Kermit E. Bolstad

2012-08-11T00:00:00Z Kermit E. Bolstad The Billings Gazette
August 11, 2012 12:00 am

MEDICINE LAKE — Funeral services for Kermit E. Bolstad will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14. Pastor Johnette Grefe will officiate at the service at Medicine Lake Lutheran Church; interment, with military honors, will be in Medicine Lake Cemetery. Kermit died of cancer Wednesday evening, Aug. 8, at Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson; he was 77.

Born Sept. 30, 1934, on the family farm east of Homestead, Mont., Kermit was one of five children of Kinley and Nora (Nelson) Bolstad. He grew up on the farm and attended the first two years of high school in Medicine Lake, then transferred to Oak Grove Lutheran High School in Fargo, N.D., where he graduated. He attended Concordia and Augsburg Lutheran colleges in Minnesota for a time, majoring in music, where he sang in the choirs, took voice training, played baritone horn, and was required to learn the piano ... but he said that didn't work! He entered the U.S. Army March 17, 1954. He was a member of the Sixth Army's Pipe Band, which traveled extensively representing our country at a wide variety of functions and where he turned many a head in his kilt! After his discharge March 15, 1957, he returned to Homestead to help out on the farm, and later took an electrical course at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis. After receiving his certificate of completion at Dunwoody, Kermit worked as a custom combiner for a while along with his brother Don and friend Gordon Nelson. On May 7, 1961, he married Marilyn Snellman at the Bethel Free Lutheran Church, located at that time across from the Bolstad farm, east of Homestead. They lived on the farm until moving into Medicine Lake, where they have lived since.

In 1963 Kermit went to work at the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Over the next 27 years at the refuge, he did just about everything, blading roads and maintaining grounds, facilities, and equipment, and went to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia where he trained as a USFWS law enforcement officer. He was also trained as an instructor at Texas A&M to teach others heavy equipment operation. Kermit served his community on the local school board for 12 years, on his church council and through a variety of community events during his lifetime in Medicine Lake, and belonged to the Homestead American Legion. In 1990, Kermit retired after 30 years of federal service (three years in the military and 27 at the refuge). Since retirement, he has helped with farming operations and worked a number of seasons hauling sugar beets during Holly's campaign to the Sidney plant.

Baptized and confirmed as a devoted lifelong Lutheran, Kermit was active in the Homestead and Medicine Lake Lutheran churches, serving in all the offices, and was instrumental in acquiring, moving, and renovating the new church in Medicine Lake.

Always musical, Kermit was one of the founders and key members of the "Homestead Legionnaires," a vocal group that sang at countless events throughout northeast Montana and Northwestern North Dakota. He enjoyed hunting in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, both with the rifle and the bow. Always "there" for anyone who needed help or encouragement, Kermit's ready wit, sly grin, and gentle sense of humor was a staple part of the Medicine Lake community.

He and Marilyn love tending their yard and garden, and especially this year as his health failed he saw the bounty and beauty of his garden as a gift from God.

Kermit is survived by his wife, Marilyn, of Medicine Lake; his three daughters, Vickie and her husband, Zane Grimsrud, of Culbertson; Susan and her husband, Bill Fangmeier, of Great Falls, Mont.; and Sandi and her husband, Ed McIntosh, of Billings; and seven grandchildren, Cora and Christian Grimsrud, Abigail, Molly, and Madeline McIntosh, and Mackinley and Lydia Fangmeier. He is also survived by two brothers, Harold Bolstad, of Story City, Iowa, and Jim Bolstad and his wife, Adeline, of Plentywood; and by a sister, Marion Erdahl, of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Besides his parents, Kermit was preceded in death by a brother, Don, and his wife, Betty; Harold's wife, Pearl; and Marion's husband, Dale. He is also survived by numerous nephews and nieces, especially including Kermit's "special helper" Jon Bolstad; and by friends as close as family, Brett, Karen, Triston and Bailey McCrummen, of Billings.

Fulkerson Funeral Home of Plentywood has charge of arrangements.

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