January 1, 1970 ~ December 13, 2009
Orin Ferris Bleken passed away on Dec. 13, 2009 following a courageous bout with lung cancer; leaving behind many friends and family who will miss him every day.
The son of Oscar and Fern Bleken, he was born June 22, 1942 in Williston, North Dakota. He was raised in Appam, North Dakota and graduated from Alamo High School in 1960. Orin spent the next three years farming and ranching in North Dakota and California before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1963. After completing the Infantry School Airborne Course in Fort Benning, Georgia, he served a 13 month tour of duty in Vietnam in 1964 before completing his active duty in Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1966. He returned to North Dakota and attended the North Dakota School of Broadcasting in Bismarck. Upon graduation, he worked the news desk at KUMV-TV in Williston, North Dakota. In 1968 he relocated to Kalispell, Montana and presided the news desk of KCFW-TV and then later worked as a news announcer at AM Radio KOFI. He was noted for his infectious sign off, “From the Desk of KOFI News, this is Orin Bleken”. His broadcasting career highlights included interviews with both President Nixon and President Ford. In 1978 he departed the broadcasting field and spent over 20 years as a foreman at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company before retiring in 2001.
Orin was an avid horse back rider, which led him to spending the next three seasons as Operations Manager at the Laughing Water Guest Ranch and Tuckers Inn Guest Ranch in Lincoln County Montana, sharing his love of the outdoors and horses with everyone he came across. His horses, Junior and Cheyenne, were his constant companions.
Orin relocated to Fargo, North Dakota in 2007 and enjoyed spending time at the North Dakota Horse Park, where he also served on the Board of Directors. He relished time riding horses in the Sand Hills south of Leonard.
Orin lived his life in true cowboy-style. His devotion to God, his family, and horses brought many years of happiness and fulfillment.
Orin is survived by his daughter, Rae (Sherman) Baker of Kalispell, MT; son, Ryan (Tina) Bleken of Westminster, MD; daughter, Amy (Armando) Ygbuhay of Chantilly, VA; son, Mick (Toni) Bleken of Kalispell, MT; daughter, Kari (Tim) Barnes of Fargo; daughter, Molly (Lee) Hepburn of Denver, CO; grandchildren, Arielle (Elliott) Potter, Colby Baker, Gianna and Nico Bleken, Olivia Barnes; mother, Fern Bleken of Appam, ND; brother, Emil (Valerie) Bleken of Alamo, ND; sister, Carol (Wally) Blomberg of Fargo and brother, Virgil (Paulette) Bleken of Spokane, WA.
Visitation: Wednesday, December 16 from 3-4 pm at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.
Funeral Service: Wednesday, December 16 at 4:00 pm at Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.
Arrangements entrusted to Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.