The Rev. Orlin E. Ness, age 87, of Crookston, MN, and a Fisher, MN native, went to be with the Lord on Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2013, at the Villa St. Vincent Nursing Home in Crookston.
Orlin Ness was born on his parents farm near Fisher, MN, on August 19, 1925; the first-born of two sons of the union of Ole and Esther (Gutterud) Ness. He was baptized and confirmed at the Fisher Lutheran Church and graduated from Fisher High School in 1943. While growing up on the farm, Orlin would preach at funerals he would hold every time one of their cats or dogs died. His father, Ole, always said, “that boy was not meant to be a farmer.”
Orlin went on to attend Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and from there went to Luther Seminary in St. Paul. From 1951-52 he was an intern minister at Crosby, ND before being ordained at his home church in Fisher on May 24, 1953. He accepted a call at Crosby and served there for 5 years. Pastor Ness then served congregations at Drayton, ND for 9 years, and Lakota, ND for 20 years.
As his mother’s health began to fail Pastor Ness came to Crookston, where she was living, to look after her. Following her death in 1989 he was invited by his very good friend, Pastor Bill Reck of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Crookston, to join him as a visitation Pastor and to preach one Sunday a month. He also began preaching as needed at churches in the Minnesota communities of Climax, Perly, Gully, Gary, and Maple Lake, earning him the sobriquet “Pastor of the Valley.” He knew his Bible ’frontwards and backwards’ and preferred being addressed as Pastor, rather than Reverend, because as he put it, “Pastor means shepherd of the flock, and that is what I am.”
Pastor Ness maintained his close ties to the community of Fisher and to the Fisher Lutheran Church throughout his life, saying “I’ve got 30 relatives in the church and 30 relatives in the cemetery.”
If traveling can be considered to be a hobby, then that is what it was to Pastor Ness. His world-wide mission trips took him to Turkey, Greece, Tanzania, Israel, Norway, Sweden, Hungary, Germany, Russia, India, China, and Brazil; with several of those countries visited more than once. A very humble man, he put his life in God’s hands, and he is now in God’s care. May the memory of Pastor Orlin E. Ness be richly blessed.
Loving family members include his brother and sister-in-law, Jerome and Joan Ness of Fisher, MN; 3 nephews, a niece, several great-nephews and nieces, and a great-nephew: Joel and Becky Ness of Fisher and their children-Stephanie, Eric, and Sara; Janeen and Mike Swan, their daughter, Megan, and her son, Treyton; Rick and Pam Ness of Thompson, ND and their children-Jessica (Tyler) Kjemhus, Hannah, and Ryan; and Kyle Ness of Fisher. Pastor Ness was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Ole and Esther.
The funeral service for The Rev. Orlin E. Ness will be held at 2:00 pm, Friday, March 1, 2013, at the Fisher Lutheran Church in Fisher, MN with The Rev. Karen Young Trenne and The Rev. Bill Reck, co- officiants. Visitation will be at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Crookston, MN on Thursday from 5-7:00 pm, with a 7:00 pm, prayer service, and visitation also at the church for one hour prior to the funeral. Interment will be in the Fisher Lutheran Cemetery in the spring.
The Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home, Crookston, is assisting with funeral arrangements. In lieu of flowers memorials may be given in the name of Pastor Orlin Ness to the Fisher Lutheran Church or St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.