Ruth Norvold, age 86, of Bemidji, passed away quietly the evening of March 3, 2022, just hours before her 87th birthday, at the Sanford Bemidji Hospital.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 25, 2022, at the Evangelical Free Church of Bemidji under the supervision of Olson Schwartz Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 4:30-5:00pm, followed by the service.
Born Ruth Lena Powers on March 4, 1935, to Charles and Naomi Powers in Havaco, West Virginia, she was truly a coal miner’s daughter, growing up in the hills of the WV coal mines and ultimately losing her father, a miner and traveling preacher, to black lung disease. When the mining industry began to wane, the family, including seven children, made the move west, packing everything into the back of an old pickup, and settled in Togo MN. As a child and teen, Ruth worked alongside her mom, tending to the family. She moved to Bemidji to attend Oak Hills Bible College after getting acquainted with a young pastor and his wife, Don and Mabel Emery, who were ministering in the Togo area and who encouraged Ruth to pursue a Christian education. The Emery’s became dear and lifelong friends of Richard and Ruth. During her time at Oak Hills and while attending Young Peoples at Carr Lake Bible Chapel, she met her husband Richard. They were married on June 12, 1954, and he was her devoted sweetheart for the 67 years they shared together. She missed him terribly after his passing less than three months ago.
One of Ruth’s greatest delights was being a homemaker and tending to her family. She loved to cook big meals, and her specialty was the “hillbilly breakfast,” which the entire family looked forward to on Sundays after church, and it was often requested by her children and grandchildren for special events and get togethers. Her homemade biscuits and gravy could not be rivaled! Ruth was always puzzled by her family’s enthusiasm for that meal, as she and her siblings grew up on it and got so weary of it. Not so for her kids and grandkids, who couldn’t get enough! Ruth loved her grandchildren, and when they were young, she enjoyed doing crafts with them and had boxes and tubs full of craft items from which they could choose to make whatever they wanted, and she took pleasure in teaching her granddaughters how to knit or crochet.
She also enjoyed being a helpmate to Richard with the side businesses of Norvold Motors, delivering luggage from the airport to its rightful owner and chauffeuring countless 3M executives and professionals from the airport to the 3M Wonewoc Conference Facility near Park Rapids. The luggage deliveries were not always to the most convenient of places, and the family shared many laughs over some of Ruth’s crazy adventures, or misadventures as the case may be! Ruth and Richard also opened their home to many individuals through the years, mentoring and encouraging them, and providing a temporary refuge until they could get back on their feet. As a woman of faith, Ruth was a longtime member of the Evangelical Free Church and served on the Women’s Ministries Board, as well as being active in Christian Women’s Club.
Ruth is survived by her three children- Carol (Brad) Reuter of Stillwater MN; Steve (Pat) Norvold and Dan (Stacy) Norvold, both of Bemidji; seven grandchildren – Justin (fiancé Nicole Forcier-Gelbman) Reuter, Steven (Caitlin) Reuter, Emma (Cody) Reams, Jarrod (Sarah) Norvold, Jason Norvold, Lindsey (fiancé Zach Vail) Norvold, Kyle (Chelsey) Norvold; 9 great-grandchildren; and one brother, Paul (Margaret) Powers of Buckley WA. The family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to two special friends and caregivers, Caroline Story and Cedar McCray, whose kindness and compassion helped Ruth remain in her home after Richard’s passing.