Richard Gordon “Rich” Halstenson, 65, of Crookston, MN, died tragically in a traffic accident on Hwy 9 a few miles north of Beltrami, MN early Friday morning, June 21, 2019.
Rich was born in Grand Forks, ND on April 15, 1954, the son of Gordon and Ethel (Henry) Halstenson. He was baptized in the Lutheran faith and his first 6 years were spent growing up in Niagara, ND. The family then moved to Inkster, ND where Rich was confirmed at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and graduated from Midway High School with the Class of 1972. After spending a year at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks studying in the Aviation Department, he worked locally with area pilots to obtain his commercial pilots license and begin his career in agricultural aviation. As a 2nd generation spray pilot he soon took over his father’s business, known as Inkster Ag Flying Service. On August 4, 1978, Rich was united in marriage to Nancy Claire Carson at her family’s farmstead near St. Thomas, ND. They were blessed to welcome two children, Benjamin and Nicole, into their loving home. Rich and his spray plane, dubbed the “bluetail fly” by a close friend, were a familiar sight in the skies over the Inkster area for many years. During this time he also served as a volunteer firefighter assuming the role of the Inkster Fire Chief. In 1990, Rich, Nancy, and the kids moved to Crookston, where for several years he continued to fly until retiring from AgriMAX in 2010. Since then he had enjoyed driving for Michaelson Trucking, mostly delivering hay throughout the tri-state area.
Rich and Nancy have become devoted members of Trinity Lutheran Church. He was also a member of the MN, ND, and National Agricultural Aviation Associations, and a former member of the Crookston Masonic Lodge. He was an avid deer hunter and member of the West Polk County Deer Hunters’ Association and the National Rifle Association, and enjoyed fishing, camping, gardening and keeping a close eye on his tomato crop. He loved playing sports and was very proud of his efforts on the field of play. Some of his favorite memories growing up were about his time spent playing high school football, baseball, and track (where he set many school records).
Rich (AKA Papa or Pops) was a loving grandfather and very active in his grandchildren’s lives. Rich loved being around family and enjoyed countless nights around the campfire taking pride in the recently found “chimney” or teaching the grands the sound of the loon. Nancy and Rich also very much enjoyed packing up the camper and taking off for the weekend. Some of their favorites included Stump Lake, ND, Baudette, MN, Turtle River State Park, and many other campgrounds.
If you knew Rich, you knew that he was very passionate about everything that he put his mind to. This was especially true when it came to his duties in the air or on the road. His work ethic was impeccable, following through until the job was done. His communication on a daily basis showed his family and friends compassion and loyalty. He will forever be our guardian and protector and we will miss him dearly.
Rich is survived by Nancy, his beloved wife of over 40 years; their son and daughter-in-law, Ben (a 3rd generation spray pilot) and Lacie Halstenson of Lisbon, ND; daughter and son-in-law, Nicole and Shane Heldstab of Crookston, MN; 4 much-loved grandchildren: Jack Gordon Halstenson, and Anna Marie, Alice Faith, and Claire Catherine Heldstab; a sister, Ellen and (David) Salisbury of Minnewaukan, ND; Nancy’s siblings, Toni and (Tom) Hodgson of White Earth Lake, MN and Peter and (Bobbi) Carson of Maple Grove, MN; as well as, nieces, nephews, extended family, and many friends. He was preceded in death by his precious grandson, James William Halstenson (twin brother of Jack) who died on November 28, 2016; parents, Gordon and Ethel Halstenson; and parents-in-law, Robert and Patricia Carson. Treasured be the memory of Rich Halstenson.
A memorial service honoring the life of Rich Halstenson will be held on Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 11:00am at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston with The Rev. Greg Isaacson officiating. Visitation with his family will be at Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home on Wednesday, June 26 from 5-7:00pm, with a prayer service and time of sharing at 7:00pm. Visitation will continue for one hour prior to the service at the church. Inurnment will take place in Oakdale Cemetery, Crookston. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to a very special charity in Rich’s life, The Ronald McDonald House. Please send memorials to 818 Fulton St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414 in care of Rich and James Halstenson.