Richard Eugene Blessum, the son of Oscar and Valborg (Swanson) Blessum was born on May 1, 1926 in Rugby, North Dakota. He died at the age of 88 years on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at the Trinity Medical Center in Minot, North Dakota.
Richard was raised on the family farm of his parents and received his education in the Rugby schools. He enlisted to the U.S. Navy on April 27, 1944. He served in WWII in the South Pacific aboard the USS Mellette, taking part in the invasion of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. They also took part in transporting occupation troops and medical personnel to Nagasaki after the Atom bomb was dropped there. The Mellette was a part of the fleet that was in Tokyo Bay at the time the surrender was signed, ending World War II. Richard was honorably discharged on May 22, 1946 and returned to Rugby. On July 5, 1946, he was united in marriage to Shirley Ann Teigen at Bethany Lutheran Church in Rugby. Together they purchased Blessum family farm northeast of Rugby, where they raised their three boys and farmed. In 1974, the couple retired from the farm life and moved to Rugby, where Richard opened Rugby Woodworks. In 1988, he retired from his woodworking and became involved with the Geographical Center Historical Society and served as president of the board of directors for several years. He was appointed Curator of the Museum, a position he held for a time before he became a full time volunteer maintenance worker. He was a member of the Rugby Eagles, American Legion Post #23, V.F.W, a charter member of the North Dakota Iwo Jima Veterans Association and Last Mans Club of WWII. Shirley died May 2, 1998.
Richard is survived by his sons, Kenneth of Rugby, Mark of Lynnwood, WA, and Kelly of Tacoma, WA; two grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, cousins; other relatives and a host of friends. He was preceded in death by his wife; brothers, Waldemar and Donald; sisters, Geraldine Moen and Dorothy Calfas; an infant brother and sister; and his parents.
Funeral services was held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 10th at the Bethany Lutheran Church, Rugby with spring burial in the Persilla Watts Cemetery, Rugby. Pastor Dana Holter, officiating.
Organist: Barb Lee
Casket Bearers: Dennis Blessum, Jerry Blessum, Tim Blessum, Gerald Harmel, Roger Hersey & Selmer Moen
Military Honors Accorded by: Clarence Larson American Legion Post #23 Honor and Color Guard of Rugby and The North Dakota Military Funeral Honors Detail
Arrangements with Anderson Funeral Home of Rugby Online registry: www.funeralsbyanderson.com
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