Richard “Dick” Beitzel, 92, of Bemidji, MN died Monday, November 18, 2019 at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center.
Memorial Services will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, November 25, 2019 at First Lutheran Church, Bemidji with Pastor Linnea Papke-Larson officiating. Family will greet friends one hour prior to the service at the church. Inurnment will be in Greenwood Cemetery, Bemidji.
Richard Earl Beitzel was born to Christian H. and Hazel M. (Kjer) Beitzel on February 13, 1927 in Hiles, Wisconsin. In 1930, Dick’s father joined the Indian Service and the family moved to North Dakota, first to Fort Totten and then Elbowoods in 1936. Dick had many great adventures growing up as a minority kid on the Mandan reservation. When Dick finished 11th grade in 1944, he convinced his parents to allow him to enlist in the Navy so as not to miss out on WW2. While in the US Navy, he served in California and on an LST ship in the Central Pacific. In 1952 his college studies were interrupted when he was recalled to active duty for the Korean war.
Dick met Josephine Stennes at a Lutheran Student mixer at Minot State and they married in December of 1950 in Hendrum, Minn.
Dick earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Minot State University in 1950, a Master of Arts Degree from Colorado State University (Greeley) in 1953, and later a PhD in Science Education from the University of Iowa in 1963.
Dick taught junior high school science in Adams City, Colorado and chemistry and physics in Waterloo, Iowa before joining the faculty of Bemidji State College in 1957. At Bemidji State, Dick was a Professor of Chemistry, Department Chair of Chemistry, and for ten years the Academic Vice President.
Dick was very active in the Bemidji community serving 15 years as chairman of the Bemidji Planning Commission, as a member of the Bemidji Charter commission and as board member for the Greenwood Cemetery. Other community involvement included Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, member and past president of First Lutheran Church; member and past commander of American Legion‘s Ralph Gracie Post 14; member and past president of the Bemidji Lions Club, member of the 40 and-8, member of the Ralph Gracie Honor Guard, and lifetime member of the VFW and NRA. In his retirement he particularly enjoyed volunteering as the treasurer of the NCRH hospital gift shop and golfing at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Dick is survived by his wife of 69 years, Josie, and four childern; Earl (Lynnette), Minneapolis; Katherine (Leif) Thorson, St. Anthony; Janet (David) Pederson Bemidji; William (Maria) Beitzel Saratoga Springs, NY , twelve grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Dick was predeceased by his infant son Robert Christian, his parents, and his brother Robert.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Woodsedge Campus for their loving care these past four years.
Memorials are preferred to First Lutheran Church or the Richard E. Beitzel Scholarship Fund at BSU.
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