1. Most of the photos in this section are obtained from Jean Siirila and her helpers on the showbook committee. Thank you Jean and crew!

Keith Bjornson

Discussion in 'Tributes' started by Jerry Christiansen, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Keith A. Bjornson
    1951 - 2018

    Keith A. Bjornson, 67, of Fargo, ND, passed away on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at his home.

    Keith Allan Bjornson was born September 23, 1951 to Allan J. and Dorothy A. (Janssen) Bjornson in Moorhead, MN. He spent his youth on a small dairy/grain farm in Park Township south of Hawley, MN. Keith was active in 4-H, FFA, band and especially enjoyed playing football at Hawley High School.

    After graduating from high school in 1969 he began studies in dairy science at the University of Minnesota Crookston. In August of 1970 an unfortunate diving accident broke Keith’s neck at the cervical level leaving him a quadriplegic. The first day he was in a wheelchair was his 19th birthday in 1970. His rehabilitation was completed at St. Luke’s Hospitals Fargo as well as Sister Kenny Institute in Minneapolis.

    In the fall of 1971 Keith was able to continue his education at Southwest Minnesota State University at Marshall Minnesota. He completed his baccalaureate degree in Business and Agricultural Economics in 1974. At that time he had obtained one of the first wheelchair lift equipped vans and began driving again. The independence provided by the van allowed Keith to move to New Horizons Manner in North Fargo.

    Looking for full-time employment was a frustrating experience but he began working full-time at Valley Harvestore Systems of Hawley in September of 1975. In 1978 he married Sherry J Adams and they moved to Hawley Minnesota shortly thereafter. In 1980 Keith began working for the US Small Business Administration in the North Dakota District Office.

    The Minnesota Jaycees recognized Keith as one of 10 Outstanding Young Minnesotans in 1981. In 1985 the federal government recognized Keith as one of 10 outstanding federal employees nationwide.

    Sherry and Keith adopted their son Timothy in August of 1995. In 1996 they bought their home in South Fargo and with the help of friends modified it for Keith’s access needs.

    Keith’s work at the SBA evolved from servicing farm and business loans to guarantee loan originations for 20 years. The last five years at the SBA included being a lender liaison/trainer for the entire state as loan processing had been centralized in California. Keith did several training and update seminars around the state and monthly would present a web-based training program to all participating lenders in North Dakota.

    Developing health problems led to his retirement after 30 years with the SBA in 2010. Keith was certainly gratified by the well wishes and gathering of his “banker buddies” at his retirement.

    Upon his retirement Keith became more involved with Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living a nonprofit information and referral/advocacy group for people with disabilities. Sherry and Keith were both involved as mentors to other people with disabilities.

    Also, later in life Keith began hunting whitetail deer with the United Foundation for Disabled Archers (UFFDA) which sponsors a hunt for people with physical disabilities.

    Throughout their entire married life Keith and Sherry worked together as a team to live independently. Sherry provided all of Keith’s personal care needs even in the hospital setting.

    Keith is survived by his wife Sherry and son Timothy at home in Fargo as well as his sister Karen (James Mark) Aakre of Underwood, Minnesota, sister Kristie Bjornson of Seattle, Washington, brother Kevin (Jane) Bjornson of rural Hawley, sister Kimberly (Leander) James of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as well as many nieces and nephews. Keith was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents and infant brother Kent.

    In lieu of flowers it is requested that all memorials be sent to Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living or the United Foundation for Disabled Archers.

    Visitation: Friday, November 16, 2018 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM with a prayer service beginning at 7:00 in Wright Funeral Home, Moorhead, MN.

    Memorial Service: Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 10:30 AM at Atonement Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND.

    Burial will be in Hegland Lutheran Church Cemetery, rural Hawley, MN.
    acihc4oeo likes this.
  2. M Kerkvliet

    M Kerkvliet WMSTR Past President Administrator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Keith (working with Jerry) was instrumental in upgrading many facilities on the WMSTR show grounds to accommodate people with mobility issues.

    Our sincere sympathy to Sherry and his family.
    Jerry Christiansen likes this.
  3. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Hi all,

    Keith's burial is scheduled for 2 pm Saturday, 10 August 2019 at the Hegland Cemtery, 25494 40th Ave S, Hawley.
    Hegland Church is about 7 miles north of Rollag and 1/2 mile west.

    Jerry Christiansen

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