Order Flowers

Dwight Tober

June 04, 1951 - November 27, 2017

Prayer Service - Friday, December 8, 2017

December 08, 2017
- 7:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo

Visitation - Friday, December 8, 2017

December 08, 2017
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo

Memorial Service - Saturday, December 9, 2017

December 09, 2017
- 2:00 PM

Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo


Boulger Funeral Home

Dwight Tober

June 04, 1951 - November 27, 2017


Dwight A. Tober, 66, West Fargo formerly Bismarck, North Dakota passed away Monday, November 27, 2017 at his home surrounded by his family and under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Dwight was born June 4, 1951 in Beardsley, Minnesota to Otto and Leona Frieda Bertha (Minners) Tober. He attended Beardsley Country School and graduated from Clinton High School in 1969.

Dwight grew up working on family farm (near Beardsley MN) and worked for neighboring farmers, and as a seasonal employee at Big Stone Lake State Park.

He graduated from South Dakota State University at Brookings in 1973, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Botany/Range Management; and graduated from New Mexico State University at Las Cruces in 1978 with a Master of Science in Range Ecology.

On May 19, 1990, he married the love of his life Loa Risch at the First Lutheran Church in Mandan, ND. Loa was originally from the Kansas City, MO area and was working for SCS at the time. They lived in Bismarck with Loa’s children, Erica and Brian. Loa also had 2 stepsons from a previous marriage that lived in Smithville, MO who came to visit in summers years back – Allen and Chris Risch. In 1994, they purchased a small acreage northeast of Bismarck and called it “Bluestem Hills”. They had a home built on the acreage and Dwight especially enjoyed the time he spent planting hundreds of trees, bushes and seeding native grass and wildflowers. Many photos of these projects were used in various USDA publications over the years.

After receiving his graduate degree from NMSU he started working for USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS) as a range conservationist at Pierre, SD in 1978. He then transferred to the Plant Materials Center in 1979 in Bismarck, ND where he worked at the Plant Materials Center until 1998. He served as the manager for 14 years. He transferred in 1998 as plant materials specialist for ND, SD and MN. SCS changed their name in 1994 to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. He was a career member of the Society for Range Management (SRM).

He also received a National Award from SRM in 2001 for Outstanding Achievement. Dwight spent much of his career developing new varieties of plants for conservation and authoring/co-authoring many publications on conservation plant technology. Dwight had a special passion for native plants. Dwight retired from NRCS in 2011, due to his medical condition progressing and spent more time working on his acreage that he loved.

Dwight was diagnosed with Ataxia, 10 years ago. It progressed slowly at first then more rapidly over the last 5 years. Dwight courageously battled this devastating condition, until the past month when he was hospitalized and came home on hospice.

Spending time with family was very important and he enjoyed reading, gardening and working with native plants and wildflowers and going kayaking. His grandchildren liked to refer to him as the grandpa that was always dirty because he was always working outside and dirty from the garden, planting and moving trees or mowing, etc. Dwight enjoyed reading about and traveling to wilderness areas, especially the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northeast Minnesota; and the Missouri River.

Dwight considered himself blessed with children, Brian and Erica and his grandsons Kaden and Tharin and most recently his granddaughter Sharlotte. He was incredibly active with the kids; always playing ball of any sort, taking them fishing, hunting, camping, working in the garden and walking the dogs while he still could. He enjoyed doing puzzles and reading books with them. He loved watching the kids and grandkids sporting events throughout the years, rarely missing a game. Education was very important to him; and he was especially proud when Erica graduated from the University of Mary, Brian from UND and Kaden also now attending UND.

He will be remembered as a very kind, humble and caring person, a devoted husband, a wonderful father to Erica and Brian and a very great grandfather to Kaden and Tharin who he helped in raising, and to Sharlotte that he enjoyed so much since her birth in April. He will also be remembered as a range conservationist that made a very lasting impression on so many people and friends and family. He recently had a plant release named after him which made him so proud and honored.

He is survived by his wife Loa, West Fargo, ND; daughter Erica McCray (Chris) and her children Kaden, Tharin, and Sharlotte of West Fargo, ND; son, Brian Risch (Jenny Roper) of St Paul, MN; one brother, Darrell Tober (Ardelle) of Long Lake MN; two sisters – Marlys Homrighausen (Gary) of Ortonville, MN, and Lynette “Bunnie” Walker, Apple Valley, MN; 3 sisters-in-law Susan Pollard (Jack) Centerview, MO; Jenny Stewart and Tom Young, Cotopaxi, CO; Becky Dahl (Kirk), Seabrook, TX; 2 brothers-in-law, Ned Stewart (Joy), Collins, MO; Jeff Stewart (Kari), Loveland CO; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Otto and Leona Tober.

Dwight’s family prefers memorials to: The Bonanza Education Center, Big Stone Lake State Park, Ortonville, Minnesota; or the ND Chapter of the Society for Range Management (Youth activities – Plant Identification Team or Youth Range Camp).

Prayer Service: 7:00 P.M. Friday, December 8, 2017 at Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo with visitation starting at 6:00 P.M.

Celebration of Dwight’s Life: 2:00 P.M. Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo with visitation starting at 1:00 P.M.


Comments are not displayed until approved by a member of our staff.

23 responses to “Dwight Tober”

  1. Jackie and Ken Miller says:

    Loa and family,

    Ken and I are so very sorry about your great loss. Dwight definitely was a very kind, considerate, and caring person. He will be missed by many.

  2. Dennis Froemke says:

    Dwight was the nicest man I knew. He will be missed by so many for a long time…. We were all blessed to know him and we are all now hurt to have lost him so early. I can only imagine the sadness and pain his family has and will go through during his passing. I am so sorry for your loss.

    Dennis a fellow Range Conservationist

  3. Carol Peterson says:

    So sorry to hear about Dwight’s passing. Many prayers coming your way.

  4. Noel Frank says:

    I very much enjoyed my work with Dwight. We shared passion for the native plant materials and restoration efforts. Even though we were physically very far apart we still stayed in touch from time to time on plant materials issues which we both cared deeply about. He was a very good person.

    Noel Frank
    District Conservationist, Steele and Waseca Counties, SE Minnesota

  5. Kari Jo Lawrence says:

    Condolences to the Tober family and his USDA family. I always enjoyed my time at the Plant Materials Center and learning from Dwight.

  6. Jerry Kaiser says:

    Dwight was a great plant materials person and resource for the program. He helped me on a number of issues when I started as the Plant Materials Specialist in Missouri. His legacy is enduring for the three states he served as manager and specialist and for the National PM program.

    Jerry Kaiser
    Plant Materials Specialist for Missouri, Iowa and Illinois.

  7. Pam.walter@nd.usda.gov says:

    Dwight was a very personalble man. Enjoyed working with him. Pam Walter

  8. David Burgdorf says:

    Dwight, was a great guy, friend and co-worker. Always was there to help me out in my early career in the Plant Materials Program. My many thoughts now, are of Dwight. Also of the family while your lives come together during these times. Will miss him, but he will always be in my memories. Sincerely, Dave Burgdorf

  9. Darrell Vig, Spearfish, SD says:

    My sympathy to the family. I was working in Gettysburg w SCS when I met Dwight. We both grew up in the same general area & attended SDSU. He was a great person & very knowledgeable. Enjoyed the time we spent together.

  10. Gene Waterson says:

    Very sorry to hear of your loss! I met Dwight at SDSU and developed a friendship through our range management classes with professor Tex Lewis and later years with the agency(SCS/NRCS). Always a joy to see and visit. A great man with a passion for sharing knowledge!!

  11. Jim Kramer says:

    I met Dwight while we worked for the SCS in Bismarck, he and I attend the annual SRM meeting when it was in Tulsa, OK. He did most of the driving back home, because he said he used to drive truck and enjoyed night driving. Let’s see, friendly, passion for range;he loved to talk range ecology, all around nice guy, and no doubt a great father and grandpa. my life has been blessed to know him. Our prayers for all of his friends and family is that Jesus will hold all of close and send great friends to help lighten the load as you grieve for him.

    Jim Kramer, former ND range con. & certified range consultant

  12. Mike Bellon says:

    Dwight was a nice man and boss I worked with him at the USDA NRCS PMC. Sorry to see him go.

  13. Tim Nordquist, Conservation/Forage Agronomist says:

    I had a many year association with Dwight while working first for SCS, and then for NRCS. On a daily basis his efforts in the science (and art) of plant materials continues to touch me, and hundreds of other natural resource professionals well beyond his three state area of responsibility . It will continue to touch untold thousands currently benefiting from the fruits of labors. If ever a man leaves behind a enduring legacy, Dwight surely has.

  14. Bill Bronder, Sherburne SWCD says:

    I am so sorry to learn of Dwight’s passing. In 1998 he helped us establish a plant materials evaluation site in Sherburne County, Minnesota. From then until his retirement, we looked forward to his arriving each spring with a van load of trees and shrubs to be planted and his return in the fall to evaluate the plantings. His encouragement and assistance helped us to develop our prairie restoration program that has resulted in more than 1000 acres of prairie restoration. Dwight was a true conservationist and the world is a better place for him having been in it.

  15. Tina Schaller Quin says:

    Aunt Loa and family, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  16. Anita Kopitzke and Family says:

    Reading through other comments there is certainly a theme of a kind , loving and sweet man – exactly my thoughts as I remember Dwight.
    This a trip Gary and I cannot make right now.
    Let our prayers warm your saddened hearts.
    Loving thoughts, Anita

  17. George and Kay Eslinger says:

    We were so very sorry to learn of Dwight’s passing. He was such a kind and friendly man. His dedication to his family shows through in Erica and Brian and the grandkids. The video was such a nice tribute to to him. (Kadon, you have certainly grown to be a tall, handsome young man since 5th grade!) Our thoughts and prayers will be with you all in the days ahead. With our deepest sympathy.

  18. Donna and Duane Ritter says:

    Loa and family. I just viewed the slide show. It is absolutely awe inspiring. I didn’t know Dwight well, but I never heard anything bad about him . You must be so proud of all of his accomplishments. My heart goes out to all of you as well as prayers. He was indeed a good man, not soon to be forgotten if ever.

  19. Susan Stewart Pollard says:

    Our whole family has lost one very, very special man; husband to, Loa, my sister, father to Erica and Brian, and grandfather to Kaden, Tharin, and Sharlotte Lola. Dwight set the example of how to live life to its fullest!

  20. Carolee (Cordes) Wallin says:

    So sorry to hear of Dwight’s passing. I was a classmate of Marlys’ and we were best friends while I was at Clinton. I spent many hours at the Tober household in my years at Clinton. although I didn’t know Dwight very well…the Tobers were like my second family. To Darrell, Marlys, Bunny and your families, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Dwight truly sounded like a wonderful man. I have to add that I loved the video…was fun to see and enjoy. Whomever put it together did a great job and wonderful music as well.

  21. Russ Haas says:

    Loa and family,
    I was fortunate to know Dwight for nearly forty years. Twenty of that we worked together as Bismarck Plant Materials Center Manager and later Plant Materials Specialist for the North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota NRCS (SCS) Plant Materials Programs. From the time I first met Dwight in 1979, I knew there was something special about him.
    He was dedicated, hard working, well organized, thoughtful and thorough. He was never one to make snap decisions that he might regret . His usual response was “ let me think about it”.
    I was relieved when he followed me as PMC Manager and later as Plant Materials Specialist, for I knew the programs would be in good hands as long as he was in charge.
    Dwight had a steady easy going demeanor. I rarely recall him raising his voice, having the appearance of being visibly upset or even saying anything negative about anyone. He usually greeted you with a smile and “Howdy Russ”.
    I have fond memories of the many road trips; the many, many miles we drove together; the numerous seed /plant collections, plantings/seedings; test site evaluations in ND, SD MN and at the PMC.
    During private times together, the discussion would inevitably turn to his family. It was very obvious he cared deeply and was very proud of them all.
    We had similar interests and goals and would frequently challenge each other “Botanizing” (identification and discussion of native grass/shrub/forb species we would encounter in the field). He usually won.
    I admired Dwight for his strong desire to educate anyone who would listen on range ecology and native plants. Work at field test locations and the PMC always included an invitation to field office personnel and students to assist him and benefit from his mentoring.
    Dwight was well respected by his peers for his skills as a technical writer and presenter. I was always proud to have my name appear with his when we co-authored technical publications and/or shared the podium. He was respected as a leader in native plant materials research and development. He was a soft spoken man of few words, but when he spoke everyone listened.
    Dwight has certainly left a legacy by his thoughts, actions and words. The world would be a much better place if there were more like him.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

    Russ and Mary Haas
    NRCS –SCS (ret)

  22. Carel Two-Eagle says:

    Dwight was a dear man & always helpful to me as I sought sweetgrass & other plants central to my Lakota culture. I found he had passed while looking for something plant-related. He was a gem & will be missed & remembered well.

  23. Terry Week, Beach ND says:

    I met Dwight during the fall of 1969. We were both Freshman at SDSU. Dwight, myself and his roommate Doug Nelson would go out and eat supper on Sunday nights. We had a lot in common coming from rural
    America. We lost touch with one another after the first year. I ran into Dwight at a range judging contest
    in Bismarck in the late eighties. We talked for 15 minutes and than we went our separate ways. He was
    definitely a good guy. I don’t think he ever entertained a mean thought. In a lot of ways, he was like my dad.

    Terry Week
    Beach ND

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *