Eric Hardmeyer


Eric Hardmeyer, 64, a faithful son of North Dakota and longtime leader of the state-owned bank, died Saturday, Feb. 24, at his home from complications due to lung cancer. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2024 at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church with Rev. Mark Narum officiating.

Family will be receiving friends on Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Bismarck Funeral Home with a time of sharing starting at 7 p.m.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church.  Livestream will be available on Trinity Lutheran Church website.

Eric was one of twelve children raised in Mott by their parents, Ted and Loraine Hardmeyer. Born July 11, 1959, he and his twin Evan were rarely apart. Their first photos have them in matching Buster Brown outfits in a side-by-side stroller, growing to excel in mischief and mayhem. They worked under their father in high school at the H&J Implement dealership on Mott’s Main Street. Eric had planned to take over the Mott implement dealership after graduating from the University of North Dakota. However, his father convinced him that trends in agriculture were creating tough headwinds, and it was best he looked elsewhere. He instead accepted an entry-level position at the Bank of North Dakota. This decision resulted in an unforeseen and wonderful opportunity to serve the state he loved so deeply.

Eric joined the Bank of North Dakota in 1985 as a loan officer under then-bank president, Joe Lamb. Years later, he assumed the president title, succeeding the outgoing bank president, former governor, and current U.S. Sen. John Hoeven. He held this position with humility and a steady hand until his retirement in 2021. He remains the longest serving president in the bank’s storied history dating back to 1919. During his tenure, the bank enjoyed a long financial expansion with record profits and the resources to make a genuine difference in the lives of North Dakotans. He was especially proud of the bank’s student loan program; as a young man, he received financial assistance `from the Bank of North Dakota when he attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. During his tenure as bank president he ensured the student loan program refinanced thousands of students’ debt at a more favorable interest rate.

His bank legacy is one of returning profits to the people of North Dakota. Many of the bank’s economic development programs have his fingerprints in the ink. For example, the PACE and Match programs enabled local banks to access state bank profits to finance small businesses and community projects. He worked as hard for small-town main street businesses and banks as he did for multi-million-dollar corporations because he felt everyone deserved a chance at success. He often said that when business ideas didn’t go as expected at the outset, “We are willing to look into things that are not completely perfected.”

In addition to returning the profits to the people, Eric was instrumental in developing strong internal leaders at the bank. He encouraged employees to reach for higher positions and developed a financial assistance program for employees’ continued education. He worked hard for the appropriation project to build the new bank building overlooking the Missouri River. He wanted to bring his employees into a 21st-century workplace. He thought the bank itself, the only kind in the country and successful beyond its founders’ modest hopes, could rise prominently where steamboats once marked the state’s earliest agricultural economy. His employees recognized his efforts by naming the new bank’s training facility “Hardmeyer Leadership Hall.”

More importantly to him, Eric was a devoted husband to his wife, Laura, and father to their four children, Thomas, Kylie, Sara, and Teddy. He was a family man in the truest meaning of those words. He worked for them and lived for them. Their well-being and path in life were always his first concern.

He was a pontoon boat captain, mountain biker, hiker, snowshoer, camper, reader, history lover, prairie man, notoriously poor marksman, and traveler. He enjoyed all of those activities even more when he could do them with friends and family. One of his best traits was never taking himself or his life too seriously. He wore his stature like a plain coat, always a common man to all.

He engaged his long cancer fight with the same open, steady, and reassuring attitude that characterized his career at the bank and his life with his family, friends, and colleagues. His last months at work coincided with his first round of treatments, and his co-workers and collegial state officials were among his greatest cheerleaders and supporters. Every act of kindness moved him, every sign posted in his yard, every card, every small gift of food and good cheer, every call, every visit, and every text.

For those who loved Eric, family and friends alike, the loss of this man of deep character and kindness, so leavened with his humor, is immeasurable. The light in his eyes will always be remembered. His final hours and moments were softened by candlelight and all the love and gentleness he had shown to so many.

He is survived by his wife, Laura, their son Tom and wife, Paige, and their daughters Natalie and Ivy, of Bismarck, daughter Kylie and her partner Saker, of Lewiston, Idaho, daughter Sara White and husband Thomas and their children Lincoln and Isla, of Portland, and son Teddy, Montana State University at Bozeman. He is survived by four brothers, Kent (Shirley), of Newton, N.J., Steve, of Portland, Theodore, of Mott, and Evan (Peggy), of Portland. His surviving sisters are Judith (David) Hardmeyer-Wright, of Winthrop, Wash., Jane (Steve) Baker, of Hackensack, Minn., Maribeth and friend Dawson Buckley, of Fort Rice, Lauren (Pat) Donovan of Hazen, and Andrea, of Edmonds, Wash. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Ann Wentz, Wendy and Jerry Fritel, Craig Hewitt, Bonnie and Rich Morgan, and Becky Bartsch. He also has numerous nieces and nephews, to whom he was parts father, friend, and uncle, and many great-nieces and nephews in the next generation. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ted and Loraine Hardmeyer, and sisters, Denise and Lisa.

He was the past president of the North Dakota Bankers Association, a board member of the Federal Home Loan Bank Institution, a board member of the YMCA of Bismarck, and a board member of Cornerstone Bank. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions are welcome to Trinity Lutheran Church, the YMCA of Bismarck, and the Sanford Oncology/Bismarck Cancer Centers.


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I am so sorry and saddened with the passing of Eric. A person is blessed in life if you can have and maintain a lifelong friendship and Eric is such a blessing in my life. I will forever miss the ability to share a call, a text, an afternoon golfing and just sitting enjoying a sunset chatting into the night, but those memories will live on and on. Laura, Thomas, Kylie, Sara, Teddy and all of Eric’s family, my prayers are constant with you while you move forward. Rest in Peace My Friend! Dave

I am so sorry and sad to hear of Eric’s passing. I didn’t know he had cancer. I would have come up to visit him.
I worked at AgCountry and with Eric well before he became president. He was a good dude. When he was named president I sent him a box of cigars.
A great guy. Way too young to go. RIP my friend.

I am so sorry to hear of Eric’s passing. I enjoyed spending some time with his family during his kids high school years as our kids are the same age. To Laura, Tom, Kylie, Sarah, and Teddy… many hugs to you all at this difficult time.

Laura and family, I’m so sorry to hear that Eric passed away. I will always remember the discussions and good times we had on the sidelines of the soccer fields. I have to tell a story of when you and Eric couldn’t make one of the soccer tournaments in Canada, and I took Tom with Sean & I, along with a few other boys. A van full of teenage boys going across the Canadian border was a party of its own. I asked the Border Patrol if he wanted to see their birth certificates and he said any lady brave enough to travel with that many boys wouldn’t kidnap them! One afternoon during this same tournament we were running short on time, and the boys wanted to stop at this one store to buy something. I said you better be fast about it. Tom pipes up, “Like Dad tells us kids when we are running late for school-open the door and tuck n roll kids,” I laughed so hard because I could see Eric saying that to Tom and the girls. RIP Eric!

I’m saddened by Eric’s passing. I had the great privilege to work with Eric while I was in the Governor’s office. Eric was a great Leader and had a wonderful vision for BND and the role it would play in the growth and prosperity of ND. Eric was also a very kind person, helping me and others understand areas we were not familiar with. Eric was a class act and will be missed.

Dear Laura & family, deepest condolences from the Fettig family, past and present. Eric was my first “real boss” after I finished university, and he had such a positive influence on my life and career. Both my parents spoke very fondly of their relationship with the Hardmeyers. It is an honor to have been a part of Eric’s life, if only for a short time. Rest in peace, Eric.

Dear Laura and family, we remember meeting Eric a few times at Fritel functions. He was a wonderful man and leader in our State. Our deepest condolences as you celebrate his life and legacy.

From a little league baseball participant, to family man, to outstanding servant and leader for the citizens of North Dakota; Eric charged forward with passion, dedication, and brilliance. He did things the “the right way” in all endeavors; personal and professional. RIP Mr. President!

We are heartbroken with the passing of Eric. He was such a great family man and community role model. We have so many wonderful memories traveling with Eric and Laura for our son’s soccer and hockey games. Our hearts go out to the Hardmeyer family.

Dear Laura and Hardmeyer Family – I first met Eric in 1986 when I took employment with BND and had the opportunity to either work with him or for him until 2019. During that time I recognized his commitment to strengthening the Bank whether that be through enhancements to policy, communicating with others to better explain the Bank’s mission and vision and the memorable legislative efforts he championed to gain approval for a new Bank building in 2008. We had many memorable discussions along the way but one stands out to me wherein he told me that if he didn’t succeed on an issue he was dealing with he would simply keep trying until he felt success had been achieved the best as possible. Rest In Peace Eric.

Laura and family, we are so sorry to learn the news of Eric. There are do many great memories during our hockey days. He and your family were always very special to our family. Eric touched so many lives and will be missed by so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Eric’s passing as I had no idea he was ill. I first met Eric in 1985 when we went to a bank school held in Wahpeton. We have been friends ever since and constantly in touch with his role at BND and mine at American Bank Center in Dickinson. Eric was the same person as President at BND as when he was the new hire and treated everyone with respect. He was the most genuine person I’ve ever met and was passionate about his work, his employees and the people of ND. My sincere condolences and sympathy to the entire Hardmeyer family.
Bruce Dolezal

Eric, Brian Crane, Jonny Gifford and I were brothers in Sigma Nu at UND. My life has been enriched knowing each of them. They were not only brothers in the truest sense, they were also a connection to my Mott roots from the Watson gang. My heart is so heavy at this loss. Warmest and most sincere condolences to Laura and the family.

Laura and family, On behalf of the YMCA Board of Directors, YMCA Board of Trustees, Family Wellness Board, and staff leadership, we extend our deepest condolensces on the loss of Eric. He had a heart of gold and was such a positive leader, gracing us all for many years with his time and talents. We were blessed with Eric’s hard work, service and vision helping the Y and Family Wellness extend its reach and build stronger families and a stronger Bismarck-Mandan community. We have much to remember and be thankful for and Eric will forever be in our hearts.

We are so sorry to hear this sad news. Our prays and thoughts are with your whole family. 🙏🏻

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Eric. I had the honor and privilege of working with Eric my entire 33+ years at BND. He was always a great team player looking for solutions. I always appreciated all the opportunities I received from Eric and BND to do things that had never been done before to come up with the best solutions! Eric, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! Rest in Peace! Al and Nancy Weisbeck

I am so very sorry for your loss!! I have so many memories of hockey games and soccer tournaments together. Sending my heartfelt condolences to all of you.

Eric was a treasure. I feel a great loss when one of my students passes away. He was in my 2nd grade class in ’66-67. Evon was in my 3rd grade class the following year and Lisa in my 3rd grade class later. Precious students! I had the pleasure of visiting with Eric a few years ago when he was in Mott for a friend’s funeral. Sincere sympathy, family friend and teacher, Shirley Halvorson

Laura and family,
I was so sad to hear about Eric. I’m sending love and prayers to you all. May your memories of Eric help ease your pain.