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JOPLIN - Carl Eugene "Gene" Bjornstad, 78, of Joplin died peacefully in his sleep at home on May 10, 2003.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the Chester Alliance Church, followed by a reception. Burial of ashes will be at 4:30 p.m. at the Joplin Cemetery.

Gene was born in Havre as the only child of Carl and Ida Mae (Young) Bjornstad on Jan. 17, 1925. Gene grew up on the family homestead 25 miles north of Joplin. He received his early education at the Tingdahl School near the farm. He completed his schooling in Joplin where he graduated from Joplin High School in 1942. He began farming at age 13 after his father died and continued to farm after his school years.

Gene began building his own home on the farm in 1947. He married Dawn E. Ross in Joplin on June 28, 1948. They made their home on the farm the past 55 years, where they worked and raised a family of three. He officially retired in 1992, but continued to be active in the farming operations as best he could. His health had failed in recent years.

Gene was baptized and confirmed at the Immanuel Lutheran Church near the farm and was active there for many years. He was a past president of the Hill County Farm Bureau and served as a Liberty County ASCS board member for 25 years.

A quiet unassuming man, he enjoyed the simple things in life. He loved woodworking and made many of the furnishings and fixtures in their home. Some of his woodworking projects were made as gifts to his family. In his early years, he enjoyed snowmobiling, fishing and hunting. Although Gene wasn't a TV fan, he did like to watch the news and weather, the PBS channel and professional hockey and football. The only time he enjoyed playing cards and games was on three occasions: Halloween, New Year's Eve and his birthday when he and Dawn would get together with the same good friends each year to celebrate these holidays. In 1973 he and his wife took a memorable trip to Israel. Gene loved his role as a Montana farmer and was content with his life.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents; and sons-in-law, John Pierce and Ron Nelson.

Survivors include his wife, Dawn Bjornstad of Joplin; sons, Donald "Barney" (Alvina) Bjornstad of Joplin and Robert (Rose) Bjornstad of Missoula; daughter, Barbara Nelson of Billings; seven grandchildren; one great-grandson; and several nephews and nieces.

Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel in Chester.


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