William Pflipsen

william pflipsen
William V. Pflipsen, “Bill”, 44, of St Paul, MN, passed away on Sunday, February, 12, 2017 at Detroit Lakes, MN. Bill fought a courageous battle with brain cancer for 14 years. For most of the past year he was at his favorite place, the lake home at Lake Sallie, where he lived to the end. Bill was born on June 10, 1972, to Gary and Mary Jo Pflipsen in Bismarck, ND. Bill attended schools in Bismarck, graduated from Bismarck High, and went on to graduate from Moorhead State University with a degree in fine arts. He did an internship in St. Paul in graphic design and became employed by Tim Larsen Graphic firm in Minneapolis. He became a senior designer, leaving his mark on many projects in the cities. His many friends from Bismarck and the cities kept in touch with Bill providing support and love to the end; Lisa Williams, Liz Leino, Liina Lunden, Tracy Hann, Kevin Kyes, Phil Leary, and the Tim Larsen staff. His wonderful neighbors, Dennis Buhe and Lisa Murphy helped Bill throughout his illness keeping his lawn mowed and snow removal done. His medical support team, Dr. Trusheim, Patty, Kathy, Erin, and Lonnie provided compassion and care throughout his many appointments, chemo and hospital stays. Staff at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis got to know Bill, with his many times admitted to the hospital, they would have an extended bed waiting for him to accommodate his 6’ 5” frame. The infusion center and oncology unit were all kind, caring and supportive throughout his many procedural stays. He always had a challenging question for Kathie in the infusion center. Bill will be remembered for his positive frame of mind, his passion for computer application, beer making and keeping in touch with friends playing video games. Bill and Kevin would be playing “golf” many nights until one, or both would fall asleep during a round-Bill was a true joy to know , never saying an unkind word about anyone. Bill was preceded in death by his brother, Bob, his beloved godmother, Aunt Jane Guy, grandparents, Harry and Mary Bergman and Herbert and Elizabeth Pflipsen. Bill is survived by his mother, Mary Jo Bergman, Detroit Lakes, MN, his father Gary (RaeAnne) Pflipsen, Fruita, CO; and two brothers, Brian, Idaho, Steven (Heidi) Minneapolis, MN; his Aunt Marsha Bergman, Phoenix, AZ, Uncle Bob Bergman, Phoenix, AZ, Uncle Jim Guy, Amenia, ND, Uncle Ronnie Pflipsen, AZ, and Aunt Marilyn Ireland, Garrison, ND; nephews, Hunter and Zach of Minneapolis, MN; and many cousins. Bill will be interred at St. Mary of the Lakes Detroit Lakes, MN, next to his brother, Bob. A celebration of life will be held this summer at the lake home and in the cities. Memorials to be given to donation of choice, please sign his guestbook and share memories.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Mary Jo and Brian,
    I am struggling with words. I am so very sorry. Bill was the best; funny, gentle, caring, kind-hearted….to name a few. My heart is heavy. I send you all of my love….
    Brenda (Kessler) Kroh

  2. My dearest son Bill…..a void in my life with you going on ahead….but, the wonderful memories I have will be forever etched in my mind……How I will miss our time together….and as I told you at the end, “Go on ahead and be with your brother….we will soon follow”…..I want to think that the heavens got another angel…..Love forever…until I see you again….your Mom……

  3. Bill made my life in high school remarkably creative, fun and meaningful. We wrote folk songs together, made homemade skits, smoked tobacco pipes, rode red matching scooters, shared a love for Chinese food. His sense of timing and comedy was honestly the most brilliant I have ever experienced.

    I have many many memories — I look forward to sharing memories with our circle of friends this summer.

  4. Bill – You will be missed very much. What a wonderful person who had a passion for living bigger than live itself while always unselfishly treating people with respect and kindness while managing your illness. Never complaining or asking for more than you had. We value the short time we had with you my brother. You need to know that your compassion for people lives on in your nephew Hunter and your free spirit for live lives on in your nephew Zach. Your memory will always live on in ours lives. Love Steve, Heidi, Hunter, and Zach.

  5. Bill was such a gentle, funny guy. When Becky and I visited him, we knew he didn’t feel well, but he’d never give that impression. He’d sit and chat with us in his mild and humorous way. I had so much admiration for him and his ability to carry on. The world has lost a very special young man.

  6. Biller… so many memories. They’ve been flooding my mind for days now. So many things I hadn’t thought about in years. I loved bouncing creative ideas off each other and seeking approval or critiques for improvement. Your cleverness and kindness will stay with me a lifetime and beyond.
    To Brian & Mary Jo: I wish you strength and comfort. I’ve been thinking about you both.

  7. Bill
    You will be forever missed! I know God holds a place for you, but I wish we could have kept you here with us. It weighs heavy on my heart to know my best friend has lost both his brothers. I promise you I will always be there for Brian and your mom.
    Love Shorty

  8. I was so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May God’s angels take you further under their wings and comfort you.

  9. Bill, you brought laughter into my life when I needed it most, and continued to make me laugh ever since we met. In fact, you are still making me, and others laugh with your legacy of stories. You had a gift like nobody I’ve ever known. Not just your humor, but your humble, thoughtful and kind ways. I am so incredibly lucky to have known you, and will miss you so much.

    To Bill’s family, I am so very sorry for your incredible loss of such a wonderful son and brother. My heart aches for you, and I send you love.

  10. I met Bill while he was a student in graphic design at MSUM. And still today I remember him well. Kind, caring, easy to know, and very creative. A pleasure to be around, always had a smile. It’s difficult to have a former student pass, he had given the world much and had so much more to give.

  11. Bill’s friendship and humor have positively affected so many people over the short span of years that we all enjoyed his company. I can’t help but smile when I think about him. Love and peace to you, Mary Jo and Brian.

  12. My heart is heavy with the news of Bill’s passing. He brought so much joy and laughter to many people’s lives. He was such a great talent. It saddens me that we lost touch but he will always be a part of who I am today. He will never be forgotten. RIP my friend. Fly free.

  13. I went to High School with Bill. He was a great guy, always fun loving! My heart goes out to you, Brian, and to your entire family. May God hold you all close at this most difficult time. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers.

  14. This hits me hard. I can’t really articulate how much Bill meant to me – and in fact – the stories I would tell about him to my friends, they wouldn’t believe me. They thought I made Bill up, like he was an imaginary friend! We had so many great laughs together. I’ve been listening to Hall & Oats “Rich Girl” because I know he loved that song. Thank you for being a friend, Bill. I’ll cherish the memories forever.

  15. I feel blessed to have been one of Bill’s friends throughout these last 20 years. Still amazing to think he was fighting cancer for 14 of them because Bill faced it with such courage. His strength was inspiring, as was his limitless sense of humor—always choosing to laugh and have fun rather than complain. I miss you so very much, Bill. Rest in peace.

  16. Mary-Jo & Family, I am so very sorry to hear of the death of your son. The numerous discussions we had at work about “our boys” and how proud you are of your family. Hoping that prayers and keeping all of you in our thoughts will afford you some small comfort. It is quite apparent that Bill has taken on your humor and great people skills in his dealings in life. So very sorry for your loss, jon adams

  17. My Dear Mary Jo,

    My heart aches for you at the loss of your son.

    I just want you to know that I will pray for God’s grace and understanding, and also that you and your family will find peace and comfort in such a difficult time.

    You are a wonderful educator, instructor, mentor and friend. I hurt for you. Just please know that I am sending my love and prayers.

    Mark Fischer – Mandan, ND, Radiographic Student 90-92

  18. I am so sorry for your loss. I knew Bill in high school. Not well, but enough to know what a gentle and kind soul he was. My heart and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  19. To my son Bill- you are one of the kindest unselfish people I have ever known in my 80 years. It was an honor to be able to say you are my son. It is hard to understand why God wanted you with him so soon but knowing that Bob is at your side is comforting. You will always have a special place in my heart. Love you always, Dad
    (and Rae Ann)

  20. Mary Jo and Brian,
    We send our love at this most difficult time and for those moments that will follow.

  21. Condolences to Bill’s friends and family. I knew Bill well at MSU. We always joked that we had the exact same hair. It was the 90’s…. 🙂 He was so fun to be with. I will always be sorry I didn’t keep in touch with him. What a great person he was. Rest in Peace Bill.

  22. Marilyn and Jim Ireland

    Gary, we are so sorry for the great loss of your son, Bill. We will always remember him and the many good times at the cabin. Bill had a very quiet, calm and kind way about him. He was a son to be proud of. He has been called home now and is safe in the arms of Jesus. We will remember Bill and Bob often in prayer. You are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you.

  23. All I remember is laughter. Bill lit up a room and probably a lot of lives. He will be missed by many. My thoughts and prayers to Bill’s family and to his friends.

    RIP Bill

  24. I really enjoyed working with Bill at Larsen Design. He had such a wry sense of humor that kept you on your toes. I moved on to another agency but would hear about Bill through Liina. What a resilient guy…14 years! Rest in peace.

  25. My deepest condolences. Our paths crossed but only a few times and ever so briefly but I have very distinct, happy memories of you and Bob and Brian. Sending prayers to Gary, Brian and all those mourning your loss. Keep watch over them from heaven.

  26. Mary Jo and Gary,
    Jackie and I are so sorry to hear that Bill has lost his courageous battle with brain cancer. We will aways remember Bill as the very gentle person we knew as a child. The video tribute brought back many of those memories and many of the comments in this guestbook reinforce his kind and gentle spirit as an adult as well. Our prayers are with you and your loved ones during this difficult time.

  27. Dear Mary Jo and Brian,
    Although I didn’t know Bill personally, I do know him through you and the many wonderful
    comments I have read. You are in our thoughts and prayers daily. I read this beautiful quote the other day and want to share it with you. “Those we love don’t go away. They walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, and love leaves a memory no one can steal.” Remember this Mary Jo, goodbyes simply mean “I’ll miss you till we meet again .” Take care my friend, and we love you.

  28. Bill was such a kind and caring person. He will be remembered fondly and often. I loved working with Bill, and often chuckled at his wit and wry humor. He was the “fun” in any office party. We will all miss him!

  29. Bill was a thoughtful and talented designer. I worked with him at Larsen Design and enjoyed his quiet sense of humor, insight and kindness. His presence in the world is missed.

  30. Dear Mary Jo & family, Dale and I were saddened to see news of Bill’s passing. We are keeping you in our prayers through this awfully tough time. With you at his side, Bill fought the hard fight for a long time. How amazing was your strength and utter love of a mother for her son and family through these years. Our thoughts are with you as you say goodbye to Bill for now, XXO Dale and Polly

  31. Mary Jo and family,

    I have no words of wisdom with which to comfort you, but many memories I could share. Bill was a big part of our lives for several years. I still see him and Chad come busting in the house for a quick dorito sandwich on their lunch hour from high school!

    A couple years ago we had the pleasure of having him join us for “pepper soup” which he loved. You were blessed with a very special son and he was a gift to you.

    God’s peace and blessings,

  32. My deepest sympathy to Bill’s family.

    Never a more gentle soul have I had the pleasure to share life with. Whether it was sledding down a hill on a sheet of ice, making a snowman reminiscent of a Calvin and Hobbes strip, or simply tossing rocks into the river, your child-like wonder, outlook, and manner will be deeply missed. I hope your next journey is filled with as much wonderment and passion. You are deeply missed and loved by many.

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