your-news image

Malcolm Tweten, founder of NoKota Packers and former North Dakota State Senator, dies

Malcolm Stuart Tweten, 88, of Fargo, died peacefully Saturday, Sept. 14. His loving wife of 62 years, June, was by his side at the time.

The son of Sidney and Olga (Syverson) Tweten, Mr. Tweten was born April 30, 1925 in rural Reynolds, ND. He graduated from Reynolds High School in 1941. After his father's death in 1948, Mr. Tweten farmed with his brothers Obed and Kenneth. On June 16, 1951, he married June Gjelsness of Reynolds, and together they raised seven children. twetenMalcolm Stuart TwetenThey moved near Buxton, ND, in 1954, where Mr. Tweten continued farming, raising small grains and potatoes. Mr. Tweten and his wife moved to Fargo in 1994.

In 1979, Mr. Tweten and his brother-in-law, Maurice Gjelsness, founded NoKota Packer, Inc., in Buxton, ND, which specializes in washing, packing and storing table stock potatoes, and still continues as a family business.

In addition to farming and family, Mr. Tweten gave his time to state and local organizations. He served in the North Dakota State Legislature from 1973-88, serving on both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. He was a State Director of Farm Bureau, member of the Red River Valley Potato Growers' Association and chairman of the 20th District Republican Party. He was also very involved in Highland Lutheran Church, Cummings, ND, and later at Messiah Lutheran Church in Fargo.

After he retired from farming and politics, Mr. Tweten put his energies toward supporting the mission of Oak Grove Lutheran School, serving as a member of the Oak Grove Board of Regents.

Mr. Tweten and his wife adopted their four oldest children, which started a relationship with Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota that continues to this day.

While always driven and a hard worker, Mr. Tweten would not work on Sundays, instead reserving the day for going to church, reading the paper, taking an afternoon nap and spending time with his family.

Mr. Tweten was a visionary and often was thinking well ahead of his time. His curiosity pushed him to explore innovations in farming, education, technology and health, and he pursued each area with vigor.

Leaving a legacy of hard work, helping others, and always being grateful for God's blessings, Malcolm's deep faith was evidenced in his support of the church and his well-worn Bible.

He is survived by his wife June (Gjelsness) Tweten, seven children — Steve (Kelly Eggen), Erik (Carol), Bill (Deb, Liz (Bernard) Sanborn, Margaret (Greg) Asheim, Dan (Annetta) and Jon (Jessica) — 20 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, sisters Marian Knudsvig and Erlys (Dell) Hedlund, brothers-in-law Ernest Gilbertson and Clark Tufte, and a sister-in-law Carol Tweten

Mr. Tweten was preceded in death by a grandson, Christopher Sanborn, twin brother, Obed, brothers Harold and Kenneth, and sisters Beryl Gilbertson and Harriet Tufte.

Visitation will be at Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home in Fargo Sept. 18 from 5-8 p.m., with a prayer service to follow at 8 p.m. Funeral service will be held Thursday, Sept. 19 at Messiah Lutheran Church in Fargo, at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour prior to service. Interment will be at Americus Cemetery near Reynolds, ND. Please visit for the full obituary. 

Source: Northern Plains Potato Growers Association