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Erven Wayne Skaar, 92, peacefully passed on to be with Jesus on Monday, January 22, 2024 in Cambridge, MN, leaving behind a legacy and life that exemplified the fruits of the spirit in which he radiated love and gentleness.
Born to Ole and Olga (Nelson) Skaar on January 31, 1931, Erven and his seven siblings were 3rd generation stewards of the Skaar homestead in Thief River Falls, a piece of land whose history stretches back to 1885. A graduate of Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls and University of Minnesota College of Agriculture, Erven received his Bachelor of Science degree with a specialty in animal husbandry and crops. Here, he cultivated a deep passion for Agricultural Science that led him to return to the family farm in Thief River Falls. During this time, he was recruited to be a University of Minnesota Extension Agent with Agriculture and 4-H youth development for five years at Long Prairie, MN, Todd County. The next part of his career spanned 26 years in Cambridge, MN, where he worked as an Extension Agent with Agriculture and 4-H Youth Development in Isanti County. During this time, he served as President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Agricultural Extension Educators, a life member Epsilon Sigma Phi, and carried his 4-H Alumni interest to the U of M Extension Service Vintage 4-H retiree alumni group. His academic journey led him to earn a Master of Science in Agriculture from the University of Minnesota early in his tenure, further solidifying his expertise in the field he cherished. Erven’s earnest connection to the land and his commitment to agricultural science became a cornerstone of his identity.
It was during his university days that he met the love of his life, Bette, with whom he shared an enduring union of 68 years. Their story, born in the harmonies of the Lutheran Choir and the Punchinello Players theater group at the University of Minnesota, is a testament of love, acceptance, and graciousness. Erv continued his musical endeavors singing baritone in the Cambridge Lutheran Church choir for 58 years, and was a faithful member of the "Primetime Singers", where he was known for his steadfast loyalty and proud smile.
The chapters of Erven's life unfolded with dignity and the days began with purpose, as he beat the rooster to the punch starting each and every day at 5:00AM. As a writer and avid researcher, he penned a weekly column "Visiting With Erv" in the Cambridge Star Newspaper for well over a decade. Through this venture, he shared his research and wisdom on all things agriculture. Whenever possible, he created and communicated opportunities for people to serve God and their community, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of his readers and the city of Cambridge.
Erven's life had a spirit of adventure that extended beyond the fields and newspapers. He, alongside Bette, shared an insatiable love for travel. As proud Norwegians, they traversed the globe, exploring their roots in the beauty of Norway, Finland, Sweden, England, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, and Switzerland. Their travels even took them to China and Egypt! During their son Trygve's service in the U.S. Army, Erven and Bette visited him in Germany where he was stationed for 3 ½ years. Here, they went on new adventures and proudly celebrated their son’s service.
During Trygve’s service in the Army, Erven didn’t hesitate to find a way to serve his country and fellow man too, volunteering with the organization Beyond the Yellow Ribbon in Isanti County where he supported service members and veterans on the board for several years. Following his retirement from the U of M Extension Service, Erven spent 18 years responsible for the potato and vegetable division of the Horticulture building at the Minnesota State Fair. He was involved in leadership and judging at the Minnesota State Fair for more than 65 years. He was active with various Isanti County ministries and organizations, volunteering with Cambridge Evangelical Lutheran Church, Men’s Bible Study, Lutefisk Supper Club, Prime Time Singers, and the Isanti County Historical Society.
Erven lived out his golden years living with his son Trygve, where they often reminisced about his early years on the farm milking cows and singing with Bette at university. His mature years, in which he chopped wood up to age 88, were in no small part due to his love for Lutefisk. Preparing and serving 100s of pounds of Lutefisk every year at the annual Cambridge Lutheran Church Lutefisk Supper, he filled the bellies of Norwegians; and even managed to let a few Swedes through the door. In his last week before he met Jesus, he was asked by a nurse, “What are you most proud of?” He replied, “My family, my work with nature, and my work with animals.” His contributions to agriculture, coupled with his love of Jesus, family, work, and community, define a life well-lived.
Besides his parents, Erv was preceded in death by his sisters Oline (Rod) Markine, Thelma (Art) Terrian, Elsie (Robert) Fairbank, Faythe (Harold) Kinnunen, and brothers Andrew and Leonard Skaar.
Erv is survived by his wife of 68 years, Bette, son Trygve Skaar of Rosemount, three grandchildren Josiah Skaar of Wheaton, IL, Meira Skaar (Ronnie Kitoy) of Bloomington, Cadence Snyder of Edina, daughter-in-law Kathy Skaar of Lakeville, sister Martha Parsons of Yelm, WA, many nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.
Memorial Service 11AM, Saturday, February 10, 2024 at Cambridge Lutheran Church. Visitation one hour prior to the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to the Isanti County Historical Society and Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon are preferred.
Isanti County Historical Society
33525 Flanders Street NE, Cambridge MN 55008
Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon
PO Box 485, Cambridge MN 55008