Cover photo for Richard Dean Bjerkaas's Obituary
Richard Dean Bjerkaas Profile Photo
1940 Richard 2021

Richard Dean Bjerkaas

September 17, 1940 — August 30, 2021

Richard D. Bjerkaas passed away on August 30, 2021 at his home in Rochester. He was born on September 17, 1940 on a farm in rural Osakis, MN to Philip and Muriel (Vangstad) Bjerkaas. Richard (Dick) graduated from Eagle Bend High School (1958) and the University of Minnesota (1966), with a degree in Agricultural Business. He served in the United States Army from 1962-1963 and the Army Reserves through 1968. He married Sharon Johnson on February 16, 1963. Dick worked for numerous banking institutions in Rochester, including Federal Land Bank/ Farm Credit Services, First Bank, and Eastwood Bank. He retired as Vice President of Eastwood Bank. Dick also worked in self-employment in the farm real estate and appraisal businesses. As a member of Calvary Evangelical Free Church since 1970, Dick served on the church board as financial secretary for 30 years. He also served on the board of Elim Care/ Cassia for 30 years, retiring from his role in December 2020. Dick was a longtime member of the Rochester Area Ag Committee, helping to organize the annual Country Breakfast on the Farm during the Rochesterfest celebration. This involvement brought great enjoyment to Dick, connecting him to his farming roots and love for farming, farmers, local farm operations, and a good pancake breakfast! In recent years, Dick befriended many refugee families in Rochester. He drew great meaning from the friendships he built as he assisted with many practical and social supports. Dick often teared up talking about these friendships, and the great courage and resilience he saw so beautifully evident in these friends as they worked hard to rebuild their lives after unimaginable loss. Dick loved his many community and church involvements, and those who knew Dick well will attest that his greatest life joy was his family. His favorite day was one that included his "people" - his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. His family love was deep, and included siblings, brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and dear friends. He took every opportunity to remind each family member how much he cherished them, and to encourage them in their own individual and unique ways of being in the world. His entire life was defined by his faith in Jesus, his love for people, his integrity in every pursuit, and his desire to serve others with kindness and generosity. Dick is survived by his wife, Sharon Bjerkaas; son, Nowell Bjerkaas of Oronoco, MN and two daughters, Kristine (Matt) Friesen of St. Paul, MN and Karmen (Matt) Saski of Rochester, MN; grandchildren, Maria (Sam) Ouverson, Annika, Chelley, Olivia and Naika Saski; and Henrie, Lottie and Svea Friesen; three sisters, Patricia Tuttle of Fountain Hills, AZ, Ruth (Ron) Jelinek of Ham Lake, MN, Audrey (Doug) Suker of Edina, MN, and one brother, Myron (Cindy) Bjerkaas of Alexandria, MN. He was preceded in death by his parents. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at Calvary Evangelical Free Church in Rochester, MN. The service will also be livestreamed at Burial will be at Oakwood East Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5:00-7:00 pm on Friday, September 3, 2021 at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes and also one hour prior to the service at the church. The family requests that everyone wear masks for the events. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Calvary Evangelical Free Church, Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, or to the Bjerkaas family for the benefit of refugee families. Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Bjerkaas family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, September 3, 2021

5:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes

5421 Royal Pl NW, Rochester, MN 55901

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Saturday, September 4, 2021

Starts at 11:00am (Central time)

Calvary Evangelical Free Church

5500 25th Ave NW, Rochester, MN 55901

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