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Victor Louis Gelking of Fargo, ND passed away on Monday, July 18, 2022 surrounded by his loving family. He was 95 years old.

Victor was born in Minot, ND on June 7, 1927 to Louis and Helen Gelking. He attended Minot schools until enlisting in the Marines at age 17. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA until his discharge following the end of the war. During his military service, he began taking dance lessons, sparking what would become a lifelong love for dancing.

Victor then moved to Bremerton, WA, where he worked in the shipyards until returning to his home town of Minot, ND, where he began working for the railroad full-time, as well as, taking flying lessons under the GI bill. He continued his flight training, eventually obtaining his private, commercial, twin engine and flight instructor ratings.

In June of 1951, he married his first wife, Gloria Susak. They made their home in Minot, ND where they raised 4 daughters together.

In 1956, he opened two businesses with his wife Gloria: Minot Aircraft Sales & Flight School and Victor’s Dance Studio, while maintaining his mainstay job as a Railroad Brakeman Conductor. Whenever he wasn’t flying or dancing, his friends and family could find him playing basketball, golfing, fishing, or water skiing. 

In 1980 he moved from Minot to Fargo where he continued to work for the railroad until his retirement in 1989 at the age of 62. He brought with him his love of flying and dancing – opening Victors Dance Studio and Vics Aircraft Sales in Fargo. In 1989, he married his wife, Sylvia Rue. 

His passion for dancing and flying was unwavering until retiring both of his businesses at the age of 91. 

Victor loved his family and is survived by his wife, Sylvia; sister, Lorraine Harris (Don); daughters, Debra Cunningham, Vicki Holler, Sherry Carpenter, Nancy Naylor, (Jim); grandchildren, Jordan Cunningham (Shauna), Jared Cunningham (deceased), Brittany Roman (Jesse), Austin Cunningham (Courtney), Dustin Holler, Cody Holler, Courtney Carpenter (Travis) Olivia Naylor, Logan Naylor, and Dylan Naylor; great grandchildren, Eliana, Celeste, Tyler, and Ryder Cunningham; Isabelle and Everly Roman; Rowan, Carter, Brady Cunningham; cousin, Luana Vetter; and 4 nephews and 4 nieces.

Victor was preceded in death by his Mother Helen, Father Louis, infant brother Lloyd, and grandson, Jared Cunningham. 

Donations can be made in Victor’s memory to Alzheimers Association, American Heart Association or Fargo Air Museum.

Services

Visitation - Sunday: July 24, 2022 @ 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center
123 10th Street
Fargo, North Dakota 58103

7012376441
www.boulgerfuneralhome.com

Prayer Service: July 24, 2022 @ 7:00 pm

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center
123 10th Street
Fargo, North Dakota 58103

7012376441
www.boulgerfuneralhome.com

Visitation - Monday: July 25, 2022 @ 1:00 - 2:00 pm

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center
123 10th Street
Fargo, North Dakota 58103

7012376441
www.boulgerfuneralhome.com

Funeral: July 25, 2022 @ 2:00 pm

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center
123 10th Street
Fargo, North Dakota 58103

7012376441
www.boulgerfuneralhome.com

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Guestbook

  1. Victor was a very nice person. He is Grandpa to two of my nephews. So sorry and prayers to the family. Harriet Hansen Holler

  2. Unforgettable. He taught dance at Concordia back in the 90’s. I took it as my PE class. He didn’t just teach the steps but helped young people understand the grace and showmanship of each dance. He was always dressed to the 9’s and ready to grab any available person and whisk them around the floor.

  3. Victor was a great teacher in both flying and dancing, his stories were equally as good he will be missed by all that new him.

  4. I learned so much from Victor. He was a fantastic dance lead, teacher, storyteller, and person. Those dancing days were some of the happiest memories I have. Victor gifted an appreciation of dance to so many people and it’s one my husband and I share to this day. Victor not only taught us some of the more complicated footwork, but he also taught us to teach it ourselves. That’s a true master.

  5. Vic will always be remembered. He was a wonderful teacher of dance and a friend I’ll not forget. My time working, teaching, and dancing with Vic and crew are some of my fondest memories. As for his stories of war that inspired flight, his crash, meeting John Wayne, faking an MI, and his encounter on the railroad with a friend before fame, he often had an interesting story to tell. You will be missed my friend.

  6. I have known Victor since 1981. We share the same love for dancing and I was part of his performing dance team for some time. He taught me a couple of dance moves and he borrowed a couple of my steps too. Victor gave me flying lessons in 2 & 4 seater planes. I helped him fix-up and detail several planes. Victor always had great stories and everyone knew about him and John Wayne. There are countless
    unforgettable memories. He will be truly missed. Thank you Victor for your service to our country and community. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family; but especially to Sylvia, Vicki, Nancy and Gloria.

  7. Vic was a great person who loved to teach. He taught many of us how to dance & fly aircraft, and those of us who had the chance to know Vic we’re givin a gift, “The Gift Of Vic” RIP

  8. Have known Vic many years.Prayers to the family. Special. Love to Cdy and Dustinfrmthe Holler family. HarrietHansenHoer

  9. My thoughts prayers & heartfelt sympathy go out to the Victor Gelking family. It was a memorable joyful experience learning & teaching for Victor at his dance studio & having fun dancing socially with other instructors. He was a very ambitious soft spoken talented kind hearted patient & inspiring man. Rest in peace. May God send His blessings of peace love faith hope & strength to his family.

  10. My thoughts and prayers to the family. I think of Vic and how many young pilots he inspired and supported. I also was so impressed by how gracious he was by opening his doors to people in need. He will be missed by many. Rest In Peace sir. Thank you for your service and all the good community care.

  11. Victor I treasure all the time we spent together! It was an absolute joy to be your caregiver. Our visits over your morning breakfast I will hold very closely to my heart! Thank you to your family for treating me as one of the family. Siylvia and Sophie it was honor to be a part of all your lives! Victor is an amazing man he will be teaching the other Angels how to dance! Much love to the entire family and I’m sorry for your loss!

  12. I’m the new Dean of the College of human Sciences and Education at NDSU. I’m told that Victor taught ballroom dancing for our college for many years. My assistant tells me that he was a great person. He is leaving behind a great legacy!

  13. Vic gave me my first flying lesson when I was 22. His unhurried methodical style is what allowed him to fly until 91 years. I try to implement that so that I too will be able to live a long healthy productive career and life just like he did.
    I’ve been an airline pilot for 15 years. Ten years as a captain, and one year as an instructor flying with the new pilots. I have fond memories of spending lots of time at Vic’s Aircraft.

    God Bless ya old friend

  14. Victor hired me for my first job at Minot Aircraft Sales when I was 15 years old, and then gave me my FIRST airplane ride. Ten years later, I was hired by a major airline. Thirty years later, I retired as a Captain for Delta Air Lines. Vic was an inspiration to me and I truly appreciated him.

  15. I was saddened to hear if Vic’s passing – got my license at Mini AS late 60’s I was stationed there – not much money but Vic would always take me along when he could – remember flying pipelines with him which later saved my life – tried to contact Debra and Lee to offer condolences but no luck – very sorry for the loss
    !

  16. When I heard the news, I couldn’t believe it. Your father was such a go getter, I thought he would live forever. My heart breaks for you! Your father was an amazing man! All of his accomplishments in his lifetime must make you so very proud. The memories you have are what will keep him close to you. The joyful thoughts you have will lift your spirits. We will smile when we think of him, his wit, his charm, his love for his family. Take time to grieve, but know in your heart that the Lord called him home. Feel comfort knowing that.❤️

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