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Richard "Rich" Gilbertson

October 5, 1921 ~ June 5, 2018 (age 96)
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In Loving Memory Of


Richard “Rich” Gilbertson


Richard Gilbertson, the son of Robert and Oakley (Gordon) Gilbertson, was born on October 5, 1921 in Colorado Springs, CO, the 5th of 9 children. The family moved to a farm near Fulda, MN in 1922. They ran the Northside Dairy for 17 years. When Rich was old enough he delivered milk to customers before and after school. Rich graduated from the Fulda High School. He then served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1942-1946. He was on the USS Muskogee serving as a gunner on deck. The USS Muskogee was one of the ships involved in the Battle of Leyte (October 23-26, 1944), which is thought to be the largest naval battle of WWII. Rich met Dorothy Jean Hogan in Fulda after the war. Their first date was a movie at the Fulda Theatre. They married a year later on April 3, 1948 at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in Fulda. Rich worked on a crew building houses and then at the Ford Garage in Fulda. In 1951, he and Dorothy purchased the Skelly Station in Fulda. They won many awards for having the cleanest station in the four state region. Rich sold the station after 25 years of service. He then became a State Fire Inspector in 1978 for 21 counties in Minnesota. He was an active volunteer for the Fulda Fire Dept. for 30 years, serving 10 years as Fire Chief and 8 years as Assistant Fire Chief. He was instrumental in acquiring the first Resuscitator in the area, which helped save many lives. Rich retired in 1987 and started doing a variety of woodworking, including crafting ducks, geese and loons from wooden golf club heads. For St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church he made 2 communion tables, a candle stand and altered the confessional arch so that it could be used to display statues. He also did many projects for the Fulda Heritage Society. He always enjoyed tending his yard, garden and flowers and bird feeders. For 10 years he was seldom seen without his faithful dog, Sam, and often wore a baseball hat that said, “I’m With Sam.” Rich liked to stay busy. That enthusiasm kept him healthy and involved in life. Rich and Dorothy lived in Fulda all their lives, loved the community and were actively involved in the Fulda Civic and Commerce Club and the Fulda Development Corporation. They volunteered at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church and Maple Lawn Nursing Home. They enjoyed the company of their friends, often meeting them for coffee uptown. Dorothy passed away in April of 2017, having just celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary. Rich passed away on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 after a brief illness at the Maple Lawn Nursing Home in Fulda at the age of 96. He was ready to meet his Savior and reunite with Dorothy.


Survivors include daughter, Suzanne (Roger) Schwenn; 2 grandsons, Jeffrey (Kelly) Schwenn and their daughters, Kara and Paige Schwenn and Ryan (Angie) Schwenn; sister, Betty Hildahl; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife, infant son, 3 sisters, Marie Mellison, Helen Mackey and Yvonne Nelson and 4 brothers, Robert, Gordon, James and Myron Gilbertson.


Funeral Services


St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church Fulda, MN at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 with Msgr. R. Paul Heiting officiating.  The organist is Dana Hogan. The song leader is Sheila Crowley. The pallbearers are members of the Fulda Fire Department. Interment at St. Gabriel’s Cemetery Fulda, MN. Military honors provided by the Fulda VFW Post 9017 and American Legion #318.


Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church on Tuesday. The Totzke Funeral Home in Fulda is assisting the family with arrangements. 

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