Jay Bergquist

jay bergquist

Jay A. Bergquist, 76, of Fargo, died at Sanford Hospital on August 24, 2013.

Jay was born May 22, 1937, to Ernest and Gertrude Swanson in rural Ramsey County, ND and given the name Leon Eldon.  He was the youngest of nine siblings, two sisters and seven brothers.  After difficulties and the dissolution of the family, the four youngest brothers were given into permanent custody and control of the North Dakota Children’s Home Society for adoption.  The children came to Fargo, in June 1940, and resided at the North Dakota Children’s Home located at 804 S 10th St.  After several months Jay was placed in the home of Art and Ina (Brayton) Bergquist in Fargo.  He adored his secure, loving Art and Ina, and on April 16, 1941, the decree of adoption was filed and the case closed.  Little Leon was now Jay Arthur Bergquist, son of Art and Ina.

Jay grew to adulthood in the care of his dear mother, Ina, after the death of Art Bergquist in July 1941.  They resided at the Arber Apts in north Fargo, a rental structure built by Art.  Jay graduated from Fargo Central High with the class of 1955.

Jay served his country in the United States Marine Corps, spending his tour with the 3rd Marine division, most of his duty stationed on the island of Okinawa.  He was honorably discharged in January 1959, returning home to Fargo to continue his education at NDSU (NDAC).

On July 29, 1960, he was united in marriage to Marie Anne Weber of Oriska, ND, at First Presbyterian Church in Fargo.  Jay graduated from NDSU and began his teaching career in the Dilworth-Glyndon Schools as a speech therapist in 1966.  He continued his education at NDSU, where he received his master’s degree with majors in guidance, counseling, and administration.  He joined the Fargo district, serving first at Agassiz Junior High and later at South High.  He retired in June 1994 due to health concerns, always true to his belief that every child deserves a second chance.

Jay had an endearing love for all dogs, greatly enjoyed trap and skeet shooting, was passionate about woodworking, and model railroading.  Nothing, however, was more important than his gentle soul and love for family and friends.

Jay has attended First Presbyterian Church since 1940 where he was baptized on April 7, 1950 at the time of his confirmation.  He has served his church in many capacities including trustee, Deacon, Sunday school teacher, and Senior High advisor.

As a young adult, Jay, with his mother, Ina’s enthusiastic assistance, was fortunate to reunite with his original siblings, a great joy in his life. 

Jay is survived by his wife, Marie, of 53 years; dear daughter Rachel (James) Kilen, Cummings, ND; loving son Paul Arthur (Melissa) Bergquist, Elk River, MN; precious granddaughter Evelyn June, Elk River, MN; sister Luella (Kenneth) Olson, Lakota, ND; brother Richard (Kathryn) Swanson, Minot, ND; brother Jim Hall, St. Cloud, MN; brother John Sanaker, Cambridge, MN; sister-in-law Beverly Swanson, Brocket, ND; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.  Also surviving are sisters-in-law Cecelia McCullough, Aliso Viejo, CA, Jo Weber, Marshall, MN; and brother-in-law Paul (Jeanne) Weber, Jamestown, ND.

Jay is preceded in death by his parents Art and Ina Bergquist, his birth parents Ernest and Gertrude Swanson, brother Ernest Swanson, Anaheim, CA, brother Charles Swanson, Los Angeles, CA, sister Evelyn Froelich, Devils Lake, ND, brother James Swanson, Brocket, ND, nephew Kent Swanson, Minot, brothers-in-law Erv Froelich, Devils Lake, ND, James McCullough, West Fargo, ND, and David Weber, Marshall, MN.

Memorial gifts are welcome to a charity of your choice but the Village Family Center in Fargo was dear to Jay’s heart.

May he rest in peace.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Roseville MN
    Dear Marie,

    We were so sorry to hear about Jay’s passing. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Jay was such a good man and you were an amazing partner.

    I think of you often – sorry I am not better about keeping in touch.



  2. Fargo ND
    Dear Marie and Family,
    We are so very sorry to hear of the passing of Jay ! We remember him as a very friendly and gracious person, always with a smith on his face. We hope the love from family and friends will give you comfort. It was good to talk to you at Sanford.
    Your Presbyterian friends,
    Jeff & Roxanne Hunter

  3. Fargo I would just like to say what an awesome man I thought Jay was. It always brightened my work day when he and Marie would stop in at Perkins to eat and of course visit. I will never forget this kind man, always full of stories! I am so sorry for your loss, but what an amazing lifetime the two of you had, truly blessed. My thoughts and prayers go out to you all at this difficult time.

  4. Fargo North Dakota

    Thank you for everything you did for me and all of the Fargo South employees you so admirably served.



  5. Houston TXMarie, Paul, and Rachel–We send our deepest sympathies to your family with Jay’s passing. He was a wonderful man you will miss him, as will all of us who knew him. We think of all of you fondly.

    Much love,
    Tom and Joan Humphrey

  6. West Bountiful UTI cannot appropriately express how grateful I am for Mr. Bergquist’s counsel and guidance. He helped me get through some very rough times. He was always patient, considerate, and it was clear he had the individual’s best interests in mind. He supported and encouraged me to pursue my interests and identify my strengths. His kindness and talents have blessed the lives of many people. He will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathies to his family and friend.

  7. Fargo ND
    I am so sorry about your loss, Marie. The two of you always brightened my work days, and I loved visiting with the two of you. I know you will cherish your memories and the awesome years that you had with each other. Jay was an amazing man, as you know, and I pray for you and your family at this difficult time.

  8. Fargo ND
    We were very sorry to hear of Jay’s passing. Jay and Marie were neighbors of ours on 16th Ave N for a number of years, and were the very best neighbors you could ask for. It’s clear from what we’ve seen/heard about him, that Jay touched very many lives in a very positive manner. Our thoughts are with his family.

  9. Fargo ND
    CAROLYN (A friend from the gym)

  10. Fargo ND
    I worked with Jay for many years at South High School. During that time I became more and more appreciative of his sense of humor, his respect for students and staff and his love of life. Jay was a great guy who also just happened to be a very proud Marine who loved and served his country honorably. Semper Fi Jay.

  11. Jamestown ND
    Mr Bergquist had a large impact in my life. When I started Agassiz Jr High the girls had a girl counselor and the boys had a male counselor. Well thank goodness the day I needed to talk to someone the only counselor availible was Mr. Bergquist. He helped me survive the hardest year of my life. I talked to him almost daily. He holds a special place in my heart. My prayers to his family. Penny Oster

  12. elk river MN
    Nearly 20 years ago, you welcomed me into your family with open arms. You treated me like I was special and loved me like a daughter. Words can’t express how thankful I am to have had you as a father-in-law. Your kindness, generosity, your sense of humor and especially your warm hugs will be so dearly missed. I love you, Dad.

  13. Bismarck ND
    As one of Jay’s students and I friend of Paul’s I have many memories of Jay from two perspectives. As a student who was under his guidance he was ever with a smile and an encouraging word. Even on the rare call into his office he was kind and understanding.

    As the father of a friend I can say with no doubt whatsoever that Jay was there for his family when they needed him and was the embodiment of what anyone could hope for in a Father. He was generous with a smile, never cross in front of a guest and quick with a story.

    Men just don’t get any better than Jay.

    God Bless

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