School 12

Irvin Maurice Alfred Rotto

July 22, 1930 ~ July 8, 2022 (age 91)

Obituary

Irvin Maurice Alfred Rotto (age 91) of Bemidji, MN died on July 8, 2022 at the Aurora on France care facility in Edina, MN.  

Irvin was born on July 22, 1930 in Starbuck, MN, the son of Reverend Isaac Rotto and Jonette (Rafshol) Rotto.   He grew up in Berthold, ND (1931-1939) and Portland, ND (1939-1948) where his father served as a Lutheran pastor, and he graduated from Portland High School in 1948.  Irvin had many great stories of spending his summers during the 1940’s sitting on a John Deere “A” tractor and working for a local farmer just outside of Portland.  He played on the Portland High School six-man football team, as well as the high school basketball and baseball teams.  Irvin began college at Luther College in Decorah, IA in 1948.  However, due to the Korean War, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in December 1950.  After completing his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, Irvin began seven months of intensive Russian language studies at the Army Language School in Monterey, CA in June 1951.  He was eventually assigned to an Air Force Base in Chicksands, England starting in June 1952.  In Sept. 1954, Irvin was diagnosed with tuberculosis and began antibiotic treatment at a hospital at Lackland Air Force Base; he continued his treatment at a VA hospital in Minneapolis, MN.  After spending 18 months in the hospital, he was finally discharged from the VA Hospital in March 1956.  In September 1956, Irvin resumed his studies at Luther College, enrolling as a junior and eventually obtaining his B.A. degree in 1958 with a major in Latin and with minors in English and Psychology.  Irvin met Ardith Gulbro in October 1956 at Luther College, and the two had their first date at “The Polly” restaurant in Decorah, IA.   Irvin and Ardith were eventually married at Big Canoe Lutheran Church near Highlandville, IA on March 19, 1960. 

After receiving his M.A. degree in Russian Area Studies from the University of Minnesota in 1961, Irvin and Ardith moved to Pittsburgh, Kansas in 1962 where Irvin taught Russian for three years at Kansas State College-Pittsburg (now named Pittsburg State University).  During the summers of 1963 and 1964, Irvin enrolled in graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he continued his graduate work at Illinois full time from the fall of 1965 to the spring of 1966.  As a summer job during the summers of 1965, 1966 and 1967, Irvin worked as a seasonal park ranger at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.  He began teaching at Bemidji State College in the fall of 1966, and he would then spend his next 56 years living in the Bemidji area.  Irvin retired from Bemidji State University in 1993 after teaching Russian, Russian Literature, Latin, Norwegian and English for 27 years.  Irvin served as vice president and president of the congregation at First Lutheran Church in Bemidji in 1979 and 1980, respectively, and he was also elected to the Bemidji District 31 School Board in 1984 and served for 6 years.  Irvin and Ardith purchased a townhome near Phoenix, AZ in 1994, and spent the next several retirement years dividing their time between Minnesota and Arizona. 

Irvin was a dedicated husband and father, and was married to his beloved wife “Ardie” for over 61 years.  He loved his three grandchildren as well as one great grandchild whom he got to meet in the final days of his life.  Irvin and Ardith enjoyed travel to Norway, England, Europe, and many other places throughout the United States.  Irvin enjoyed many gatherings of family and friends over the years.   He was an avid golfer, and he enjoyed watching the Minnesota Twins and Vikings.   Irvin very much enjoyed listening to “classic” country music from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Irvin was the second born of nine children and is survived by his two sons; Nelson (Lynn) and Erik; three grandchildren, Erika (Zac), Torsten (Lindsey) and Benjamin; one great grandchild, Soren; brothers, Curtis and Luther Rotto; sisters Ruth Lyngaas, Alma Morgan, and Jonette Martinson.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Ardith; brothers John and Theodore Rotto; sister Christine Hefte. 

A memorial service will be held for Irvin on August 6, 2022 at 1:00 pm at First Lutheran Church in Bemidji.  Family will begin greeting friends one hour before the service begins, and there will be a reception at the church following the service.

Memorials are suggested to First Lutheran Church in Bemidji or the Disabled American Veterans (DAV.org).   Arrangements are under the direction of Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji.

 

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Services

Family will greet friends
Saturday
August 6, 2022

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
First Lutheran Church
900 Bemidji Ave. N.
Bemidji, MN 56601

Memorial Service
Saturday
August 6, 2022

1:00 PM
First Lutheran Church
900 Bemidji Ave. N.
Bemidji, MN 56601

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