Long time community activist Marv Erdmann dies

2014-01-30T16:43:00Z Long time community activist Marv Erdmann diesBy JESSICA HOLDMAN | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

Marv Erdmann loved North Dakota. He was heavily involved across the state and will be remembered for it in death.

Erdmann, 83, died early Thursday morning as a result of a head injury sustained from slipping on his icy driveway.

Erdmann was a former Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce president, Bismarck-Mandan Development Association board president, Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation board chairman, Folkfest chairman, Norsk Hostfest host, and a board member of the Bismarck State College Foundation, St. Alexius Medical Center, University of Mary, Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, and the Bismarck Civic Center’s Civic Arena Promotions just to name a few.

“He was a big community guy,” said his son Mark Erdmann.

Erdmann, a Milwaukee native, moved to Bismarck in 1977 to be president of Super Valu Stores Inc.

“We thought we’d be here a couple, three years,” Marv Erdmann said in a Bismarck Tribune story on Aug. 12, 1992. The article said the Erdmanns fell in love with the city and retired here.

“We feel like natives,” Erdmann added in the article. “This community has given us some very special things and we like to give back to the community some of the things it has given us.”

Erdmann gave back by helping fundraise for the Missouri Valley Family YMCA expansion and heading a capital campaign for a Ruth Meiers Hospitality House expansion. He was involved with Dakota Zoo, All Seasons Arena, Charles Hall Youth Home and the North Dakota Affiliate of the American Diabetes Association.

Erdmann also was co-owner of Captain Meriwethers Landing & Pasta Co. and a founding owner of the Lewis and Clark Riverboat.

“He was very outgoing and community oriented,” said his wife, Lois Erdmann.

“He was the board of directors chairman that hired me 20 years ago,” said Tracy Potter executive director of the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation. “He was always active in the community long before he retired. He was a philanthropist and a funny, funny guy.”

Former Bismarck mayor Bill Sorensen said he remembers Erdmann for his willingness to help, looking out for what was best for Bismarck and as a man of faith.

“He was one of the people I admired most and had a lot of respect for,” Sorensen said. “The community owes a debt of gratitude to Marv for all the work he did in his years here in our area.”

Erdmann was still engaged and active in the community leading up to his death, Potter said.

Mark Erdmann said his father loved to be involved in many political events, “both Democrat and Republican ironically.”

“He seemed to have the ability to truly unite people from both sides of the aisle, which is unique, especially these days,” Mark Erdmann said.

Mark Erdmann said he expected excellence in anything he was involved in. His favorite saying was “Smooth seas never made a good mariner.”

“Which I think was his tactful way of saying stop whining and get to work,” Mark Erdmann said.

Erdmann is survived by his wife Lois Erdmann, sons Mark Erdmann of Lake Mills, Wis., and Scott Erdmann of Minneapolis, daughter Kim Bergley of Fargo-Moorhead and eight grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck. Burial will be held in the spring at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery in Mandan.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com.

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