Marion Carolyn Bjerke, one of eight children, was born on May 14, 1931, to Benard and Ida (Engen) Bjerke on the family farm in Beaver Creek Township, Steele County, North Dakota. Marion began her love of learning while at home with her parents, going on to attend school in a one room school across the road from their home. She graduated from the 8th grade as the valedictorian of Steele County. She went on to high school in Sharon, ND, graduating from there as salutatorian. She then attended college at Valley City State College, ultimately attaining her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Mayville State College. Marion shared her love of learning by teaching students throughout North Dakota. Her first foray into what would be a lifetime career was at a rural school in Steele County. She then came to Wales, ND to teach first and second grade in 1953 and taught in Alsen, ND after that.
She married Paul Bartel of the Wales area on June 16, 1957 in the Beaver Creek Lutheran Church, rural Steele County. They resided on the Bartel homestead west of Langdon after their marriage, where they engaged in farming, raising cattle and small grains. Marion worked alongside Paul in this endeavor, assisting in many capacities.
They were blessed with three children, Paula, Anita and Karla. Marion took a hiatus from teaching to focus on her family at that time. She returned to teaching in 1968, teaching in the Munich, ND school system for four years and then moving on to teach at Langdon where she taught seventh and eighth grade Social Studies and Science. She remained there for 21 years, retiring in 1993 after a cumulative total of 36 years of teaching. Marion grew up in a home where faith in God was an integral part of their life and a personal relationship with Him emphasized. She and her husband Paul continued to demonstrate the importance of this in their home as they raised their daughters. Through word and example, they communicated the Biblical values of sharing God’s love with those with whom they came in contact and contributing through personal effort and financial gifts whenever possible. Marion liked teaching Sunday School and leading Bible studies. She also enjoyed reading, gardening, quilting, arranging flowers for church services and traveling. Some of her trips included those made with various family members to Texas, North Carolina, Yellowstone National Park, Utah, the Grand Canyon, Washington, D.C., Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana and Alaska. Above all else, she loved spending time with family and friends. She was very generous and willing to share what she had.
Marion is survived by her three daughters: Paula Bartel of Devils Lake, ND; Anita Bartel, of Bismarck, ND, Karla (Merlin) Backman, Bismarck, ND and grandchildren, Logan (Saje) Backman, of Wilton, ND, Nickolas Backman of Mandan, ND and Kesley Backman, Mandan, and great grandchild, Augustus Backman, Wilton. Marion is also survived by siblings, Juanita Underwood of Burleson, Texas, and Izola Heffern of Grand Forks, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Bartel; her parents, Benard and Ida Bjerke; siblings-Betty Bjerke, Bernice Bjerke, Alvin Bjerke, Elliot Bjerke and Barbara Bjerke; in-laws Sarah and Henry Bartel, brothers-in-law: Alvin Bartel, Emil Luverne Bartel, Bob Underwood, Jake Toews, Earl Spenst, Garland Anderson and John Heffern; and sisters-in-law: Evelyn Toews, Evangeline Bartel, Betty Bartel, Agnes Spenst, Connie Bjerke, and Adeline Anderson; nieces, Arlene Bartel and Jennifer Anderson; and nephew, Richard Underwood.
Marion Bartel, 92, of rural Langdon, ND passed away July 9, 2023, at her home with her loving daughters present.
Marion was loved deeply and will be greatly missed by her family and friends. Their consolation is knowing that they will see her again when they reunite in heaven. The truth of John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” brings great comfort as there is such sadness felt by those who are left behind as they process her moving on to her eternal home.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, July 15, 2023 at 2 p.m. at the Swiss Mennonite Church in Alsen, ND. Visitation will be from 12:30 until the time of service. Burial will be at Bethel Cemetery, rural Langdon.