Erna A. Engelbretson


Erna A. Engelbretson, passed away one day after her 98th birthday.  A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 28, at 2:00 p.m. at the Bismarck

Funeral Home.  Cremation has taken place and a gathering will be held one hour prior to the service.  A private family burial will be held at Sunne Lutheran

Cemetery, Wilton.  A livestream of the service will be available at www.bismarckfuneralhome.com.

Erna was born on Oct. 18, 1925, in Arena, North Dakota to William and Julia (Wutzke) Gellner.  She attended Arena country school and Wing High School. 

Erna married W.V. (Bob) Engelbretson on Nov. 22, 1943.  Together they had three daughters, Marilyn, Marleen and Maretta.  Erna and Bob were lucky enough to celebrate 60 years of marriage before Bob passed away in 2004.

Erna was a very hard worker and always needed to keep busy.  Erna and Bob owned and operated Bob’s Truck Line where it was not unusual to see Erna driving a semi load of cattle down the highway.  She and Bob ran Bob’s Family Auction Service where Bob did the auctioning while Erna clerked and also ran the chuckwagon and mini donut machine.  She did painting, wallpapering, staining for many people in the communities of Regan, Wilton and beyond.  Those that knew her, know that these were  only a few of the many jobs she did throughout her life.  In her “retirement” years she took up painting on canvas, volunteered at the Burleigh County Senior Center and Trinity “Banquet”.

Erna took on a project of love in 1981 when she started restoring the 2-room house that had been home to the Gellner family of nine.  The house was moved from the Arena location to Erna and Bob’s farm west of Regan.  She took on the major job of restoring the house, in which she was born, to its original look.  The Germans from Russia approached her years later about moving the Gellner House to Buckstop  Junction.  The general public can now enjoy seeing the little 2 room house that nine people called home.  Erna gave tours of the house until two years ago when her health started to fail.  Her younger brother, Bob and sister-in-law Delores, Erna’s daughters, nieces and nephew have stepped into her shoes to keep the history of the house and family alive.

Erna is survived by her daughters, Marilyn (Jack) Reisenauer; their children, Melanie Hoffman, Melinda (Darren) Marr, Melissa (Wayne) Simons, Dwight (Michelle) Reisenauer; Marleen (Dan) Bobo and their son Wesley Heinert; Maretta (Gary) Tosseth and their children, Stephanie (Dave) Stout and Geri (Scott) Wolff, brother Bob (Delores) Gellner, 15 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews.

Erna is preceded in death by her husband Bob, parents, siblings; Martin Gellner, Ann Glanville, Annette Carson, Alma (in infancy), Edna Hein-Knowles, Carolyn Sorenson, and companion Robert Anderson.

Erna’s grandchildren and great grandchildren are honorary pallbearers.

A special thanks to the staff of Edgewood on Dominion, Kaitlyn Perez, Sanford 4SE floor staff, Dr. Guanzon, Tricia Gereszek, Missouri Slope 1st floor “Wing A” staff and Caring Edge Hospice.


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Maretta, Marilyn, Marleen and families,
I’m so sorry about the loss of your dear mother. I will remember her fondly. She was sure a go getter all the time. Always kind and smiling. I’ve missed seeing her the past several years dancing. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Maretta I’m so sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. You and your family are in our prayers.

Marylin and family,
So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. Hugs and prayers for comfort to you all.

Erna was so special to mom and me. She cared so sweetly for mom , shortly after dad died. She was kind a friendly parishoner when I was the parish nurse and she and Bob were so good to me. Her vigor for life will live on for a long time. Marietta and Marilyn, wished I lived where I could give you hugs, but thank you for sharing your mom with my family! Love, Joan