School 31

Marilyn Ellen (Sorby) Gandrud

February 17, 1939 ~ May 31, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old


Marilyn Ellen (Sorby) Gandrud, 84,  passed away at Goldpine Homes on May 31, 2023. 

A Celebration of Life service and lunch will be held Monday, June 26th, at Hope Lutheran Church in Sunburg, with internment at West Norway Lake Cemetery to follow.  Visitation at Hope will begin at 10:00 a.m., service at 11:00.  Arrangements and a memory page are through Olson Schwartz.

Marilyn was born to Alvin and Birdella Sorby on February 17, 1939 in Dawson, Minnesota, where her parents worked for various farmers around that area.   Growing up, she enjoyed music, participating in beauty pageants, and was a serious student, graduating valedictorian of her Brooten high school class in 1957.  She then gave up a full college scholarship to marry her sweetheart, Peter Gandrud, after he promised that one day she would have her chance to go to college.

In their early married years, Peter and Marilyn helped Peter’s mother run the family grocery store in Sunburg, Minnesota, where Mary and Karin were born.   In 1963, the family moved to Bemidji after Peter took an accountant job working for the IRS.   Several years after Michael was born in 1965, Marilyn realized her dream of going to college, pursuing degrees in her two great loves - music and education.   She received Bachelors and Masters Degrees, summa cum laude,  from Bemidji State University, and became an elementary teacher at Lincoln for nearly 30 years.  During her teaching years,  Marilyn was chosen Bemidji “Teacher of the Year” after teaching one group of students from first through sixth grades, following a model she had seen while visiting Norway.

A sixty year member of First Lutheran Church, Marilyn sang in the choir, was a frequent soloist, and served on numerous boards and committees.   Most recently, she is probably best remembered as the “little lady in a Norwegian Bunad”, helping to host Lutefisk dinners while Peter cooked the fish.

Over the years, Marilyn was an active member in many local clubs/organizations, including the Sons of Norway, the Sweet Adelines, the Lions, Delta Kappa Gamma, and was a charter member of the Bemidji Chorale.  

During the last years of her life, Marilyn suffered from dementia which left her mostly home bound, except for coffee with friends at Raphael’s Bakery.  After Peter passed away in 2022, Marilyn resided at Gold Pine Homes until her death.

Marilyn is survived by: children, Mary (John) Olson and Micheal (Jennifer) Gandrud;  grandchildren and step-grandchildren, Alyson (Eric) Swanson, Annalise Aakhus, Caliyah, Ceyonna, and Celisha Olson, John M. (Kala) Olson, Michelle (Chris) Bliss, Chloé and Jamie Malmquist, and Ellen Gandrud; and eight great grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, two brothers, and daughter, Karin Malmquist.

The family requests any memorials be directed to First Lutheran Church.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marilyn Ellen (Sorby) Gandrud, please visit our floral store.

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June 26, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Hope Lutheran Church
107 Western Avenue N.
Sunburg, MN 56289

Funeral Service
June 26, 2023

11:00 AM
Hope Lutheran Church
107 Western Avenue N.
Sunburg, MN 56289


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