and all of Howard’s family,
    I was so sadden to learn of Howard’s passing. Want you to know that your all in my prayers and thought threw this sad time in your lives.We all know that Howard is in a better place. But it is also very hard for everyone who loved him so much.May Howard rest in peace. Sending you all much love and prayers as you all face the days ahead of you…Hugs for his grand children. And hugs and prayers for you all.

  2. So sorry to hear about Howard’s passing. Many fond memories of working and enjoying the many functions in the El Zagal Shrine. Our Sympathy to you, Gloria, and your family. Ron and Irene Bowman

  3. Dear Wrigley family.. My heartfelt prayers and warm thoughts go out to your whole family. Mr.Wrigley was my Scoutmaster.. a man among men! He was motivating and inspirational with a zest for life… Bless you Mrs.Wrigley.. Blake.. Drew.. and Tanya. And the rest of the Wrigley Family. May Mr.Wrigley RIP..

  4. Sorry to hear about Howards passing. I’m sure Wrigley Mecanical will continue to thrive under the direction of Blake and Keith.

    Jim Meier
    Gagnon, Inc.

  5. I always looked forward playing cards and bantering with HW after lodge. I will miss his wit and his opinions, which he freely gave. He will be missed. Our condolences to Gloria and Family.

    Galde Family

  6. Prayers are many for Gloria and the family. Howard was a wonderful person and I loved his great smile. Always enjoyed him at El Zagel! My thoughts are with you. Dee Hovell

  7. To the Wrigley Family
    I wanted to send my thoughts and prayers to all of you during this time. I was back in Bismarck 2 weeks ago and Mr Wrigley popped into my head and I asked my Mom out of the blue how he was doing so I was shocked when I heard of his passing. He lived a full and wonderful life, he loved a wonderful woman, and he raised 3 amazing children. May you celebrate his wonderful life and take comfort that he is watching over all of you.
    Catherine Puetz
    Grand Rapids, MI

  8. I have had the privilege of working with Howard on several construction projects over the past 35 years. All were top shelf quality. More recently I have had the honor of serving with Howard on the ND State Plumbing Board. We have dealt with a number of tough issues recently. We could always count on Howard to dissect the issue and offer solid advice based on his extensive knowledge of mechanical construction and dealing with people. I will personally miss Howard as I have always respected him as an individual and successful mechanical contractor.

  9. My prayers go out to all of the family. I know that Howard was a big part of all of your lives. I always enjoyed seeing him supporting his grandsons at scouting events. He was a great role model for many over the years. May light perpetual shine upon him.

  10. Gloria and family, Your message broke my heart. We have so many great memories from 1985. Howard will be greatly missed by all.

  11. Gloria and family, we all have very special memories of the Shrine Years and you and Howard are certainly
    a very large part of all of them. He will be greatly missed.

  12. i was so sad to here of howards passing he was such a great man. my thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  13. Drew:

    My condolences to you and your family with the loss of your dad. My thoughts will be with you in the coming days.

    Craig Baker (Clay County Sheriff’s Office, retired)

  14. Howard was a great person who may have at times seemed a little hard nosed but was really a a good person who I was lucky to know and work with. I will miss him.

  15. Tom and I were saddened to hear of Howard’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Sincerely Tom and Arla Winnipeg

  16. Thoughts and prayers are with Gloria and the Wrigley family. May God’s grace and peace surround you and comfort you. Howard was a special man! He always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He will be missed, but never forgotten!!

  17. What a beautiful tribute to Howard. I enjoyed reading and watching the video of his life. What a wonderful man

  18. So sorry for the loss of a great man. He will be missed by many. I am glad I had the opportunity to meet and work for him at Wrigley Mechanical.

  19. Wrigley Family,
    I am so very sorry to hear of your loss! Howard is a big part of our family, as all of you are. It’s been a pleasure knowing all of you through these years. Even though we don’t see each other, what the Wrigley family has done for my sister your family will always have a special place in my heart. Again, my condolences. God’s speed.

  20. Dear Wrigley Family,

    There is no doubt that Howard will be missed in many places, his absence of being at Gloria’s side will forever be noticed. They were the pair to share conversation with. My parents, Ed and LaVern Anderson were active with the Wrigley’s at many Shrine and Masonic functions. They were good friends and will remain friends into eternity. Howards wit and knowledge of many things created in him a wonderful being that gravitated you towards him and Gloria. Their hearts are as big as life it’s self. Their caring proceeded them as they made the memorable journey through life and time with family. Their sons and daughter will carry the torch for him as they comfort Gloria. We enjoyed every minute of the Wrigley family’s company when we were active in the Shrine. Many of my parents friends from the Shrine have gone the same way as Howard. They are all missed and remembered by the Masons and Shriners who knew them. Scouting has the same story. Scouting is a carbon copy of their efforts and kindness to include the entire Wrigley Family. Howard is looking down, proud of you all.

  21. Dear Mrs. Wrigley, Blake, Drew, Tanya & family:
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved husband & dad. What an extraordinary life he led…what a blessing he was to so many…what an impact he made in his community…what a beautiful family he was a part of…what a lovely human being. I’m thankful to have known Mr. Wrigley. His legacy lives on through all of you and through the many, many people he’s touched throughout his life. Your husband/dad will live an even bigger life now, in the presence of God, and he’ll hug you again with that big grin across his face. With love & deepest sympathy, Brenna (Miles)

  22. Kathleen and Family,

    So sorry for the loss of your wonderful father-in-law. Although I did not know your “Dad in law”, the video was a wonderful tribute to him. God Bless all of you! Prayers to you and your family. xoxox!

    Karen Sklencar
    Philadelphia, PA

  23. Dear Drew,
    I send my sincere condolences on the death of your father. I never met your Dad or family but I have heard only good words about the Wrigley family. My condolences extend to all in the Wrigley family. Your father lived a good and active life. You will have very good memories of him.
    Best regards, Myron H. Bright

  24. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Wrigley family. I am a Jester with Howard and Blake. We are out of
    town so we can’t attend the Masonic Service. I was made a Shriner in 1974 So I have known of you since then. My folks were Paul & Fay. Dad was on the line for a few years. We will miss Howard but Blake will
    do a good job as Potentate and he is a fine Jester. I think Drew would make a fine Governor or US Senator.

    Rick & Betty.

  25. Drew & all of Howard’s family, we are sorry to hear of your loss. Though sudden, we know your faith will surely help you endure. We pray for comfort & peace. Keep the Faith!

  26. I’m so sorry to hear about Mr. Wrigley as we talked for a few min. Asked how he was feelin and he says getting stronger each day. We had a hug and a smile. We always said have a great day. It was so great to see him smile to the fullest. May the Lord be with you always and hugs. Love to you all. Cynthia

  27. my heartfelt condolences to the Howard Wrigley family. Howard`s hard work on the JATC committee and Health insurance trust will never be forgotten. Howard worked hard and played hard. Howard was a great friend and person.

  28. My thoughts and prayers are with your beautiful family during this difficult time. It is very difficult to let go of someone you love so much. May God give you all great strength and hold you in the palm of his hand.

  29. I think so many times we can live life carelessly, passing opportunities, friendships and chances to do good in the community. Howard wasn’t careless but in fact he was a perfect example on how to make change, to live fully, purposefully, to make a difference through consistency and hard work, to consistently keep God and family in the forefront, and doing good to everyone along the way. Howard was my “dad” figure, as I was a very little girl who was very best friends with his daughter when we lived right next to each other. He called me “Nickel”, he always had a toothpick in his mouth and I always noticed how Howard would enjoy his chair, in his room, listening to the news, talking with Gloria while in the kitchen, and enjoying the hustle of the home. He handled it all well, and was so proud of his life and family. This isn’t the fun part of life… is such a mystery in a way. But through faith in our God, we will meet again. Thank you for all the wonderful memories. Perhaps many didn’t get to say good bye other than have a “great fishing trip”. Who knew it would be The eternal trip to His Heavenly Father? What a fishing trip that will be!!! Love to all of you special Wrigley family. Amen.

  30. Sending prayers of comfort and support during this difficult time. Howard was a beautiful heart who shared his blessings with so many people. Sincere condolences.

  31. Mrs. Wrigley and family,
    With my deepest sympathy I send my condolences to you and all of your family. I met Howard through Wrigley Mechanical while working for the firm a number of years. I always had fun talks with Howard every time I was in the office and he always seem to have a smile on his face. May your memories never fade and you go through the day remembering all of the great times all of you had with him. You may find comfort in the readings of John 3:16.

  32. The Gunderson family has had the privilege of knowing the Howard Wrigley Family for perhaps 5 decades. Our family has always considered them close family friends. Howard was a man of measure, measured by how he lived and gave back. He had a special place in his heart when it came to young people. When I was in High School, Mr. Wrigley gave me my first job, which carried though into college, helping pay for my education. He was a wonderful “mentor”. I will always be thankful for his presentence in my life as well as his membership in the Gunderson Family. Our love and prayers are with the entire Wrigley family

  33. Gloria and family,
    All of our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you and all of your family as you grieve and celebrate Howard’s life. He was a respected businessman and pillar of our faith home of Olivet. We regret missing his funeral as we are out of town this weekend. We will miss him in your “row” up front! Peace to all of you.

  34. Gloria, My thoughts and love go out to you and your family. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. May your strength prevail. God bless.

  35. To Gloria,Blake,Drew,Tanya and Families, I am so sorry for your loss..Thoughts and prayers from my family to yours during this difficult time. My parents and I have many fond memories of Howard from his days as Scoutmaster of Troop 229. My Dad and I enjoyed many camping trips with Howard,Blake and Drew.
    Howard was a great man and always had a smile on his face and was always willing to teach all us Scouts new skills when we went camping. Once again my deepest sympathy goes out to all of you.

    RIP Mr.Wrigley

  36. Howard made the Edgewood Barbershop roar when he came in for haircuts. I got to cut his hair for years especially when Lowell was gone & he would always “FINALLY I CAN GET A GOOD HAIRCUT” 🙂 So Sorry for your loss. I always knew how important & proud his family was made him. Peace be with you Peggy Markey

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