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Memorial: Community bids Jack Quistgard goodbye

Jack Quistgard

Longtime Bemidji businessman Jack Quistgard died Tuesday at the age of 90 at his home in Trillium.

Friends and colleagues remember him as a thoughtful man who was highly professional in his career as a pharmacist.

Quistgard grew up in Warren, Minn., where his father, Edward Quistgard, was a pharmacist, who changed the family name from Quistgaard.

"(Jack's) father did that because his name didn't fit on the prescription bottle at the Warren Drug Store," said Mary Betty Quistgard, Jack's wife of 67 years.

Jon Quistgaard, Jack's son and president of Bemidji State University, changed his name back to the original, but the rest of the family kept Quistgard.

Jack served in the U.S. Navy during World War II in Pearl Harbor.

Bill Batchelder, owner of the Bemidji Woolen Mills, said in an online tribute, that he served with Jack on the first Downtown Development Authority in the 1980s and appreciated Jack's understanding of the healthy downtown. Batchelder also noted that Jack, as a World War II veteran, was a member of the "greatest generation."

"I knew him from way back as a very, very wonderful pharmacist," said Dick Beitzel, BSU emeritus chemistry professor. "If you needed something and he didn't have it, he'd get it for you. He didn't tell you to call someone else. He'd say come back in a couple of hours."

Jack owned the Glass Block Rexall Drug Store at the corner of Fifth Street and Beltrami Avenue where KBUN is now located.

Beitzel said when he organized BSU science fairs, Jack also was always supportive of the projects.

"That guy was 100 percent professional," Beitzel said.

Beitzel also knew Jack as a fellow member of the Bemidji Lions Club, which Jack joined in May 1949.

Jack was a member of many professional and community organizations.

A celebration of his life will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at First Presbyterian Church. A memorial gathering will also be 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, at Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home. Family will greet friends one hour before the service Saturday at the church.