Kermit Bjerke


Kermit Bjerke, age 93, died Feb 18, 2023 at his home in Bemidji, MN, with his family at his side.

Funeral Services will be held at 11:00am, Friday, February 24, 2023, at the St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Bemidji, MN.  Visitation will be held from 4:30-6:00pm, with a prayer service at 5:30pm, on Thursday, February 23, 2023 at the Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji, and one hour before the service at the church. Interment will be in the Spring at the Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Bemidji, MN, under the direction of the Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji.

Born to John & Hazel (Wogstad) Bjerke June 11, 1929 in Sioux Falls, SD, joining brother LeRoy. He graduated from Beadle High School, Madison, SD. He served in the army in Korea for 2 years as an MP. Returned home Nov 1954, and married Mary Anne Bontje Jan 29, 1955 in Larchwood, IA. An active Lifetime VFW member, he was Commander of Post 1260, Madison, SD, for 2 years. He also joined the American Legion post in Bemidji.   Fulfilling his lifetime dream, they sold their grain & dairy farm of 17 years, and purchased a resort in northern MN. Late Dec, 1970 the family, now with 5 children moved from a 6 BR farm home to a 2 BR lodge/home on Big Wolf Lake near Bemidji. Kermit changed the fishing camp to a year around recreational resort, winterizing and improving cabins; building and grooming cross country ski trails that were open to the public. He and friends were instrumental in starting the North Country Snowmobile club; drawing up, clearing, and signing the first local snowmobile trails. He volunteered many hours grooming snowmobile trails. He served on the Boards of the Bemidji Resort Assoc; Bemidji Chamber of Commerce, and Minnesota Resort Association. Also was involved in the organization “Mississippi Clean Minnesota Green” to force the City of Bemidji to stop dumping sewage in the Mississippi River. After selling the resort in 1991, they kept a cabin on the shore of Big Wolf Lake, adding the necessary additions to make it their home. He also helped his sons and daughters build or remodel their homes. A self taught jack of all trades he enjoyed fixing machinery and being creative in his shop. With his heavy equipment, he helped some neighbors with their landscaping projects. He loved flying and was so proud when he got his private pilot license and an airplane. He helped build the Shefland airfield with his ‘cat’ and welding expertise. In retirement, they became charter members of the local Lumberjack Sam’s RV club, enjoying summer camping trips with their friends. He enjoyed golfing, scuba diving; sailing, and fishing. Only at home he couldn’t take time to fish; always felt he had “too much to do”! He loved traveling. He and Mary spent several winters fishing in the gulf at Port Aransas, TX until health problems prevented it.

A kind, gentle man who loved spending time with family, he will be greatly missed by his wife, Mary of 68 years, his children; Terrie (Dean) Brandt, Rochester, MN, Karen Bjerke, Nebish, MN, Doug Bjerke, JoAnn (Randy) Hovet, and Daryl (Judy) Bjerke all Bemidji. Sisters-in-law Shirley Vrooman, Betty Gacke, 14 Grandchildren, 13 Great Grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother LeRoy and LeRoy’s wife Nona.

In lieu of flowers Memorials are preferred to Evergreen Youth and Family Services of Bemidji, or the St. Philip’s Catholic Church of Bemidji.

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