Evans Funeral Home

"Compassionate Funeral Service"

Carrington and New Rockford, North Dakota
701.652.3003 or 701.947.2911

Secondary Number ~ 701.650.9937

Olaf Ringerud

Olaf J. Ringerud passed away on July 24, 2021 at the age of 91, at CHI St. Alexius Health, in Carrington, North Dakota. He was born March 13, 1930 on the family farm in Enger Township, Steele County, North Dakota, to Olaf and Jennie Ringerud.  

In his youth, he attended country schools and Portland High School and was confirmed at Little Forks Lutheran Church. 

He graduated from Mayville State Teachers College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education in 1952. He met Muriel Jean Kjorness in college and married her July 17, 1953 in Mayville, North Dakota.

Olaf was an Army veteran, having served during the Korean War. He played trumpet in the 8th U.S. Army Band from 1952-1954 while stationed in Seoul, Korea. 

He earned a Master of Music Education degree from the State University of South Dakota in Vermillion in 1958.

Olaf started his music-teaching experience with 3 years of part-time instruction while a student in college. After graduating, he taught vocal and instrumental music in Anamoose, ND, for 2 years; Westhope, ND, for 3 years; then moved to Carrington in 1959 and taught for 28 years before retiring in 1987. 

Family was extremely important to Olaf. Together, Muriel and Olaf raised five children (Ona, Jenny, Mark, Peter, and John). 

He has been a member of several professional organizations including the National Education Association, North Dakota Education Association, Music Educators National Conference, and the North Dakota Music Educators Association which he served as president from 1967-1969. He was selected to the Music Educator Hall of Fame by the group in 1987.   

While in Carrington, his choirs toured many high schools in North Dakota, Minnesota and Winnipeg, Manitoba. These choirs also produced numerous Broadway musicals. He was proud of his music programs and all his students. His students participated in regional and state music contests earning many star ratings.

He also served as an adjudicator in music contests throughout North Dakota and Minnesota for 25 years, and has been a guest conductor at music festivals in North Dakota. 

Olaf became a registered piano technician in 1976. He was a member of the Piano Technicians Guild and tuned pianos for the International Music Camp and throughout central North Dakota. After retiring from teaching, he made piano tuning his full-time job. 

He was a member of the Carrington Trinity Lutheran Church. He served as the Senior Choir director for over 40 years. 

An avid golfer, Olaf won the Carrington city tournament in 1971 and taught golf lessons to many people over the years. He loved playing cards at the Senior Center. He and Muriel enjoyed traveling.   

He truly loved to visit with people throughout his life.

Olaf is survived by his wife of 68 years, Muriel. Five children, Ona Stoertz of Gross Lengden, Germany; Jenny (Todd) Grill of Plymouth, MN; Mark (Sarah) Ringerud of Columbia, MD; Peter (David Hill) Ringerud of Fargo, ND; and John Ringerud of Carrington, ND. Grandchildren, Jessica (Kristofer) Stoertz-Larsen, Daniel (Erin) Stoertz, Kyle (Melissa) Grill, Kelly Grill, Connor (Erin) Grill, Tanner (Jaime) Greenring, Ava (Eric Roberson) Ringerud, Alex Ringerud. And great-grandchildren Esmeralda Grill and Miles Greenring and one on the way.

Olaf is preceded in death by his parents Olaf and Jennie Ringerud, his brother Albert Ringerud, his sisters Pauline Owen and Marion Moen and son-in-law David Stoertz.  


Visitation will be August 6, 2021, Noon – 6:00PM with family present from 5:00PM – 6:00PM at Evans Funeral Home, Carrington.

Olaf’s Funeral Service will be held Saturday, August 7, 2021, 10:00AM at Trinity Lutheran Church, Carrington.

His Burial will be at the Carrington Cemetery.

Posted Condolences:


  1. I’m so sorry for your loss John and family.

  2. So very sorry for your loss. Olaf was a wonderful Christian man who loved his family. We had many great visits and of course golf games with Roy! Will be thinking and praying for all of you!

  3. Olaf developed a music program that was the envy of most schools in the state of North Dakota.
    When I moved to New Rockford Olaf was very supportive and encouraged me to stay for a while and build a program. This encouragement found a little competitive juices running through both of us and it became a friendly rivalry between the two of us. We continued this onto the golf course and continued to try to get together and play in North and South Dakota.
    I would say that it would take several readings of our yearly Christmas card from Olaf to get though his handwriting. I’m sure many of you understand what I am saying.
    I feel bad that I didn’t get one last phone call with Olaf so he could update me with all the music and family events that I had missed for the last two years.

  4. A wonderful teacher! God bless him! My sympathy to his family.

  5. John and family, so sorry for your loss, in our thoughts and prayers.

  6. Oh Olaf, I will miss your wit and smile. You were one of “my guys” while working at Trinity. Ringerud family, it was a privilege and honor to have Olaf show up every Friday to help with bulletins and then enjoy our coffee hours (literally hours). His love of all things Norway as he’d stand at attention on the national holiday still makes me smile. A life well lived and well loved.
    Carmen Polson

  7. I am saddened by Olaf’s passing. I knew him as a fellow teacher, judge, and he tuned my pianos for years.
    I remember calling Olaf the night of a concert telling him I had an “important” key on my piano that didn’t work. We visited and his comment was
    “ John, you have 87 others to look at, see what is different about them then the one that doesn’t work”. He was right! This comment has stuck with me for we over 30 years.
    God Bless his memory. We have lost one of the good guys!

  8. So very sorry for your loss! When I began teaching in Carrington 21 years ago, Olaf was one of the first people to find his way into my classroom to introduce himself and say hi. We enjoyed many amazing conversations over the years and he even attempted to teach me to golf! He was such a fabulous supporter of all of the school activities especially the concerts. He will be missed by many.

  9. John and family, I was so sorry to hear this news. I was greatly blessed to be a student of Olaf Ringerud from 5th to 12th grade. Largely because of his patience, encouragement, and passion for teaching, I went on to play through college and developed a general love of music that I now share with my own kids. What a legacy he leaves after so many years of teaching and so many lives touched! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. Kathy Linderman-Hill

  10. What a blessing to spend 68 years together! Olaf was a wonderful choir and band teacher. I am honored to have had him as a role model/teacher at CHS. My deepest sympathies to the family. Thank you for sharing him with us for so many years.

  11. The world of music has lost an exemplar, a mentor, an inspiring teacher, a lovely soul. He was a constant encourager and whether one was in band or choir or both, one was made better for his guidance, his enthusiasm for the arts of music, and his refusal to accept second best. Rest in peace, maestro. May your memory be eternal.

  12. My deepest condolences to all of you
    Olaf was not only my high school music teacher but also a good friend to my mom Marie who was the school secretary during much of his tenure at Carrington. He had a delightful sense of humor and was respected by all his students when I attended Carrington High. My love of music started in my home but Olaf reinforced my joy of music as well. Let the memories help you all through this difficult time.

  13. Sad to hear this. He was a wonderful very kind teacher.
    Prayers & sympathy to his

  14. I’m so very sorry to hear of Mr. Ringerud’s passing. I remember the very moment he asked if I was joining band. When I told him I wasn’t joining, he encouraged me to reconsider and told me that my grandparents had a couple of instruments that my aunts and uncles used to play. I joined band because of his push. I continued to play trombone through college and later encouraged my own middle schooler to play in band… a son who is now going to college to be a jazz band instructor. It all goes back to Mr. Ringerud taking a genuine interest and encouraging me to play. I am so sorry for your loss, and forever grateful for his lasting impact on so many lives.

  15. Ringerud Family,

    We were saddened to hear of Olaf’s passing. He was such a dear man & helped so many students develop a love for music. He was always loved & respected in the Carrington community.
    May he Rest In Peace,

    Steve & Jane Metzger

  16. I was saddened to hear of Olaf’s passing. Al really enjoyed working with him at CHS, there was never anyone complaining about the music programs as people were always happy with what they heard. One thing I remember was that the years Cindy and Pat were junior high they could not find a choir director at Church. I finally agreed to do it and the way I would handle it would we would get together and decide what to sing and they would go off to practice their parts. We would then get back together and sign together. These young people had far more music knowledge than I did because of what he taught them. The kids had an awesome choir that year and I couldn’t take any of the credit. Muriel and family you were so fortunate to have him as a husband and father. He was the type of man you wanted in your life. Keep your memories alive and you will have him forever. Love, Dianne

  17. Oh, what a gift Olaf was to the students in Carrington schools!! I was lucky enough to be a fifth grader when he arrived in 1959 and for the next 8 years I spent hours a day in band and choir. I still remember singing in the St Boniface Cathedral in Winnipeg and making an album! Mr Ringerud was so patient with our squeaks and learning (I played clarinet) – his smile gave you confidence. Thinking of you as you mourn and celebrate this great man.

  18. I wish you healing and peace.

  19. John & family-so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. I was in junior & concert choir in the 60’s-he was an amazing choir director. Back in those days we had 50+ students in our choir-under his leadership we performed in Winnipeg, sang with the prestigious Concordia choir, and yes even made a record! When we moved back to ND from Seattle, we bumped into each other often at the grocery store, fitness center, plays in New Rockford, etc. We had wonderful visits & talked about old memories. I respected your Dad very much & will miss him too. God’s blessings to your family🙏🙏❤️

  20. All my respects to the family. Your loss is heaven’s gain. Mr. Ringerud was a magnificent teacher and director taking everyone under his tutelage to the next level. Coming home to visit I would occasionally run into him and he always had some time to chat. RIP sir.

  21. My prayers and blessings to the family. Be comforted knowing Mr. Ringerud left a wonderful legacy with all of the students he so masterfully taught over many years. He was my instructor in the ‘70’s. I still see his face, and his patience in trying to produce wonderful music while teaching his many students. He will be remembered fondly.

  22. John and family, sorry to hear of your dads passing.

  23. I am saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Ringerud. He was an amazingly warm, talented and caring man and a magnificent and inspiring teacher. He was always encouraging and provided wonderful opportunities for us (trips to Canada, making the choir album, etc.) He enriched so many lives, including mine. When he retired from teaching, I felt sad for all the future students that would not have the fortune of experiencing him and learning from him. The heavens are brighter with his presence. Thank you for everything, Mr. Ringerud.
    Deepest condolences to your family!

  24. Olaf Ringerud was a true gift to this community. So thankful he was there for my kids as they developed their musical talents! Always enjoyed his programs! Rest In Peace, Mr. Ringerud! You indeed made a difference!
    My sincere sympathies to Muriel, John and the rest of the Ringerud family.

  25. My sympathy to Muriel and family. Larry always enjoyed chatting with Olaf. They had an ongoing debate as to what constituted real music, with Olaf clamming country western was not true music.

  26. John and family, so sorry for the loss of your father.
    He was a wonderful teacher and musician.

  27. Dear Ringerud family, Everything has been said so eloquently from the other notes. I can’t add any more except that Mr. Ringerud will always be the best music instructor and encourager a person could ever have. From clarinet lessons, vocal lessons to all the concerts he could pull out the best inner music a student had.
    He had that unique ability. Gracious and considerate gentleman who left such an impression on this person for life.
    Deepest condolences to you and yours and may all these thoughts give you comfort and peace.

  28. My condolences to the Ringerud family. Definitely one of my favorite teachers because of his passion for music, being a great teacher and role model, and making students perform at a high level. I enjoy music today because of Olaf.

  29. Our condolences to the Ringerud family. May your memories be of comfort. We always enjoyed our visits with Olaf when we would meet.

  30. It is impossible to overstate the profound effect “Mr. Ringerud” had on my family. He encouraged and fed our love of music and we have never forgotten him.

  31. I have very fond memories of the time I had with Olaf as my music inspiration. I’m going back to Olaf & Muriel’s days in Westhope, way back in the 1950s.

    My parents, Orv & Anne Anderson, were close friends of Olaf & Muriel for many years. Olaf got me started on the trombone, and my sister, Carol, on the bassoon. We both continued on those when our family moved to Minot – coincidentally the same year Olaf & Muriel moved to Carrington. I do remember listening to Olaf playing trumpet, and wondering at the time if I would ever get close to his skill level. I didn’t, but I had great fun trying, AND marveling at his skills. Wonderful musician. The HOF honor in 1987 was richly deserved.

    Olaf managed to put together a stage band including some 8th graders (like me), and other high school students, and we actually played a couple of “gigs” in the Westhope area. That probably got me going on my love for big band, swing & dixie music, and for that, I’m still very grateful.

    Olaf & Muriel, and my family, belonged to the same church in Westhope. I must admit I do not remember if Olaf had a direct connection with any church music group(s), but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. Muriel –you may be able to fill in that void in my memory.

    I want to express my condolences to Muriel, and to the family. Olaf had a great life. He positively affected many, many students over the years. He obviously will be missed.

  32. My deepest condolences to Muriel and to Ona, Jenny, Mark, Peter and John. Olaf was a special teacher and Carrington was so lucky to have him. I have many fond memories of band, choir, music festivals, concerts and state contests. I continued to play clarinet in my college band and in three community bands. Our kids played instruments and love music. After leaving Carrington and living in much bigger cities, I was better able to appreciate the remarkable legacy left by Olaf. Truly outstanding!
    And Muriel and Olaf were wonderful neighbors for many years. Thank you, Ringeruds!


  34. I have many fond memories of Mr. Ringerud from all of my music classes. He was a very gifted musician and was so willing to share his many talents with his students. We are all better people for having known him. Many years after I graduated from Carrington high school, I met him again tuning the pianos at Fessenden School where I was teaching. We had some good conversations. Thank you so much for sharing him with all of us. He will be missed by many. Thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.

  35. Where to begin…Olaf and Muriel helped to shape my musical career starting in elementary school. I remember him coming over to the old Lincoln building and helping to transition me from clarinet to the oboe. Muriel gave me piano lessons for a long while…memory doesn’t always serve me well anymore, but her kind spirit kept me going! Once in high school, Olaf impacted every aspect of music for me–singing, accompanying, playing in band, jazz band, etc. Musicals were a highlight that gave me experience I wouldn’t have had in any other setting. He helped prepare me for college through theory and music history classes. These helped me immeasurably to breeze through several classes–maybe not breeze, but made them easier to grasp than they would have otherwise been. Olaf always believed in me and made sure I had opportunities at every turn. I will be forever indebted to the Ringeruds for their investment in my life and in our community. I am so thankful that I got to see him one more time in May when I was in North Dakota. All my prayers are with your family during this time of great loss.

  36. My condolences to the Ringerud family. Olaf was a very respected faculty member and I recall many very positive experiences with Olaf. He and I shared the common background of growing up in the Mayville-Portland community and as alumni of Mayville State University. Golfing was an activity we both enjoyed and spent many hours together playing the game we loved. A special memory is one evening we hurried to the golf course after school for a round before the football game that evening. I had the good fortune of scoring a hole-in-one that evening with Olaf being just as happy as I was. I had the pleasure of working with Ona and Jenny in the classroom and wish all in the family the very best as you remember and ponder your husband and father.

  37. Dear Ringerud Family,
    My siblings and I were all blessed to have had your Dad enrich our lives with music in both band and choir throughout all our years at CHS. I was proud of all the wonderful pieces that we learned to play under his direction in concert band as well as all the fun of pep band at all the home games. Then there was concert choir, swing choir, and of course the musicals! His talents to teach us and guide us through the missed notes and occasional squeaks are the marks of a great teacher. Thank you for sharing him with with all of us.

    Sincerely, The Manley kids (Jeff, Val, Jared, Jason, and Tara-Lynn)

  38. John and family,

    What a wonderful life Olaf had in Carrington and with all of you! He touch many lives over the years. Deep sorrow and great joy will be a part of his passing. God is with you.

  39. What a well respected man and teacher in our community. Just reading through the comments, it’s easy to see how many lives he touched, including mine. He will be greatly missed.

  40. Dear Ringerud Family, what more can be said of how Olaf had an affect on those who were in band and choir during his reign at CHS. Whether it was a daily practice or a musical production, it was all business and we all knew it. It amazed me how he knew how to play every instrument! And you better be looking at him during a concert or you would hear about it the next day! He was so professional at school but I got to see another side of him on the golf course. He was so much fun to be in a scramble with. And during tournaments, it was unprofessional to buy “Mulligans”! But yet he always did! What a guy!
    He will be missed by all. Condolences to your family.

  41. Sending heartfelt condolences to your family and wishing you peace.

  42. Olaf was a true gift to our community and will leave a lasting memory. He inspired so many students, including mine, to appreciate good music. God bless him.

  43. What a wonderful , gentle Christian man. Peace and love to the Olaf’s family.

  44. Olaf, You were an awesome teacher. I played in the band at the Carrington schools. Olaf you are a friend of the Miller family. JESUS is happy to hold Olaf in HEAVEN.

  45. John and Family,
    So sorry for your loss. Olaf was such a kind, talented and caring man. He touched a lot of lives in his time and he created a lot of great musicians in our community over the years. His gentle demeanor and his great smile will be missed by all.
    Prayers to all of you.

  46. I was a sophomore when Olaf Ringerud started teaching at Carrington. What a great teacher. I was very happy that he continued long enough to teach music to my two oldest kids. I have never known a better teacher. We are so fortunate that Olaf chose to be part of our school and part of the Carrington community.

  47. I am sorry for the loss of your father, John. I remember him tuning my piano many years ago.

  48. Dear Muriel and family,
    My deepest sympathy on Olaf’s passing. I love the photo above–his classic smile and contagious energy are right there. Mr. Ringerud was one of the things that made Carrington terrific. Cheers to a fine life of family and service richly lived. Thank you, Mr. Ringerud.

  49. Ringerud Family,
    So sorry to hear of Mr. Ringerud’s passing. I just happened on this announcement today. He tuned my piano for many years. When I got my new Yamaha piano I think he was almost more excited for me than I was. I so appreciated his kindness and encouragement.

  50. Given the opportunity I still, now 60 years old, play alto sax and sing in the choir because Olaf helped me transition from clarinet to alto sax back in jr high. I sing because Olaf taught me so much about choirs and singing parts and I kept going because of his support and encouragement. I just heard an F. Melius song we tackled back in the sr choir days at Trinity. Excellent work good and faithful servant, Olaf. My love to all the family.

  51. Olaf

    He had spine enough
    And practice too as instructor
    But to his own self he labored:
    He would be true to himself.

    Fortunate children had
    Olaf and Muriel for parents
    In a home simple and plain
    And music in the air too.

    I knew him as fellow teacher
    And I was honored he spoke
    Kind words of encouragement
    And led the way oft and again.

    Today, I miss my friend.
    Quiet and unassuming too;
    He made a difference each day.
    I walk in his steps then and yet.

    ©2023 by its author,
    Richard J. (Rick) Hilber.
    All rights reserved.

  52. It’s been two years since Mr. Ringerud’s passing. I happened upon his obituary today as I was reminiscing about my grade school experience and being introduced into playing the alto clarinet.
    I’m from Westhope, North Dakota, and part of the Jim Munn clan. In sixth grade, I had in mind that I wanted to play another instrument in band—maybe a harp or an oboe. Mr Ringerud was my first band teacher and my very favorite music teacher forever! He said he needed an alto and a bass clarinet to add more flavor to the sound. Would I be interested? I ended up on the alto clarinet, and my cousin, Peggy Munn played bass clarinet! Mr. Ringerud was the greatest teacher and encourager. My cousin and I had been taking piano lessons since age 7, so we had an aptitude for music, which he recognized. He quickly promoted us into high school band after having only a short time of private lessons. It was slightly intimidating to be one of three sixth graders amongst high schoolers, but he said we belonged!
    A funny story is while attending the International Music Camp years later, my then instructor questioned me on a very unique fingering for a lower note. It was new to him, one he’d never seen, and it was very awkward! I told him that Mr. Ringerud taught me that one in sixth grade. He asked me which instrument was Mr. Ringerud’s most preferred one. He laughed when I told him that my teacher was mostly a trumpet player. In his defense, I said he did a great job in teaching two new clarinetists!
    Peggy and I both were part of the 1964 International Music Camp’s European Tour Band and were blessed in being able to be music ambassadors throughout six countries at the early age of eighteen. I give that credit to Mr. Ringerud’s tutelage, and I was so sorry when he moved to Carrington, as he was the very best! We all enjoyed his beautiful wife too, as well little Ona. Wasn’t Jenny also born while they were in Westhope? Such beautiful children!
    I could tell Mr. Ringerud was a committed Christian man by his loving, patient manner. He made an enormous impact on my life at an early age, and I can imagine he left a rich legacy through his family and friends. May God bless all of you, his family, and please receive my very belated condolences.

    In Christ’s Love,
    Ann (Munn) McNaul-Miller


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