Virlyn Norgard was born August 22, 1918 in Atlanta, Georgia and died at Ponderosa Villa in Crawford, NE on July 19, 2018. He was 33 days short of his 100th birthday. He was the oldest son of John Norgaard an immigrant of Denmark and Lorena Newton. In 1930, after he and Lorena divorced, John and his three sons, Virlyn, Lorenzo (Larry), and Bertrum (Joe), moved to Fort Robinson where John had been hired as a carpenter. The couple's daughter, Hazel stayed in Chicago, before moving to Crawford. Virlyn's love for horses intensified while living at Fort Robinson, a major remount station. Until he was 80 years old, he rode nearly every day and almost always rode English style. He was particularly fond of his mount Potpourri. He attended Crawford High School and was a Golden Gloves boxer, winning many matches across the region. He continued boxing in the Navy and taught many local boys the art of boxing. When World War II began, Virlyn joined the Navy and was assigned to the bakery in Camp Perry, Virginia. He became well known for his homemade bread and his intricately decorated cakes. Several of his cakes were delivered to military weddings, one even to the daughter of a general. After his discharge, Virlyn worked for a poultry breeder in Virginia. In 1946, he and Larry purchased the Shultz Hatchery in Crawford, renaming it Norgard Hatchery. A short time later, their sister, Hazel, and her husband, Bob Reutter, joined the endeavor. When Virlyn married Betty DeWitt in 1950, she also joined the operation. During the years the couple worked at the hatchery they became the parents of three children, Steve, Peggy, and Jim. He loved to dance and taught his daughter and her friends how to master the dance floor. After the hatchery was sold in 1973, Virlyn was hired by Fort Robinson to supervise prisoners from Lincoln who worked at the Fort. He drove the tour bus, managed the cookout, and of course he continued riding. He and Betty also traveled extensively, touring both the United States and Europe. A highlight of his travels was a trip to Denmark where his father was born.
Virlyn was a charter member of the Centennial Saddle Club and twice retraced the "Great American Horse Race" from Chicago to Chadron. In 1974, he received the "Outstanding Western Nebraskan" award in appreciation for his promotion of equestrian activities at Fort Robinson. In 1995, he was the "Ride the Ridge" trail boss. He and Betty served as honorary trail bosses in 2017. Virlyn rode or drove a buggy in the Fourth of July parade for well over 20 years. In 2006, he and wife Betty, along with Marge and Pat Drinkwalter, were chosen as Grand Marshalls for the Fourth of July parade. As one of the community's oldest citizens, he was a cohonoree in 2018. He was also inducted into the Dawes County Agriculture Society Hall of Fame in 2016. When he hung up his saddle, he concentrated on taking walks across the community and on the White River Trail. He greeted everyone he met---always ready to visit about both yesterday and tomorrow. Shortly before his death he told his family that he felt very blessed. He'd had a good life, a good wife, good kids, good friends, and good beer. Virlyn was preceded in death by his parents: John Norgaard and Lorena (Newton); his brothers: Lorenzo (Larry), and his wife, Norma; Bertrum (Joe); and his sister, Hazel; brothers-in-law: Kenneth Carter, Bob Wolf, and Don DeWitt; and sister-inlaw Mary. He leaves to mourn his passing, his wife of 67 years: Betty; sons: Steve and Jim and his wife Ronda (Eberspecher); daughter: Peggy and her husband, John Carolan; brother-in-law: Bob Reutter (Clara); sisters-in-law: Lorraine Carter and Evelyn Wolfe; three grandsons: Jeff (Erin), Mike, and Casey Norgard; stepgranddaughters: Chris, (Vern) Church, and Stephanie (Tim) McGuire; five stepgreat grandchildren, a host of nieces and nephews, and his great friend and walking partner, Darrell Blood. He also leaves behind a plethora of friends and neighbors who could always count on Virlyn to supply a smile and a jaunty nod as he traveled down the sidewalks of Crawford and across the White River Trail. He was proud to be part of a single community in two different centuries.
914 Second St
Crawford, NE 69339
n Hwy 71
Crawford, NE 69339