Cover photo for Rodney Charles Nord's Obituary
Rodney Charles Nord Profile Photo
1942 Rodney 2023

Rodney Charles Nord

June 5, 1942 — July 23, 2023

Detroit Lakes

The memorial service for Rod Nord will be held on Friday, September 29, at Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church (885 Pembina Trail, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501). Visitation will begin at 1 pm and the memorial service will begin at 2 pm. A reception will follow around 3pm. Multiple slideshows will be displayed during the visitation and reception. The service and slideshows will be livestreamed online for all those not able to attend. The link to the livestream is:

Shortly after 1pm on September 29, the livestream of the slideshows will begin. The first slideshow contains individual pictures of Rod throughout his life. It is 12 minutes long and will repeat every 12 minutes until about 1:45. At that time, a feature slideshow will be shown that lasts about 15 minutes. The hour-long memorial service will then begin around 2pm. At approximately 3pm, a third slideshow will begin that contains additional pictures not previously shown. It is 15-20 minutes in length and will repeat continuously for about an hour. The entire livestream will be recorded and be available online for the foreseeable future.

Rodney “Rod” Charles Nord, 81, Rochert, MN, passed away on Sunday, July 23, 2023, as a result of a stroke brought on by a fall. The family has decided to wait until September to hold a memorial service. It will take place at Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church (885 Pembina Trail, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501) on Friday, September 29. Visitation will be at 1 pm with a funeral service to follow at 2 pm. Family, friends, and all those whose lives were touched by Rod are warmly invited to join in commemorating his remarkable journey and sharing cherished memories.

Rod was born in Duluth, MN, on June 5, 1942, into a family of Swedish heritage that he valued dearly.  He was the son of Bernard, a Swedish immigrant, and Bernice, a daughter of Swedish immigrants. Growing up in Duluth, Rod found immense joy in countless visits with his family to his mother’s childhood home on a farm near Aitkin, MN. These excursions held a special place in his heart, as they created some of his happiest memories. Rod cherished the time spent with his nine cousins of the Mathson clan, along with aunts, uncles, and grandparents. On his father’s side, he also had beloved cousins, an aunt, and an uncle residing further away in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and he treasured the moments spent with them during occasional visits.

Rod attended Duluth Central High School, forging lasting friendships with numerous classmates. Upon graduating in 1960, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota – Duluth (UMD), finding his most rewarding coursework in the areas of sociology, psychology, and history. He spent summers working at a YMCA camp, Camp Miller, near Moose Lake, MN, that became instrumental in his decision to pursue a career in Social Work. He earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in Sociology in 1965. Rod then entered the National Guard, serving six months of active duty at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, followed by seven years of part-time duty in Wisconsin.

On July 30, 1966, Rod married Carol Lemmon of Detroit Lakes, MN, whom he had met at UMD. They spent 57 cherished years together, proving that they were true soulmates. Following their honeymoon at Isle Royale National Park, an island chain in the northern waters of Lake Superior, they moved to Wisconsin where Rod worked in his profession of Social Work. They quickly settled in Madison which then happened to become one of the nation’s epicenters of social unrest during the Vietnam era.  

In 1969, they welcomed their first son, Jeffrey. Rod obtained a Master of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin in 1970. During the same year, he relocated with his family to Reedsburg, WI, and began working for Tri-County Counseling Center.  In 1972, they welcomed their second son, Randall. In 1978, Rod moved with his family to Fergus Falls, MN, and began working at Lakeland Mental Health Center. In 1983, Rod took a job with Lake Park Wild Rice as Assistant Director of the Childrens’ Home. Some years later he began working as Director of Community Based Housing for Lutheran Social Services and remained there until 1993. As the decade unfolded, he worked in various short-term positions before discovering the role that would satisfy him greatly during the remainder of his working years. He found his calling in education, sharing his knowledge in subjects like Sociology and Psychology at a range of two-year post-secondary educational institutions in the surrounding area. In 2003, he moved with Carol to their lake property situated on Pickerel Lake, several miles northeast of Detroit Lakes, and continued teaching for several more years. He lived out his retirement years with Carol at their home on Pickerel Lake.

Rod was a passionate history buff. He had an uncanny ability to recall names, dates, and obscure facts seemingly out of thin air, leaving others in continual amazement.

During his early adulthood, Rod was an avid runner and even completed two marathons. Throughout his entire adult life, and up until the day he passed away, he found immense joy in long bike rides, cross-country ski trips, and canoe rides. He always shared these memorable journeys with Carol, and often close friends.

Rod travelled extensively with Carol, including a visit to his ancestral home in Sweden, and other travels in Europe; a 4-day hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu in Peru, reaching an elevation over 12,000 feet; and three 2-week mission trips to Jamaica, Uganda, and finally Costa Rica.

Rod’s presence was always accompanied by an uproarious laugh that had the power to light up any room and at times even seemed to make the house shake.

Rod was a profoundly supportive friend and family member, a compassionate soul whom many would turn to in times of trouble. He was often regarded as a rock of stability within a chaotic world.

Rod’s life was deeply enriched by church communities. These included the Reedsburg United Methodist Church, the Fergus Falls Federated Church and finally the Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church. Rod served in many capacities including singing in choir and serving on the church council.

Rod is preceded in death by father, Bernard; mother, Bernice; sister, Jean.

Rod is survived by his wife, Carol; son, Jeff, Bloomington, MN; son, Rand, Hopkins, MN; brother-in-law, Roger (LaVonne) Lemmon, Fargo, ND; sister-in-law, Julie (Gary) Wolden, Pendleton, OR; seven beloved cousins and many deeply valued friends. Additionally, he leaves behind a loving extended family, including many cousins-in-law, 6 nieces and nephews, 14 grandnieces and grandnephews, and 6 great grandnieces and great grandnephews, all of whom held a special place in his heart.

Rod will be deeply missed and will be the source of countless invaluable memories we will cherish forever.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either Detroit Lakes United Methodist Church or Detroit Lakes Dollars for Scholars.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rodney Charles Nord, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, September 29, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Friday, September 29, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Interment will be at the United Methodist Memorial Garden.

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