H.C. “Doc” Retzlaff, 98, died Friday, February, 12, 2016, at Bethany Homes in Fargo. He was a “character” to all who knew him, and simply died of too many birthdays.
Harvey was born on April 4, 1917, in Cooperstown, ND, and was raised in Jesse, ND. He earned a teaching certificate from Mayville State Teachers College in 1935, a BA from Minot State Teachers College in 1943, and a PhD from UND in 1956. He spent World War II in the US Army with the Signal Corps Photographic Center on Long Island, NY, as a photographer.
Before and just after the war, he was a music teacher and school superintendent throughout North Dakota including Killdeer, Souris, Glenburn, Cando, Hope, Page, and Rothsay (MN). His favorite memories were of leading bands, orchestras, and men’s choruses in Hope and Page in the late 1940’s. He had many stories of directing a group on the bandstand in the center of town on a hot summer night. Later, he taught college at Ellendale and Aberdeen, rising to Chair the Sociology Department at Jamestown. He continued with music even in these years directing groups such as the Jamestown American Legend Drum and Bugle Corps. He delighted in telling the story of leading them in a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.
Harvey is survived by his sons Alan and Paul, his daughter Anne, his beloved daughters-in-law Sandy and Denise, grandchildren Charlie, Brittanny, Brendan, and Nikolai, great-granddaughters McKenna and Chloe, and his “perfect” great-grandson Nolan. He was preceded in death by both of his sisters, Vivian and Cleona, and Olive Retzlaff, to whom he had been married for many years.
Harvey’s family would like to extend their appreciation to Bethany Homes of Fargo, his VA Home-based Primary Care team, and Hospice of Red River Valley. All made it possible for him to live well to the age of 98.
Harvey will be resting in peace at Riverside Cemetery in Fargo.