29 Aug George Holgard
George Holgard, age 88, of Bismarck, ND, passed away on Friday, August 25, at Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center. A Mass of Christian Burial
will be held at 3:00pm CDT on Thursday, August 31, at Christ the King Church in Mandan, ND. Livestream of the service will be available on the
Bismarck Funeral Home website.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Bismarck Funeral Home with a rosary at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue at the
church one hour prior to the funeral Mass.
There will be a gravesite service at 11:00 a.m. MST at Greenhill Cemetery in Lemmon, SD, on September 1, 2023, the 62nd Anniversary of George
and Mary’s wedding vows.
George Grover Holgard was born in Adams County on January 30th, 1935, to Margaret (née Schell) and Christian Holgard, the second oldest of four boys. There they lived on the butted plains 15 miles north of Lemmon, SD, farming and ranching, working to survive often hard and scarce times.
In 1949, George left home at the age of 14, headed for eastern Montana, convincing a firm to give him a job working oil derricks as a roughneck. At age 15, he was returned home, back to the farm, where when he was not helping his father and brothers, he drove gravel truck for a local gravel firm in Lemmon, SD.
In 1951, at age 16, George, his best friend/brother Richard (age 15), and mutual friend Tim Kochell forged each other’s signatures and enlisted in the United States Army. After extensive training at Fort Bliss and elsewhere, only George was sent to serve as a mechanic in Korea. On a transport across the sea from Japan to take up his position in Korea, the cease-fire was signed, and George spent most of his time in the US Army training Koreans, British, Turks and Ethiopians to be diesel mechanics while also receiving his own GED.
With a GED and GI Bill in hand, George returned to North Dakota and studied welding at the North Dakota State College of Science, before taking further training in Atlanta, Georgia. This began his career in pipeline welding, spanning work across the southwest United States, Qatar and throughout the Persian Gulf. The work was hard, and often violent and dangerous: George survived a hurricane, tossed about a stranded oil barge off the coast of New Orleans; once, when welding underground outside Qatar, he survived a cave-in which severely injured his shoulder and killed his welding assistant. Although the work could be perilous, it allowed George the freedom to buy land back home in the Northern Plains, where he hoped he might one day build a life for himself.
Tired of being away and missing the places and people of his childhood, George began taking jobs closer to home, often working as a welder alongside his brother Richard, again in the oilfields of eastern Montana. Following Richard’s death in a tragic oilfield accident, George decided the time had come to return home to the work of his father and surviving brother. He returned home to Lemmon, SD, at the age of 25.
There, he worked as a mechanic during the weekdays while also farming as much and often as he could to earn enough to begin his own operation. It was here and in this time that George received one of the greatest graces God ever bestowed on him: Mary Maas of Rhame, ND. They were married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on September 1, 1961.
In the early years of their marriage, George worked as a welder and mechanic in Rapid City, SD, while Mary ran telephone lines across west-central South Dakota. All the while, they also continued to farm and grow their operation as often as they could, giving birth to two boys in that time: Richard Holgard in 1963, and Christian Holgard in 1964.
In 1969, George and Mary took over the family farm and ranch from his mother and father, adding their own land to an operation that would continue to grow and thrive through many years of hard work and good business practice until they retired in 1997.
George and Mary enjoyed 23 years of active retirement, mostly traveling throughout the United States in their motorhome and trading the long winters of North Dakota for sunny Yuma, Arizona, with friends from back home and abroad. In 2017, George and Mary settled down in Bismarck, ND, surrounded by friends and family through the years and Geroge’s final days.
He is survived by his ever-loving wife, Mary; sons Richard (Laura) and Christian (Allyson); grandchildren Austin (Christy), Breanna, Dakota, Victoria, Valerie, and Anna; great-grandchildren Stella (Breanna), Helen, Rose, George, John, and Margaret (Austin & Christy), and Kai (Valerie); nephews Kenny, Dale, and Kevin (Donald & Esther).
George is preceded in death by his parents, Margaret and Christian, and his brothers Robert, Richard, and Donald.