Walter Rivinius

walter rivinius

Waldemar  (Walt) Rivinius, 93, Moorhead, MN, died Friday, August 16, 2013 in the Veterans Medical Center, Fargo,ND.

Walt was born August 23, 1919 to John and Regina (Heisz) Rivinius near Pretty Rock, ND, and grew up in Goodrich, ND.

In 1937 he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC’s) and worked at camps in Utah and Montana. In 1941 he enlisted in the Army and served in WW II with Co. F of the 164th Infantry, shipping out to Camp Claiborne, LA, Melbourne Australia, New Caledonia, and Guadalcanal where his military career ended with a machine bullet to the ankle, earning him a purple heart.

He ultimately ended up at the VA Hospital in Fargo, where he met Jewel Egge, a VA employee who later became his bride.

They were married on September 2, 1946 in Moorhead and had two children, Michael and Gayle. He attended Wahpeton State School of Science for refrigeration and radio repair and worked as an organ repair man for Daveau Music Co. for 28 years. He later worked for Steiger Tractor Co.

Walt enjoyed being an Amateur Radio operator and spent countless hours in his “ham shack”. He also cherished his friends he gained through the  “Germans from Russia Heritage Society”. Walt loved his grandchildren.  In his last years  he would light up with a smile when his great-granddaughters entered the room.

Walt is survived by his daughter, Gayle (Stan) Grafsgaard, whom he lived with the last few years of his life,  six grandchildren: Melissa Grafsgaard, Kansas City, MO, Jeremiah Grafsgaard, Fargo, Julia (Ryan) Dobbins, Moorhead, Rebekah Grafsgaard, Moorhead, Micah Grafsgaard, serving in Afghanistan, and Brianna Grafsgaard, Fargo, and three Great-granddaughters: Charlie and Josie Dobbins, and Brookelynn Grafsgaard. Also, sister, Polly Freitas, Corvallis, OR, and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jewel, and son Michael,  also by his brothers: Wilhelm, Adolph, Clarence, and Oscar, and  sister, Hulda.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Plymouth MN
    – Minnesota
    Loving thoughts to Gayle, Stan and family in memory of your dear father. He was so proud of all of you and enjoyed being surrounded by his grandchildren. For us, he was always a happy and fun-loving uncle and will be missed.
    Love, Susan and Linda

  2. Phoenix AZ
    Gayle, Stan & Family,

    May God bless you all at this difficult time. I am so glad I got to see Walt again last year when I was home visiting. I have such wonderful memories of being at your house when I was growing up. It was like a second home to me. Gayle, your parents treated me great, and I remember your dad liked to tease us so much. Walt and Jewel were wonderful people. I believe Walt is in a better place now rejoicing in heaven along with Jewel and other loved ones. Gayle, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Fergus Falls MN
    Dear Gayle, Stan, and your loving famiy Your parents, Walt and Jewel. were ny first and best friends in Mhd. They were both very openhearted, fun. caring and thoughtful. My heart goes out to you, this great loss can only be memories and thanks for the memories…Walt with his dancing and music (also discussions) and Jewel unafraid to confide to a listening ear. They were so special and a huge loss to friends now, Remmber the good old days as they were good. with love, Dolly

  4. west fargo north dakotaWe were very sorry to hear of Walts passing. I know how very special he was to his family. We enjoyed living next door to your wonderful parents. Deepest sympathies to you and your entire family.

  5. Saint Paul MN
    Dearest Gayle, Stan and Family,
    You are in our thoughts and prayers as you grieve the loss of your father/grandfather Walt. I remember him as such a kind, soft-spoken father and husband. I also remember that he would often have a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face as he humored us Woodstrom girls when we came to your home, Gayle, to play. We had so much fun and your parents were so accepting and understanding of us. I hope you find peace and comfort in the days ahead knowing he is forever in the hands of God. May God bless you all.
    My Love Always,
    Stephanie Allyn & Steven Peterson Family

  6. Gayle, Stan and family,

    Our sympathies to you all on the passing of Walt. May memories and the love of family and friends comfort you in the days ahead.

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