Robert (Bob) Wayne Stefonowicz, 78, passed away on Saturday October 7, 2017 with family and Hospice caring for him at home in Fargo, ND. Bob was born September 11, 1939 in Wildrose, ND to Maurice and Orpha Stefonowicz. He graduated from Wildrose High School in 1957. On May 30, 1961, Bob married Ruth Elaine Hanson at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fargo. He graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN in 1961 with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Science, and received his Master’s in Science Teaching from the University of North Dakota in 1967. Bob spent over 40 gratifying years teaching, including 19 years in Dickinson, ND and three years in Berlin, Germany, and was proud of the students he taught. He spent 12 active years with the North Dakota Education Association, serving as a board member for eight years and as Vice President of NDEA for four years. Bob also served on the Teachers’ Professional Practices Commission and the Committee for Children and Youth, appointed by the governor of ND. He was an enthusiastic member of the Democratic-NPL Party and served in the ND Legislature. Bob was an active member in the churches he belonged to, serving on church councils in Wahpeton, Dickinson, and Wildrose. After retiring from teaching, Bob and Ruth moved to Wildrose, where Bob farmed for five years, and was appointed mayor by the City Commission. Following their return to Fargo, Bob became the first president of the Summit Condo Association, serving eight years. Bob loved to travel; he visited all 50 United States and most of Europe. Of all his accomplishments, Bob was most proud of his family. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, their three children, Susan Stefonowicz (Moorhead, MN), Pamela (Randy) Passariello-Binegar (Bismarck, ND), David (Teri) Stefonowicz (Lakeville, MN), his sister Maxine Surdahl (Albuquerque, NM), brother Gary (Holly) Stefonowicz (Williston, ND), brother-in-law James (Mary) Hanson (Glide, OR) and sister-in-law Carolyn (Ron) Gadberry (Fargo, ND). He will be remembered with love by his nine grandchildren, Gabriel, Elijah, and Sean Samuelson, Dakota Passariello, Brittney Hynes, Christopher, Benjamin, Nicholas, and Anna Stefonowicz, and four step-grandchildren, Nikki Green, Matt, Jackson, and Nash Binegar. Bob is further survived by seven great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Don Stefonowicz, and siblings-in-law, Delano Surdahl and Jeanette and Gerald Rau. Memorials may be sent to the Susan Stefonowicz stem cell treatment c/o Gate City Bank, 500 2nd Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58102

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  1. Ruth
    My sincerest and deepest sympathies !
    Bob brought such joy to many. I remember his challenging our thinking- for better decisions-on the GR Committee. Those were the good ole days.
    My heart goes out to you!
    Cheryl Lunde

  2. I always enjoyed my visits with Bob. He will be missed at future family gatherings. The entire family has our sincerest sympathies.

  3. So sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. I loved the time I spent with him during my years with NDEA. My favorite memory is our trip to Madison when he was so worried that I would go into early labor with my son. He followed me around all weekend to make sure I was okay☺

  4. Dear Ruth and family, LaRoy and I send you our deepest condolences. Bob was such a wonderful, caring gentleman. He will be missed by so many and remembered for all his public service. God bless you all. LaRoy, Mary Baird and family.

  5. Bob will be missed by many. He cared about his students and was a real advocate for North Dakota teachers. With deepest sympathy. May he rest in peace.

  6. Dear Ruth and family: Robert was a dear friend and great supporter of all the right causes. The results of his activism are still felt by the many people whose lives are better because of his dedication to education and public service. I so regret that we cannot be there for the funeral. There is much to celebrate and I hope you find solace in all the good memories.

  7. My dear Ruth,
    I was so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. He was such a great educator and steward of
    teacher’s rights. Bob always had a smile on his face, a story to tell, or just some encouraging words.
    He gave of his time so others benefited.
    My prayers and thoughts are with you, Ruth, and your family.
    He will be missed. Big Hugs to you, Ruth.


  8. I saw Bob about six months ago at Bethel Lutheran Church in Wahpeton; at my aunt Leona Hektner’s funeral. It was so nice of him and Ruth to attend. He was always a great guy to talk with….especially politics. My thoughts and prayers go with Ruth and their children.

  9. My deepest sympathy to you Ruth, and to your family. While Bob and I were political adversaries, we shared one common virtue: We both were passionate and cared deeply. . . and we longed to make a contribution for what we believed. God bless you at this sad time and in the days ahead.

  10. My condolences to Ruth and the family. All I have is respect for Bob, a good man and an outsanding educaor with srong North Dakota roots. He will be gravely missed.

  11. Dakota I know your grandpa meant so much to you. He was such a pleasure to visit with, he had the greatest smile. I know Carly really liked him. Dakota just know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you sweetie.

  12. Dear Ruth and family, I have many good memories of our teaching in Columbus, even baby sitting your youngsters. Lost track of you all. So sorry for your loss. Marge Dennis Smith Palaniuk.

  13. Ruth and family, Bob was a wonderful caring friend. George thought so much of him and enjoyed sitting with him at NDEA conference while I looked and shopped. Ruth, you and Bob made a great team for education. We appreciate you. Thank you for all you did. The video of your families is very good and Bob’s smile is so like him. Love and prayers, Eilene Emly

  14. Will miss you Bob. You were a thinker, a doer, and a promoter, but always a friend. Thanks for all the discussions we had from the 60’s and on.

  15. Ruth and family,
    Our deepest sympathy to all on Bob’s death. His service to students, educators and public employees will not be forgotten. Blessed be his memory

  16. Ruth and family,

    I have so many memories of Bob as he in many ways served as my mentor as I began my teaching career and activity with NDU. When I moved from the classroom to a staff position, Bob was one of the first Vice Presidents I worked with as Business Manager. He always asked thought provoking questions. As he finished his career and as a retired member he always asked at least one budget question at the RA. He once told me he’ did that to keep me on my toes. Bob was a true advocate for teachers, public schools and most importantly for the students they served.

    On a more personal level, I remember the hugs I received from both Bob and Ruth when Cindy passed away. They were so sincere. I would like to be at the service and return the hug to Ruth, but I am currently in DC on NDU business.

    May you all rest knowing that he now rests and may the good memories carry you through the days ahead.

    I will be making a donation to the NDU Foundation in Bob’s memory.

  17. Ruth and family,

    I was so saddened to hear of Bob’s passing. He was my favorite teacher in high school. I took four classes from him and he always made me think. I would like to believe that i am a more critical thinker because of his instruction. More than a teacher, he was such a good friend to our family. Know that he will be missed and that you are all in my thoughts at this time.

  18. Dave and Teri
    Sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. Jenny and I are praying for you and your families for peace during this time. We grieve for the loss but rejoice in the hope of the resurrection. 1 Thess 4:13


    Steve and Jenny

  19. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Ruth, and your family as you celebrate Bob’s life today! I was hoping to make it to the services but due to conflicts I wasn’t able to make it. Best wishes,

  20. To Bobs family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. In these times of tragedy we may feel alone and without hope. However, Jehovah god asks us to rely on him for support and through our weight on his shoulders. Psalms 34:18 says “Jehovah is close to the broken hearted, he saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Pray to him and he will wrap you all in his arms during this this difficult time.

  21. So sorry for your loss. I have very good memories of Bob from high school especially working at the old oil refinery in Dickinson. Mike Giese

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