Obituary for Harold Goerdt
Harold was welcomed into the world by his father, August Walter Goerdt and mother, Emma Minnie (Walz) Goerdt on the family farm near the west central MN town of Wendell, on April 23, 1931, born minutes after his twin sister, Harriet (Marquardt). He joined older siblings Sylvester and Gladys (Olson) and later was blessed with a younger sister, Violet (McFadden). Growing up on the farm, Harold learned about hard work and commitment and also acquired many of the lifelong skills that were required for success on the farm: creativity, ingenuity and just plain common sense.
Harold enlisted in the US Army in 1952, serving 2 years and stationed in Germany as part of the post-World War II occupation. Following his honorable discharge, he returned to the farm for a few years and eventually followed Gladys, his older sister, to “the cities”, working several different jobs. Through mutual friends, he met the love of his life, Evelyn (Holmstadt) and they were married on October 13, 1956, in Plum City, WI.
Harold and Evelyn settled in south Minneapolis and purchased a small apartment building, where they resided. Around this time, Harold began working at Northwest Airlines, where he would work for the next 37 years. In 1958, their family began to grow with the addition of Vincent. With the prospects of a growing family on the horizon, the family moved to the burgeoning suburb of Bloomington in 1960. Ellen was born shortly after the move and over the next 4 years, Bill, Paul and Karen were added and the family was complete.
Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, Harold was the father to 5 kids with all the activities that came with this role. He volunteered with the local baseball organization to umpire games, he was a fill-in Cub Scout leader and attended countless musical performances for his kids. Eventually, all spare time became occupied with keeping tabs on his teenagers and keeping the fleet of family vehicles operational. Harold loved cards and taught all of his kids to play cribbage, which remains a staple of family gatherings. He also made regular trips to Las Vegas with a few close friends and, upon his return home, contended that he won slightly more than he lost. Family vacations consisted of cabin rentals with family friends and various trips made possible through his employment at Northwest: trips to Florida to visit family friends, a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, a trip to Hawaii, to name a few.
Harold retired from Northwest Airlines in 1993 and then began a very active volunteer life. Harold volunteered delivering meals for Meals on Wheels, he served meals to the needy through Loaves and Fishes, he rang the bell for the Salvation Army, he visited patients at the VA hospital in Minneapolis and volunteered for numerous church-related activities. His proudest service was participating in the Color Guard at the funerals of veterans at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, where he served for over 16 years. In addition, he was always quick to visit neighbors, friends or family who were sick or need of a hand. He helped his kids move into new homes many times, including the associated painting and other tinkering that was needed, all of which was a bit ironic considering he never moved after settling in Bloomington.
Harold loved people and could talk to anyone. As his family grew to include 14 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, he was often found manning the grill to feed the crew. He loved his family very much and we have great memories of him telling funny stories to the point where he’d get tears in his eyes, his voice pitch would rise and he was no longer able to speak – leaving the family in stitches.
Over the past few years, Harold has battled Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), which is a Parkinsons-like disease. The first obvious symptoms came from a sense of loss of balance. Over the years, the disease progressively impacted his independence. Evelyn cared for him at home up until very recently and their commitment to each other was an example to all who were blessed to witness it.
Harold was a lifelong Catholic and had a deep faith that his passing would result in a heavenly reunion with family and friends who have previously passed. He loved Jesus and passed on his Christian beliefs to his children.
Harold passed away peacefully on Tuesday, November 7th, surrounded by family. His presence will be missed but his legacy will remain.
Harold was preceded in death by his parents, August and Emma Goerdt, father and mother-in-law, Clarence and Margaret Holmstadt, his sister Gladys Olson, brothers-in-law Mickey Olson and Cyril McFadden and sister-in-law Joyce Goerdt.
Survived by wife, Evelyn; children, Vincent, Ellen (Steve) Fordahl, Bill (Mary), Paul (Sofi) and Karen (Javier) Larrea; grandchildren, Matt, Abby, Joe, Aaron, Emily, Sara, Phil, Ani, Ellie, Cristy, Justin, Madison, Andrew and Zoe; great-grandchildren, Maria, Javier, Isaiah, Philip and Clair; brother, Sylvester; twin sister, Harriet (Dale) Marquardt; sister, Violet McFadden; and many extended relatives and friends.
Mass of Christian Burial Monday, November 13th 11 AM at St. Richard’s Catholic Church 7540 Penn Ave. So. Visitation Sunday November 12th 4-7 PM at Gill Brothers Funeral Home 9947 Lyndale Ave. So. and one hour prior to mass at church. Private Interment Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials preferred to the family.