Hilton Hjelle, 93, of Grand Forks, ND, formerly of Newfolden, MN and Warren, MN, passed away on Sunday evening, July 5, 2020 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, ND.

Hilton Leroy Hjelle was born on December 7, 1926, in Marsh Grove Township, Marshall County, MN, to Hjalmer and Hannah (Hanson) Hjelle. He was raised in the Newfolden area on the family farm, attending Westaker Free Lutheran Church.

He was drafted into the US Army in 1952, during the Korean Conflict. Hilton was stationed in Japan and served his country as a Military Police Officer. Upon his honorable discharge and return home in 1954, Hilton farmed and worked the land. On March 18, 1978, Hilton was united in marriage to Avis Bjorgaard until her death on July 8, 2000. On October 19, 2002, Hilton was married to Ruby (nee. Stavig) Holter. They made their home in Warren before moving to Tufte Manor in Grand Forks in 2018.

Wherever Hilton lived, his heart was always in Newfolden. He was a great storyteller and his adventures always took place “just down the road” back home. One of his great loves was being in the annual Newfolden Parade; whether on an old John Deere tractor or with a wagon-full of kids hitched to his miniature horses. He enjoyed working on full-sized John Deeres, and when he couldn’t do that he made scaled-down models. Hilton was a quiet man before you got to know him: after that, you found he had a playful and lively sense of humor. In 2017, Hilton was honored as a 60-year member of the American Legion.

Hilton was a father figure to many over the years. Between the Bjorgaards, the Holters, his grandkids, and his nieces and nephews, Hilton was proud to be “Dad” and hand along what he’d learned throughout his long life. He did his best to live by a few rules handed down from his mother:
1. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and
2. Look around, there’s always someone worse off than you, so maybe you don’t have it so bad.

May God Bless the memory of Hilton Hjelle.

Hilton is survived by his wife of nearly 18 years, Ruby; 12 step-children, Diane Pagnac, Kurt Bjorgaard, Carolyn McGlynn, William Bjorgaard, Sandy Hible, Mike Bjorgaard, and Faye Lefrooth, Kevin Holter, Jay Holter, Kim Skavlem, Kari Lavecchia, and Daniel Holter; 17 Holter grandchildren; numerous Bjorgaard grandchildren; his great-grandchildren; siblings, James (Betty) and Linda (Dennis); and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Avis; siblings, Clarice (Carl), Kenneth, Clayton, and Grace; and niece, Christine.

Westaker Free Lutheran Church, Newfolden.

FUNERAL SERVICE: Thursday, July 9, 2020, at 5:00 PM, in DuBore Funeral Home Chapel, Warren, MN.
VISITATION: Starting at 4:30 PM.
INTERMENT: Thursday, July 9, at 6:15 PM, in Westaker Lutheran Cemetery, Newfolden, MN.
MILITARY HONORS BY: The Minnesota Honor Guard and Newfolden American Legion, post #427.
GRAVESIDE SERVICE: Monday, July 13, 2020, at 9:30 AM, in Westaker Cemetery.

– Due to COVID-19 Restrictions, Funeral Service Capacity is limited to 50 people. If you have recently traveled, are immuno-compromised, or elderly, please consider forgoing attendance at this time.

– There will be no cap on local attendance at the Interment Services on Thursday evening, nor at Monday’s Graveside Service, as long as social-distancing is observed.


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