Peter & Carol (St. George) Marchand, age 93 and age 88, respectively, of Bagley, MN. Peter passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 5th, and Carol on Monday, February 6th, at Essentia Health Living Center in Fosston. A Memorial Mass celebrating both of their lives will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 22nd, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Bagley with Father JohnMelkies Suvakeen presiding. Interment will be in St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery, Bagley. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a Rosary at 6:30 p.m. followed by a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. on Friday (July 21st) and for one hour prior to the service on Saturday. All visitation and services will be held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Bagley. Military honors for Peter will be provided by the Irvin-Blix American Legion Post #16 of Bagley and the Air Force Honors Team. Arrangements are with Carlin Family Funeral Service of Fosston. Messages of condolence may be shared and a live-stream of the service viewed at www.carlinfuneral.com.
Peter George Marchand was born March 27th, 1929, in Rice, MN. Carol Lois St. George Marchand was born August 5th, 1934 in Bagley, MN. Peter attended high school at Bemidji High School, graduating in 1947. Following graduation, Peter attended Bemidji State University-then known as Bemidji State Teacher’s College-graduating in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in Education. Following a year of study at Northern Michigan University, he received a fellowship to attend the Graduate School of Notre Dame in 1967, graduating with a double master’s degree in Art History and Near Eastern studies. Carol graduated from Bagley High School in 1953, and attended Bemidji State Teacher’s College from 1953 to 1955, majoring in Education and Music. Peter and Carol were wed October 15th, 1953 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Bagley. They raised five children; Stephanie (Sayler), Peter, Susan (Roland), Priscilla (Waterhouse), and Jonathan. Apart from brief stints away for graduate study, Peter and Carol lived at the family farm south of Bagley for nearly all of their sixty-nine years of marriage.
Peter taught at Bagley High School for a total of forty-three years, forty full time and three post-retirement teaching the Humanities class. He was involved as a local lecturer, Vice Chair and educator with Northern Exposure to Lifelong Learning (NELL) for ten years after teaching his final high school class, bringing his total teaching years in the community to fifty three. Among the many subjects he taught were 20th Century World History, Ancient World, World Religions, Sociology, and the Humanities. Among his many duties and activities during his time at the district, Peter was the teacher advisor of the Bagley High School Yearbook, which was entirely student drafted, edited, and published. He was also President of the Teacher’s Union for several years and was a staunch advocate and firm negotiator for his fellow teaching peers. Along with two tribal representatives, Peter was instrumental in authoring the licensing standards for the State of Minnesota Teacher’s Board regarding human rights and dignity pertaining to Native Americans. Peter was an active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for many years, having been a Lector, Lay Minister, and Church Board member. Peter also worked for the Rural Energy Association with the Electrify American program as an electrician, working to supply power to homes in rural Minnesota, and to restore power to storm-darkened households. As strong as his love for teaching was Peter’s love of farming. He spent countless hours attending to every aspect of the family farm, from constructing buildings, to stringing fence, raising livestock, fixing machinery, harvesting alfalfa, and keeping painstakingly detailed farm ledgers. He often helped many neighbors to cut and haul hay, and was nearly (but not quite) a match for the Hromidko girls when it came to tossing bales, especially Loretta. Peter loved his tractors, his old cars, tuning in a Twins game on a Summer night as he tinkered in the garage, and most of all, he adored his wife.
Carol was a Teacher’s Aide at Bagley Elementary School for thirty-six years. Her understated and delicate care for the children she worked with did not go unnoticed by the classroom teachers she assisted, as attested by the numerous cards, notes, and small gifts of thanks she received during her career. Carol hid these treasures away in unassuming boxes, seldom displaying them, in keeping with her unostentatious and private nature. She was a quiet and reserved yet fierce and formidable union representative for 20 years for the Bagley Elementary Teacher’s Aide union. Stories persist of how she drove many hours through blizzard conditions to attend a particular hearing, the outcome of which was positively affected by her essential participation. In her childhood, her father-John St. George-was bedridden for a number of years after being severely electrocuted. During this time, Carol took over the milk parlor duties for her family, and effectively became a dairy farmer before even reaching her teenage years. At times, once chores were done, she would cover herself with a large horse blanket and sleep on the back of their draft horse while it walked her to school.
Carol first began playing organ for St Joseph’s Catholic Church in 1942, after being recognized by the Sisters of St. Joseph as an astute prospect to be a long term organ player for the parish. She would play three services every Sunday, between Bagley, Shevlin, and Lake Itasca. She continued as the principal organist for decades until her retirement from active music duty. Her innate understanding of organ music was a reliable mainstay for every priest who had the pleasure of having Carol at the keys. Whether for special occasions such as weddings and funerals, seasonal times such as Christmas and Easter, children’s music before each day of Summer Bible School, or simply just church service, Carol’s organ playing was always tasteful, nuanced, mindful, and a deep comfort for families when a family member had passed. Carol also took great joy in making fancy pastries for the ladies auxiliary. Carol had boundless patience and quiet confidence that were both reassuring and comforting at exactly the right time. She was fond of tiny, delicate nick-nacks and her treasured FiestaWare collection. Each item in their home had a very deliberate and purposeful place, and when cleaned would be put back in its exact proper place. She loved wildflowers, birds (Hummingbirds in particular), mowing her sprawling lawn, and enjoying the simple pleasures of a rural, pastoral life. Above all, she loved her husband.
Peter and Carol’s marriage was meant to be. They spent their years together raising their family, caring for their neighbors, dedicatedly working for the school district, keeping up the farm, traveling together in their camper, and simply being together as they aged. Carol doted on Peter, making sure he ate all his breakfast and took his morning medications, and not letting him have too many cookies. Peter would often refer to Carol as “My little Chickadee”, and Carol would always fix Peter’s collar before they ever left the house. In their twilight years, Peter was content to sit next to Carol and hold her hand as they both dozed. Carol Lois Marchand passed away on February 6th of 2023, and Peter George Marchand shortly after on March 5th; inseparable to the last.