Thief River Falls – Robert “Bob” Rugland passed away peacefully on March 6, 2022 at Oakland Park in Thief River Falls.

Bob was born on February 6, 1923 in Bemidji, the son of Ella (Sando) and George Rugland.

The family moved to Roseau. At a very young age, he started working for farmers all around the area until he enlisted in the United States Army in 1944. He re-enlisted in 1945 and served in the 3rd Army under General George Patton, and took part in the Battle of the Bulge. He was a tank driver until his tank became disabled. Bob remained in the Army until 1949 and was honorably discharged for the 2nd time.

On October 5, 1946 he was united in marriage to Gloria Smith in Georgia. To this union, three daughters were born:  Janice, Diane, and Kelly. After living in Roseau and Billings, MT, they made their home in Thief River Falls in 1969. Bob’s resume included crop sprayer (he survived 2 plane crashes) and bush pilot. He was often called on rescue missions when planes went down or missing, and also to bring hunters in to hunt wolves. His trucking career expanded over 40 years, including ice road trucking (survived polar bear invasion) and, of course, over the road.

The most impressive was 106 trips to Anchorage, Alaska. (He survived a rollover crash with Kelly). Bob participated in the Panama Canal highway construction as well. He worked for the North Star Transport in Thief River Falls for many years until retirement.

He was a member of the VFW and the Legion.

Bob’s hobbies were taking pictures of all his trucking adventures and telling the stories that went along with them when he would come home.

Bob is survived by daughters, Janice Harshaw, Cookville, TN, and Kelly (John) Nelson, Thief River Falls; grandchildren, Rhonda (Mark) Daigneault, Tacoma, WA, Jade (Wendy) Fredrickson, Lancaster,  Heidi (Andrew) Tunheim, Wishek, ND, Lance (Kayla) Fredrickson, North Glenn, CO, Wayne (Santana) Hanson, Thief River Falls, Lindsay (Parker) Merchant, Thief River Falls, Jenny (Jason) Woods, Goodridge,  Jessie (Shane) Nelson, Casper WY, Jake (Kasey) Nelson, Thief River Falls; and 13 great-grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Gloria Rugland; daughter, Diane Rugland; parents, Ella and George Rugland; brother, Steve Rugland; nephew, Stewart Rugland; and very special friend, Delores Anderson.

Funeral Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 11, 2022 at Johnson Funeral Service Chapel in Thief River Falls.

Visitation will be one hour before the service.

Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery, following the funeral service.

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