Just over a week ago, I attended the funeral of a man who was very important to me. His name was Marvin Nordbo, and he served as a role model to me. Like many of you reading this column, you may have had a role model or two in your life. If you have, you also understand how rare and important they are.
I first met Marv when I was six years old. He was my best friend, John's, dad. The Nordbos lived across the street from us. Just one year earlier, when I was five, we were forced to leave our family farm after my dad died unexpectedly at a young age while he was farming. So, not having a father, Marv took me under his wing along with his son. We enjoyed scouting and camping trips for several years, and not only did I learn to enjoy to be part of a group, it was a chance for me to be away from my own family and become independent and confident in my abilities.
During those early years, I knew that Marv worked at a bank and knew that he had graduated from North Dakota Agricultural College, thanks to the G.I. Bill after serving in the Navy during World War II. Anyone who met and got to know Marv would always talk about how positive he was, and how he would never complain about thing. If anything, he would make light of a situation that many would take too seriously. He was a stoic, but witty person.
Over the years, I kept in touch with Marv and his wife, Ardelle. Marv's health started to go bad a while back, but I would call him several times a year to talk and it was always such a positive conversation; very uplifting! The last couple of months of Marv's life were spent in a nursing home. His eyesight had gone and he could only breathe with the support of a respirator. Right up until the end, Marv remained his old self, but commented that he would never be able to go back to live at his home. After he got pneumonia, Marv soon passed on. His son John called to tell me that his dad had passed away, and the news hit me hard.
At the funeral, I had a chance to connect with several old neighbors. We all agreed that if there were more people in the world like Marv, life would not be perfect, but there would sure be fewer problems. I am just grateful that I had the opportunity to know Marv, and will always be proud to call him my role model.