Robert "Bob" S. Bergland

July 22, 1928 ~ December 9, 2018 (age 90)

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Funeral services for Bob Bergland of Roseau will be held on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 1:00 PM at Moe Lutheran Church in Roseau.  A public visitation will be on Friday from 5-8 PM with an 8:00 prayer service at Helgeson Funeral Home in Roseau; and one hour prior to the service at the church.  Interment will be at the Hope Cemetery.

Robert Selmer Bergland (Bob) was born July 22, 1928, to Selmer and Mabel (Evans) Bergland in Roseau, MN.  He grew up on the farm just south of Roseau, attended grade and high school in Roseau, graduated from the University of Minnesota Agriculture School in St. Paul.

Bob married Helen Grahn in 1950.  They had seven children, daughters Dianne and Linda and sons Stevan, Jon, Allan, Bill, Frank. 

Bob worked “in the woods” in first year of their marriage and then worked at Farmers Union Station in Roseau, three winters in Florida as a carpenter, as well as farming for 12 years.  During this time, Bob volunteered for Minnesota Farmers Union, National Farmers Union, and the Democratic Party.  Toward the end of those 12 years, he was on the ASCS State Committee.  Bob ran for a State Senate seat in 1960, but was defeated. 

In 1962 Bob was offered a job with the USDA in Washington, DC, working for the Kennedy Administration.  He was given a position in the ASCS division and had a territory of nine states in Midwest U.S.  He held this position until he ran for U.S. Congress in 1968.

Bob was defeated in this run for Congress so his family moved back to Roseau, MN, where Bob returned to farming.  In 1970 Bob made another run for the Minnesota’s Congressional 7th District.  He was elected, moved his family back to Washington DC, and held that position until 1977.  When in the U.S. House of Representatives, Bob served on many committees, such as the House Agriculture Committee. 

In 1977, Bob was appointed Secretary of Agriculture by President Jimmy Carter, holding that position throughout President Carter’s term.  As Secretary he headed delegations to various world capitals working on trade and export promotion for U.S. agriculture.  Bob also traveled throughout the U.S. to help communicate farm policy and promote the farm industry and a better farm economy.

From 1981-1982 Bob was President of the Farmland-Eaton World Trade.  In 1984 he was chosen to be the CEO for National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), headquartered in Washington, DC.   

After his retirement in 1994, Bob and Helen moved back to Roseau to be near their family and hometown roots.  He continued working for the good of his community by serving on many committees, both locally and nationally.  He was proud to be elected as a Regent for the University of Minnesota, serving his Minnesota Gophers.

Bob enjoyed family, boating on the Potomac River, sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and Lake of the Woods in Minnesota.  In his later years he enjoyed golfing, woodworking, and playing guitar, belonging to a music group called Highway 11 Ramblers.  He especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Even though Bob’s favorite place to be was his home, he very much appreciated the great care and love he was given by the staff at LifeCare Roseau Manor, LifeCare Medical Center, and Oakcrest Senior Housing.

Bob is survived by his wife Helen; daughters Dianne (Stephen) Dahl and Linda (Larry) Vatnsdal, both of Roseau; daughter-in-law Mary Bergland of Minnetonka, MN; sons Allan (Laura) Bergland of Loveland, CO; Bill (Jane) Bergland of Stillwater, MN; Frank (Susan) of Charlottesville, VA; 18 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren;  brother Glen (Marie) Bergland of Warroad, MN; sister-in-law Lois Bergland of Thief River Falls, MN; brother-in-law David (Katharine) Grahn; and several nieces and nephews.

Bob is preceded in death by two sons Stevan and Jon; his parents; sister Betty and her husband Morris Roadfeldt; brother Phillip Bergland; nephew Roger Roadfeldt.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Roseau Area Community Fund, Roseau County Historical Society, Moe Lutheran Church Radio Broadcast. 

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