Sebastian ‘Sy’ Bertsch

Sebastian L. Bertsch, 87, Minot, passed away Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, at Trinity Hospital in Minot.

Sebastian Leo Bertsch was born July 7, 1926, the son of Andrew and Margaret (Kunnanz) Bertsch, in Selz. Sy was raised and educated in Silva. As a young adult, he worked as a farm hand for the Tom Linseth family.

Sy then went to work for the Great Northern Railway on Dec. 24, 1947, as a brakeman.

Sy was united in marriage to Philipina “Penny” Hager on June 6, 1949, in Balta. They made their home in Minot, where they raised their six children. He continued working with the Great Northern Railway/Burlington Northern Railroad until retiring as a conductor on Nov. 28, 1989. Sy was known for the many unsolicited/anonymous acts of kindness that he performed, such as buying bags of groceries and leaving them on the doorsteps of families he knew were in need. He also took in and cared for other people’s horses.

Although the railroad was very important to him, his passion was being a rancher. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and feeding all types of animals, both domestic and wild. He was known for his great story telling abilities, especially stories that included childhood memories.

Most of all, his family was the most important thing to him. He always had a stash of candy for his children and grandchildren. He loved dancing with his wife and family.

He was a former member of St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Minot and was a member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, Minot. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, Moose Lodge, Eagles Aerie, United Transportation Union, American Quarter Horse Association, American Kennel Club and North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

Surviving family includes: wife of 64 years, Philipina “Penny,” Minot; children, Ronald (Marilyn) Bertsch, Lake Havasu, Ariz., Debra New, Brooklyn Center, Minn., Lynn (Lynn) Bertsch, Minot, Kelly (Colleen) Bertsch, Minot, Karri (John) Kurtzweil, Raleigh, N.C., and Troy (Kristi) Bertsch, Minot; 19 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; two stepgreat-grandchildren; one stepgreat-great-grandson; sister, Catherine Holzer, Minot; brothers, Dennis (Ella) Bertsch, Minot, John (Janet) Bertsch, Minot; sisters-in-law, Phyllis Bertsch, Williston, and Fran Bertsch, Brooten, Minn.; brother-in-law, Clarence Tryhus, Minot; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Sebastian was preceded in death by: his parents; grandson, Timothy Bertsch; brothers, Albert, Edward and Joseph; sister, Margaret “Marge” Tryhus; and brother-in-law, Martin Holzer.

Mass of Christian Burial: Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 11 a.m. at St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Minot.

Visitation: Today, Aug. 13, from 3 to 5 p.m., at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot.

Vigil Prayer Service: Today, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. at St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Minot.

Interment: Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.

Memorials: are preferred to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (

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