Orvin Hagen

orvin hagen

Orvin Gerhardt Hagen was born July 14, 1921 to Agnes (Melhus) and Thomas O. Hagen in Bottineau County the 4th of 9 children.  His family moved to Rolette County when he was a young boy where he attended Beaver Dam School.  During this time he spent 2 years taking care of his Grandpa Ole and Grandma Gro Hagen and was schooled at Look Lake #2, Bottineau County while living with them.  He was determined to get a high school education and did earn his G.E.D. from Bottineau High School many years later in 1957

On his 11th birthday, July 14, 1932, The International Peace Garden was dedicated and he and his whole family attended the occasion, never ever dreaming that some day he would be known as “The Flower Guy from the Peace Garden” or “Mr. Peace Garden” – after working there for 30 years.

Orvin’s father died in 1934 so Orvin helped his mother raise his 5 brothers and sister still at home.  In 1942 Orvin, his mother and the 3 remaining siblings at home moved to a farm in Homen Township, Bottineau County – when his sister Helen Nelson died in 1944 – the 3 youngest boys, Norris, Oliver and Donald came to live with them.

He started working at the Peace Garden in 1956 performing such jobs as tilling and mowing – working under 2 different head gardeners and then was promoted to the top spot in 1962 – Head Gardner.

Orvin was a social guy – always involved and a volunteer that never said no.  He gave talks about flowers and the Peace Garden to different organizations, taught adult Sunday School class in the Lutheran Church in Dunseith, also held several offices there and in the Sons of Norway in Bottineau, the Rolette County Historical Society and of the Cemetery Association (25 years), a leader in 4-H, he was in many a play – even Ladies Aid!

He was noted for his yodeling and would do so on special occasions,  even in the Alps in Switzerland on one of his many trips later in life.

One year he met Agnes on a bus tour – the next year they were courting and they married August 30, 1980 in front of the flowers that Orvin had planted (along with his “merry band” of wonderful helpers) and about 1,000 people.  Ivy Mathision served a wonderful buffet to all these people.

Orvin and Agnes continued to live in the Peace Garden in the caretakers house where Orvin  had lived for so long until he retired in 1986 and they moved to Kindred, ND where they have a home and now he plants several gardens.

He had a laugh that when he laughed so did those around him.

In the fall of 1986, Orvin retired from his work at the International Peace Garden as the Head Gardener (30 years), both sides of the Garden, USA and Canada.  His last years of working there, he did a lot of landscaping, had casual employees during the summer months. 

He joined the Kindred Lutheran Church in 1987 and was member of the Choir.  He quilted in the church with the quilters and attended the bible studies. He had been a Lion’s member since coming to Kindred and was secretary for several years.  He was also a member of the Senior Citizen’s, president for 5 years and Charter member of the Son’s of Norway.  He hauled “Meals on Wheels” for several years in Kindred and helped shut-ins, drove them to many important things, doctor appointments, groceries, etc.

Orvin’s wife Agnes passed away May 26, 2005.  He lived alone and had great neighbors that did things for him.  God Bless Them. For the past 3 years, Orvin resided at Bethany.

Orvin is survived by his stepchildren; Thomas Overboe (Gloria) West Fargo, David Overboe (Debra), Kindred, Sheryl Ask (Curtis), Kent, MN, Phyllis Linscheid (James), West Fargo, ND, step-grandchildren; Jason (Fran) Ask, West Fargo,  ND, Andrea (Jay) Thimjon, Wahpeton, ND, Staci (Veran Kapaun) Lee, Kindred, ND, Julie (Tom) Jarvis, Minneapolis, MN, John Overboe, Fargo, ND, Kristen (fiance Jon Buchholz) Overboe, Kimberly (fiancé Dean Gullingsrud) Bauer West Fargo, ND, 4 step-great grandchildren, sister Joyce Evans, Dunseith, ND, brothers Leland G. Hagen (Betty Jo), Bryan, TX, Thomas A. Hagen (Dot), summer in ND, winter in Mesa, AZ and nephews Don (Sharon) and Oliver Nelson, Dunseith, ND.

He is preceded in death by his wife Agnes, parents, Tom and Agnes (Melhus) Hagen, brothers Alfred Hagen and Lawrence Hagen, sisters Helen Nelson, Lorraine Hogue, and Thelma Johnson.

Orvin’s family would like the thank the staff of Bethany Retirement Living for the wonderful care they gave Orvin these past 3 years.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Blue Springs MOWe loved Orvin!! We shared a common passion- Plants and flowers. Enjoyed working with him at Peace Garden and socializing with him and Agnes at Bible study. He will be in our hearts forever.

  2. Burlington ND
    I will never forget being a kid and going to visit Uncle Orvin at the Peace Gardens. Letting me bottle feed the baby fawn was the best. The infectious laugh is my fondest adult memory. God Bless You Uncle Orvin!
    Diane Nelson-Roland

  3. Bottineau ND
    So sorry to hear about the loss of Orvin. He will be greatly missed by alot of people.
    I loved his laugh and yodeling.

  4. Dunseith North Dakota
    I have known Orvin and his siblings most of my life, have been a neighbor of his sister, Joyce for 50 years. Orvin had a infectious personality, was a wonderfull and fun loving man and did a magnificant job at the International Peace Garden. He will be missed by many people.

  5. Perham MN
    Dear family of Orvin Hagen, I remember as a small child growing up near Dunseith, ND
    , my parents, Sal & Elsie Schneider dearly loved this wonderful man. He was the kindest, gentle man and the love he put into his work showed in the beautiful flowers at the Peace Garden. My Mom use to play the organ for the church services there each Sun. She and Orvin shared a love for that beautiful place. May God bless each of you and keep you in His loving arms.

    Harley and Marlene (Schneider) Haverland

  6. Cavalier ND
    We are sorry to hear of Orvin’s passing. I remember him attending the annual Cox 4th of July picnics. My mother was Avis Cox, Daughter of Laura Melhus Cox.

    Rick and Deb Vivatson

  7. Orvin was a wonderful man. I enjoyed many afternoons visiting with him and hearing stories about his life. After moving away from Kindred I truly missed him and his stopping by for lemonade. I feel blessed to have known him.

  8. Horace ndWe are so sad to hear of Orvin’s passing. He was a wonderful man, quick with a smile and fun conversation. I loved talking with him about his gardens, and did so several times when he lived in Kindred. He was so great in the church choir to get people excited, so light-hearted and kind. We plan to make a trip to the Peace Gardens in the very near future, and will think of him as we are there. Rest in peace, Orvin. I have no doubt you are singing with the angels, livening up the choir!!

  9. Dunseith North Dakota
    Mr. Peace Garden has left us…here at the International Peace Garden we were all very sad to hear of Orvin’s passing.

    His smile was infectious and his yodel unmistakable for those that had the pleasure of knowing this kind gentleman.

    Orvin was at the Garden the day it opened on July 14, 1932 celebrating his 11th birthday.

    He celebrated his life with flowers and dearly loved to meet people.

    To Orvin’s family please accept our heartfelt sympathy.

    Doug Hevenor, CEO
    International Peace Garden

  10. Fargo, ND
    Dear family of Orvin,
    Orvin was a dear man. Skilled in gardening, a good church worker, a fine neighbor and friend. He will be remembered for all of his fine contritutions to the Kindred communtiy.
    He left a great legacy. Our sympathy to all of you. He will be missed!

    Sincerely, George & Karen Kruse

  11. Alhambra CA`I was always so proud of him that he was so well known for the magic he did with flowers at the Peace Garden. He truly deserved the name “Flower Guy”.


  12. Tempe, Arizona Our prayers are with the family at this time. Orvin was my mother’s cousin and a special person to me and so msny others. He had a zest for living that was unequaled. He will be greatly missed.

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