Trygve Norby

Trygve Norby, 96, of Alkabo, passed away Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013, at his home.

Funeral services will be Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, at 11 a.m., in Writing Rock Lutheran Church, rural Alkabo, with Pastor Ron Dahle officiating. Burial will follow at Writing Rock Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3 to 6 p.m. today, Aug. 8, at Stakston-Martin Funeral Home in Crosby and also Friday, one hour before the service, at the church.

Trygve Norby was born June 9, 1917, delivered by a midwife on his parents’ farm. Tryg was the fifth of 15 children raised by Peder and Ingeborg Norby in northwestern North Dakota, just miles from the farm he made his home until the morning he passed away on Aug. 3, 2013.

Tryg attended grade school and high school in Alkabo and used to tell how he would awake at 5 a.m. to feed, water, and harness the horses to the bus in order to drive students to the school. At the noon hour, he would also feed the horses that were housed at the livery barn. By age 14, in the middle of the Great Depression, Tryg worked for other farmers, earning $1 a day and room and board. Other childhood memories included helping with farm chores, playing baseball (on the rare occasion), playing with neighbor kids, arriving at school to find the Alkabo school house burned down, and buying the first battery-run radio (spending half his earnings from 300 hours of threshing at $.25 an hour).

In 1935, at the age of 18, Tryg entered a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Idaho as part of the Franklin D. Roosevelt New Deal work relief program. He trimmed trees and built roads and dams for $.25 an hour, all but $12 of which he sent home to his parents. In 1936, while walking with a friend in the Bitterroot Mountains, Tryg became trapped in a rockslide and lost his left leg right below the knee. Doctors operated without anesthetic. It took a couple of days to backpack down the mountain after surgery, and it took six months before Tryg could return home, where he spent most of two years recovering, walking on a prosthetic leg ever since. After returning to North Dakota, Tryg enrolled at the Wahpeton School of Science, where he earned a degree in machine shop welding and automobile mechanics in 1939. Tryg then worked in Upham, threshing for $.65 an hour in an effort to save money to buy farmland.

In 1940, Tryg bought his first quarter of land (the “Gardner land”) at a county sale for $325. Due to World War II rationing, Tryg had to apply for a permit to buy a tractor a tractor he still owned until the day he passed. However, Tryg always said in those difficult years, “It was the cows that put groceries on the table.”

On Nov. 25, 1944, Tryg married Olga Johnson and raised five children just a few miles west of his family’s original homestead. Electricity came to the farm in 1949, and Tryg used to recall fondly how his mother literally jumped up and down for joy. Tryg always had a soft heart, spending countless hours reading to his children and grandchildren, but he remained a tough man. In 1957, on his 40th birthday, he broke his back when the horse he was riding rolled; and then in the early 1970s, he lost three fingers while combining. Despite this, Tryg was resilient and remained in good health throughout the majority of his life.

Tryg was known for his special ability to “witch” for water. Using two willow tree branches, Tryg located the well water for his farm as well as many neighbors and friends. As an active community member, Tryg served on the elevator board, the school board, the church council, and in 4-H leadership roles. Tryg was also an avid hunter, fisherman, reader, and sports follower. He followed most local and national sporting events until the day he passed, and he was in attendance at nearly all of his children’s and grandchildren’s basketball, football, and baseball games. Tryg supported extracurricular activities and academics equally, and his children and grandchildren fondly recall him being at school plays, class nights, music concerts, etc. When his children and grandchildren graduated from high school, it was not a question of “if” they would go to college, but “where.” Education was important to Tryg, and he read several books each week until the day he passed.

Highlights of Tryg’s life included building a new home with Olga in 1975; hosting annual potluck New Year’s Eve card parties; traveling to Norway to visit family (whom he kept in touch with through the exchange of Christmas cards and letters written in Norwegian); attending family reunions and spending time with his brothers and sisters; and celebrating 50 years of marriage with Olga.

Tryg farmed and ranched with his son Carlyle until the day he passed and continued to enjoy driving on his own to Westby for lunch and to his neighbors’ homes for afternoon visits. Tryg prided himself in being a good farmer, a good neighbor, and a good friend. He was also a good role model to his siblings, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, to whom he taught perseverance and faith in good things to come.

Tryg is survived by: his daughter, Sharon Larsen (Gerald), and grandchildren Dana (Jennifer), Amber, and Lane; son, Carlyle Norby (Gloria) and grandchildren Brion (Cherise), Jonathan (Dina), and KrisAnn (Doug); son, Randy Norby (Joan), and grandchildren Mindy (Mark), Alicia (Erdal), Sarah (Chad), and Matthew; son-in-law, Tim Gordon, and grandchildren Andy (Bethany) and Jay Paul (Jessica Lynne); daughter-in-law, Rita Kolden; and siblings Melvin (Goodie), Lloyd (Jean), Florence (Delary), and Palmer (Doris). He is also survived by 21 great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his wife of 50 years, Olga Norby; his daughter, Marcella Gordon; his son, Bryce Norby; his parents, Peder and Ingeborg Norby; and four sisters and six brothers.

Stakston-Martin Funeral Home of Crosby is in charge of arrangements.