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Former Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Robert "Bob" Norland remembered as an all-around good guy

Robert "Bob" Norland, a former Minnesota State Patrol trooper, volunteered at the Sandhill River Golf Club in Fertile, helped build the Community Veterans Memorial there and was a member of the Polk County Fair Board for about 20 years.

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Robert "Bob" Norland was a supporter of his sons' sports teams in Fertile, Minn., and had a baseball field named after him.

FERTILE, Minn. – Longtime Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Robert “Bob” Norland was a hard worker, community booster and an avid fan of the town’s sports, say people who knew him.

Norland, 75, of Fertile, Minn., died Saturday, April 10, at his home.

A Minnesota State Patrol trooper for 32 years, Norland inspired his son Brad to follow in his footsteps. Brad Norland, a trooper who lives in Fosston, recalls seeing the respect with which his father treated people, and how they, in turn, respected him.

After he retired from his job as a trooper in 2000, the elder Norland worked for the Polk County Sheriff's Office for 11 years as a part-time bailiff and transport deputy.

“He was my hero, for sure,” Brad Norland said. ”That’s one of the main reasons I got into law enforcement.”

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Norland's father taught his son by example.

“You worked hard, and you treated people the way you wanted to be treated. That was just huge with our family,” Norland said, noting that his younger brother, Mike Norland, a Polk County (Minn.) sheriff’s deputy, also pursued a career in law enforcement.

“He had a way about him that was just dignity and respect for everyone’” said Michael Moore, former owner of the Fertile Journal newspaper.

Though Bob Norland dedicated a lot of time to his job as a state trooper, he didn’t miss his kids' sporting events, which included baseball and football, Brad Norland said.

“He was a big sports fan, and he made it to our stuff, even though he was working,” Norland said.

His father also volunteered at the Sandhill River Golf Club in Fertile, helped build the Community Veterans Memorial there and was a member of the Polk County Fair Board for about 20 years. The Polk County Fair in Fertile is one of the oldest and most well-known fairs in northwest Minnesota.

“Bob was kind of a jack of all trades for the fair board," said Moore, who worked with him on the board. "He helped with the bike program. He helped organize the parade. He just helped. Bob was there whenever you needed it.”

His dad didn’t expect anything in return for his volunteer work at the fair, Brad Norland said.

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“His reward for that was people were enjoying themselves,” he said. “Anybody that grew up and graduated from Fertile (School) just cherishes that fair because that’s when everybody comes back. It’s basically a school reunion every year,” he said.

“He was community- and civic-minded to the Nth degree. He had an attitude that was second to none. ... He was just a wonderful person to be around,” Moore said.

A funeral service with military rites will be held for Norland at 11 a.m., Monday, April 19, at Concordia Lutheran Church in Fertile. All Minnesota and Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 distancing guidelines will be followed, and masks must be worn at the service..

Related Topics: MINNESOTA STATE PATROL
Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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