Ervin James Barta, of Bismarck, passed away on June 29, 2019.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 11, at Church of Corpus Christi, 1919 N. 2nd St., Bismarck, with Rev. Jared Johnson officiating.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, where a vigil service will begin at 7 p.m.
Burial is at 1 p.m. Thursday at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan.
Erv was born on Aug. 16, 1932, to Frank C. and Ann K. (Ficek) Barta on a rural farmstead in Dunn County, North Dakota.
As a young boy, Erv’s family moved from the family farm to Dickinson, where he attended Roosevelt Grade School and Dickinson High School. As a youngster, the first couple of years in school were difficult as he did not speak English. His family had a proud Bohemian heritage, which was the only language spoken with his parents and grandparents. After going through periods of language instruction with his parents and younger brother, English became his preferred language.
During his junior year of high school, on Oct. 8, 1949, Erv enlisted in the North Dakota Army National Guard Co. K 164th Infantry Regiment. He was proud of earning $2 for each drill session. While a senior in high school, at age 18, in December 1950, the unit was mobilized for the Korean War. They departed for Camp Rucker, Alabama for infantry training on January 16, 1951. In February 1951, he was ordered as a Corporal to an overseas assignment in Korea. He was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division for three months, then the Division was reassigned to various locations throughout Japan. Erv was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to Headquarters, 16th U.S. Army Corps, Sendai, Japan, as an Inspector General, traveling extensively throughout Japan performing inspections of U.S. Army Units. He was later promoted to Sergeant First Class.
Upon his return from service, Erv attended Dickinson State College, worked for J.C. Penny and the KG Men’s Store. He married his high school sweetheart, the love of his life, Dolores E. Kuntz, on Oct. 20, 1953. They celebrated 64 joyous years of marriage before Dolores passed away on May 30, 2017.
Two months after his discharge from the service, Erv reenlisted in the Army National Guard and became a full-time member serving as administrator for the Dickinson Unit. He was commissioned to Warrant Officer, and was transferred to Bismarck in 1964. He served in many roles and capacities: Supply Officer; Food Service Officer; Administrative Officer, Recruiter and as an Instructor at the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. His last five years were in the position of Finance Officer for Task Force 164th, with assignments in Honduras, Ecuador, Jamaica, and Panama, performing humanitarian assistance and building roads with the Alabama and North Dakota National Guard Task Forces.
In January 1991, he was assigned as National Guard Liaison Officer to Army Forces Command, Ft McPherson, Ga., in support of Operation Desert Storm. His military service was a great source of pride and accomplishment. He earned many awards such as the Legion of Merit Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters, Korean Service Medal, Army Occupation Medal of Japan and others too numerous to mention. He was proud of his Regimental Crest, the 164th Infantry, and their motto (JE SUIS PRET - I AM READY). After serving for 42 years, five months, and 18 days, he retired from his military service as a Chief Warrant Officer Four and was honorably discharged on Aug. 31, 1992.
Before moving to Bismarck, Erv served 11 years as a volunteer firefighter for the Dickinson Fire Department, fighting numerous fires, search and rescue, and as a first responder. He also worked with the St. Mary’s High School Carnival for many years, filling many positions, and in 1978 he became the Carnival Chairman and was proud that the carnival exceeded their financial goal that year.
After retiring from military service, Erv worked for Federal Emergency Management Agency and the North Dakota Emergency Services Division as a Project Officer for disaster-related floods and fires. He was involved in all disaster related issues from 1993 to 2011.
Erv was a member of Corpus Christi parish, was a eucharistic minister, and both he and Dolores enjoyed volunteering and serving for parish funerals. Erv was a lifelong member of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Bismarck Elks, American Legion, the Forty and Eight (40 & 8), the American Veterans and the Retirees’ Association of the National Guard.
Erv will be remembered for his kind, generous heart, and love for his family. He was so proud of his four children, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, and had a special bond with each of them. He was fond of telling everyone how beautiful his granddaughters were and how handsome his grandsons were. He was always very involved in their lives, loved to watch their sporting events and followed them to many of their activities. All the grandchildren’s friends knew him as “Grandpa.”
He had a cabin at Brush Lake for many years, and a home in Arizona for over 20 years, which provided so many beautiful memories for the entire family as everyone spent a lot of time there with Grandma and Grandpa.
Erv was an avid golfer, and he could occasionally shoot his age. He loved to spend time on the course with his sons and son-in-law enjoying a cold beer. He looked forward to golfing with his senior men’s group, the SKUNKS in Bismarck, and the TOFS in Arizona. There always seemed to be a lot of fun and shenanigans!
Erv is survived by his four children, Michele (Mike) Towle, Bismarck, Mitchell (Becky), Bismarck, Dean (Jill), Excelsior, Minn., and Jeffrey, Mandan. He is also survived by his beloved grandchildren, Joseph (Mandi) Towle, St. Paul, Minn., Jessica (Dan) Smith, Bismarck, Annie Barta, St. Petersburg, Fla., Elle Barta, Bozeman, Mont., Calli (Grant) Garvin, Golden Valley, Minn., Max Barta, Brookings, S.D., Sage Barta, Bozeman, Mont., Blake Barta, Excelsior, David Barta, Excelsior; four great-grandchildren, Elijah and Helena Towle, St. Paul, and Kendall and Reese Smith, Bismarck; two brothers, Ed Barta, Franklin, Colo., and Frank Barta, Lexington, Ky. Also, his two furry friends, Toby and Pancho, will miss the treats and companionship that they shared with Grandpa.
Erv was preceded in death by his spouse, Dolores; his daughter, baby Eve; his parents, Frank and Ann Barta; and his sister, Eileen Grindberg.
Memorials may be given in Erv’s name to the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan, or the North Dakota Junior Golf Association.
Every man dies, not every man truly lives. Dad, your life is a testament to faith, love, grit, and integrity. You ran the good race, finished strong, and left a legacy in this world. We are confident you’ll be playing from the golf tips in heaven. You will be truly missed.