Ralph Vigoren, age 70, of Gully, MN, passed away on Monday, May 22nd, after a brief battle with colon cancer at Essentia Hospital in Fosston. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31st, at Bethel Assembly Church in Fosston with Pastor Seth Johnson officiating. Interment will be in Froen Cemetery, rural Fosston. Visitation will be held from Noon until 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday (31st) at the church. Arrangements are with Carlin Family Funeral Service of Fosston. Messages of condolence may be sent and a live-stream of the service viewed at www.carlinfuneral.com. Memorials will be donated to the Sand Hill Lake Bible Camp.
From Ralph… I was born May 19, 1953, in Fosston, MN, to Ole & Ruth (Mickelson) Vigoren. I attended the Sunnyside one-room school in Queen Township through 6th grade. In 1971, I graduated from Fosston High School. During the 70s, and throughout high school, I worked at Hartz in Fosston for Poop Offerdahl. I enjoyed this job because it gave me the opportunity to visit with people in the community. At Christmas we sold lutefisk out of wood barrels at the back of the store. In the fall of 1971, I attended Thief River Falls Vocational School for the trade of welding. After graduating, I worked as a welder for two years at United States Steel in Mountain Iron, Minnesota. Kay, Andrea, and I lived outside of Virginia, MN, during this time. After a move back to the Fosston area, I worked as a farm hand for my father-in-law, Lloyd, for four years. After that, I started at American Crystal Sugar in Crookston where I welded for 28 years, all while raising four children. During a chance encounter while upgrading my cell phone, I started visiting with Ken Charpentier. This led to a job with Charps Welding and Fabricating in Clearbrook, MN, which I held for 9 years. This job gave me the opportunity to travel across the U.S. and see sites I had never seen. I took advantage of being able to visit with friends and family along the way. Charps Welding and Fabricating was very good to me, and I enjoyed the friendships that I made. My health issues arose in a quick hurry in 2015, forcing me into early retirement.
During the 1980s through mid 2000, I worked in the Royal Ranger Ministry at Bethel Assembly Church. As a young teenager I accepted Christ Jesus as my personal savior…I have made plenty of mistakes along the way. I love the Grace of God! Reading the Bible has always been a very important part of my life. I am not ashamed of that. The book of Romans is probably my favorite. It leads sinners to Christ, and I’ve been a big one. One of my favorite songs is The Old Rugged Cross.
I married Kay Roed on January 27, 1974, and together we had four children; Andrea Ruth, Jill Margaret, Beth Marie, and Nathan Michael. We homesteaded the old Moen property overlooking Vigoren Lake in the late 1970s. My mom and dad lived on the other side of Vigoren Lake which was always very special to me and my kids. In 1997 I married Judy Benbo.
I enjoyed spending time with my grandchildren–fishing, hunting, camping, picking blueberries, racing the kids down the driveway, and building derby cars. So many wonderful memories come to my mind. Wednesday nights I had the blessed opportunity to drive them home after church. This gave me time to catch up on what was new with them and share a laugh or two. I tried to keep up with all their activities and sporting events. A few years ago, grandson Angus helped me plant over 200 trees.
Thank you for the gift of prayer. Prayer touches the heart of God. I have been on a journey medically. Like it says in the book of James 4:13, we don’t know what tomorrow holds but I do know who holds my future and his name is Jesus.
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me, my family, and those who have been a friend along this journey. This is not goodbye, but until we meet again.
In his last years, Dad enjoyed driving buses for the Fosston and Win-E-Mac school districts. He enjoyed being able to sneak into a game when driving the sports buses. Last year, the kids broke out singing, “Happy Birthday” on the track bus. Whenever kids got a little rowdy on his bus routes, he’d simply pull over and patiently wait for them to settle knowing the older kids, who were often in a rush to get home, would help settle the younger ones. And, of course, there were always a few special kids that pulled at his heartstrings with an extra hug and a kind word or two.
Dad had a love for birds. He would educate us on all the different birds, the songs they would sing, and what kinds of trees we needed to attract certain birds. He enjoyed making oriole feeders, martin houses (that were always full), and watching the swans on Vigoren Lake who, this year, made a nest right by his house. He kept track of all the sharp tail and pheasants in the area, and hoped to set up wood duck houses by the lake.
In the last weeks of his life, he stressed not putting off any plans we had, but to make them happen for we don’t know what tomorrow holds. He continued to share his faith with us and told us not to worry because he was going to a better place than we could ever imagine. He shared stories about Grandma and what a hard worker she was. He liked to talk about the days of growing up with Sharon, Steve, and all the Olson Cousins. Sunnyside school was a special time for him and he shared lots of stories of his time there. The last couple of weeks were hard but special, and we were happy to have shared that time with him.
I am survived by my four children, Andrea (Charlie) Anderson, Jill (Tim) Saeter, Beth Vigoren, Nathan (Siri) Vigoren; 11 grandchildren: Courtney Shaver, Caden Shaver, Angus Vigoren-Clark, Gretchen Anderson, Braelyn Saeter, Lydia Saeter, Lucas Saeter, Amelia Vigoren, Leland Vigoren, Magnus Vigoren, Loretta Vigoren; one great grandchild, Oaklynn Kay; brothers Omer (Reta), Vernon (Patti), Gary, Lowell (Fay), and Steve (Sheila); sisters Wyonne (Ken), and Sharon (Ken); many wonderful nieces, nephews, and other family members. I was preceded in death by parents Ole and Ruth Vigoren; brother Donald, and infant brother Darryl; sisters-in-law Diana, Shirley, Judy, and niece Shannon.