Gerald Milton Gilbertson was born on April 4, 1930 to Gilbert and Helen (Harmon) Gilbertson, in Devils Lake, ND. He was raised on the family farm, Penn, ND. He attended grade school at Dry Lake #1, about 2 miles from his home. He went to high school in Devils Lake for 2 years and then jumped onto a cattle car of the train and rode out to Spokane, Washington to stay with his uncle and work for the railroad. After the death of his father in 1949, he took over the operation of the farm along with his mother.
Gerald married Vivian Sinness on July 10, 1955 in Cando, ND. They lived on the family farm where they raised their five children, Jerilynn, Randy, Jay, Val and Scott. Gerald was a hard worker who taught his children his work ethic and fundamental skills of life. For only having a 10th grade education, he had the hands-on knowledge to teach his sons mechanics, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, welding, engineering and surveying, which made them the men they are today. He was a patient man and slow to anger.
He always had big ideas. There had to be a better or easier way to do things. He took out patents for his inventions. In the 1960’s he was the first farmer in his area to raise sunflowers and pinto beans. The neighbors would laugh at his foolishness for harvesting in the snow. Within 5 years every area farmer was planting this same crop.
He started 2 different trucking companies, one for hauling grain to Duluth, MN and later another one to haul fertilizer from Canada. He also drove a semi-truck coast to coast hauling produce of all kinds.
His truck driving took him through all 48 continental states. His goal was to visit all 50 states in his lifetime, which he accomplished later in life by taking a cruise with his brother-in-law and their wives to Alaska and Hawaii. He also enjoyed traveling to Mexico and Costa Rica in his later years.
In 1975, he built a development at Six Mile Bay called Sunny Hills subdivision, with his sons, building roads, drainage, cutting down hills to ready the land for building sites. Gerald also loved to garden, having 40 acres of vegetables which he sold to stores. He processed and sold chokecherry syrup and jelly to businesses. He built a greenhouse and grew and sold vegetables and flower plants.
Gerald taught 4-H when he was younger and also served on the Dry Lake Township Board for several years. He had many diverse interests including obtaining his pilots license and sold Wausau modular homes for a time. Gerald was a long-time member of St. Olaf Lutheran Church.
We will always remember that special smile, that caring heart and the warm embrace he always gave.
Gerald’s loving family include his five children: Jerilyn Steffan, Devils Lake, ND, Randy (Terri) Gilbertson, Fargo, ND, Jay (Kathy) Gilbertson, Michigan, ND, Val (Kevin) Smith, Devils Lake, ND, and Scott (Jo) Gilbertson, Michigan, ND; fourteen grandchildren Carrie Steffan, Tyler (Desiree) Steffan, Nicole (Griffin) Gessner, Erin (Ben) Erickstad, Caylie Gilbertson, Leland (Christine) Higginbotham, Luke Higginbotham, Brett Halvorson (Brittany Bower), Ben (Merissa) Halvorson, Marc (Amber) Strande, Eric, Alan, Marcus, and Ty Gilbertson; seven great grandchildren with one on the way; several in-laws, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Vivian; his parents; and sister Doris Mitzel.
Funeral services for Gerald Gilbertson will be held on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 2:00 pm at the Gilbertson Funeral Home. Visitation will be at the funeral home on Saturday, February 13, 2021 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, with the family present from noon until 2:00 pm. Burial will be at the Devils Lake Cemetery immediately following the funeral service. All are invited to the White House Café following the burial. A time of fellowship will be held at the White House Cafe following the graveside service.
The funeral service will be livestreamed at www.facebook/stolafluthernchurchdevilslake.