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In Memoriam ~ George Sinner ’46

George Sinner ’46

George Albert Sinner, 89, of Fargo, passed away peacefully March 9, 2018, at Eventide Fargo after an abundant, joyful, and rewarding life.

George “Bud” was a loving, smart, kind, funny, and sensitive man of deep, unwavering faith who was adored by so many, especially his family. He was immensely proud of his wife, Janie, and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and he welcomed with open arms all the spouses who joined the family. He loved holding babies whenever they came to visit, laying them on his knees and singing to them. His love went far beyond his family; he loved children of all ages and being around people in general. He dedicated his life to caring for his family and serving others.

Born in Fargo on May 29, 1928, to Albert F. and Katherine (Wild) Sinner, Bud grew up in Casselton, working on the family farm. He attended Casselton schools and seminary at St. John’s Preparatory School (Minnesota), and graduated from St. John’s University with a philosophy degree. He had plans to become a priest but decided he wanted to marry and have a family. Not long after, he met Elizabeth Jane Baute of Lebanon, Ky. While serving in the North Dakota Air National Guard, he was activated by the Air Force to Valdosta, Ga., where he and Janie were married Aug. 10, 1951. When his service was completed, they made their home in Casselton, where George joined his father Albert, beloved brother Bill, and brother-in-law Ellery Bresnahan, in forming the family farm partnership, SB&B. Bud and Janie raised their 10 children and shared exciting years watching them learn and grow. They moved to Bismarck in 1984 when Bud was elected governor, then to Fargo in 1992.

He began his political career with two terms in the North Dakota Senate from 1963-1966. He served on the Board of Higher Education in the early 70s, was chairman of the Sugar Beet Growers Association 1975-1979, and was instrumental in creating the Northern Crops Institute. He was elected again in 1982 to the North Dakota House of Representatives and, in November 1984, was elected North Dakota’s 29th governor. After he left office in 1992, he joined American Crystal Sugar as Vice President of Government Affairs and retired in 1995.

Bud was honored to serve as governor, and he worked tirelessly to improve life for all. With every decision he made, he did what he believed to be the right thing, regardless of the political consequences. He truly enjoyed working with his devoted staff; he usually came into the office singing and was always ready with a hug for anyone who needed one. He was proud of his accomplishments but always gave credit where it was due. He was also very proud to have been adopted into the Lakota Sioux tribe as an honorary member.

He especially treasured family time at the lake cabin. He loved to fish with family and friends, then clean their catch on his homemade, golf-cart-converted, fish-cleaning table — one of his many inventions. He had a farmer’s fix-it ingenuity and was a master at finding solutions to problems. Among his inventions were a portable, adjustable basketball stand; a contraption for rolling the dock in and out; a Christmas tree tray; and a toboggan-pulling device for the pickup. He saved all bolts, nails, screws, scrap containers, rope, and rubber in case they could be reused. At his 80th birthday celebration, every gift he received was made out of duct tape. He loved Ole and Lena jokes, poetry, Cribbage, and crossword puzzles, and he was a big fan of watching many area sports teams. For years, he and his sons, grandsons, and close friends enjoyed an annual hunting trip. He loved playing golf with his best friend, Ellery; another close friend, Chuck Fritz; and his family. He loved to sing, and he had a deep spirituality and love of God that guided him in his daily life.

But his greatest love was his bride of 66 years. At Eventide his last months, he waited anxiously every day to see Janie come in, and then his face and eyes lit up! Their undying love for each other was delightful to witness.

He will be so greatly missed.

Survivors include his wife, Janie; his children, Bob (Lynette), Fargo; George (Margaret), Fargo; Betsy Witt (Tom), Duluth, Minn.; Marty Boeckel (Craig), Bismarck; Paula Sutherland, Woodbury, Minn.; Mary Jo Savageau (John), Bismarck; Jim (Lindie), Nelson, New Zealand; Jerry (Clare), Brainerd, Minn.; Joe (Tracy), Cody, Wyo.; Eric, Harwood; 27 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, A. Jane Sinner, Casselton; and brother-in-law, Ellery Bresnahan, Casselton. He is preceded in death by his brothers, William and Richard (Fr. Dick); his sister, Jeanne Bresnahan; and his son-in-law, Fred Sutherland.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, March 16, at Nativity Church of Fargo. Prayer service will be 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at Nativity Church. Arrangements are being handled by Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo. Burial will be in Casselton at a private ceremony.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Churches United for the Homeless in Moorhead, Minn.; the New Life Center in Fargo; or LSSND-New American Services in Fargo.

Arrangements entrusted to the care of Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center. Online guest book at: