Cover photo for Michael Strand's Obituary
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1951 Michael Strand 2024

Michael Strand

June 10, 1951 — May 7, 2024

Portland, ND

   Michael Dennis Strand, age 72, passed away on Tuesday, May 7th, after a long battle with Parkinsonism. 

   Michael Dennis Strand was born to James and Henrietta Strand on June 10, 1951, at Union Hospital in Mayville, North Dakota. He was the third of four boys raised on the family farm three miles west of Portland. Throughout the years, his close extended family in the Portland area shared many beloved memories. Following his graduation from Portland High School in 1969, Mike joined the North Dakota Air National Guard in Fargo and served as a weekend guard member for six years. In 1974, Mike graduated from Mayville State College with a Bachelor of Science in Education. His first teaching experience was in Adams, North Dakota, where he taught science.

   After marrying Madonna Zhorela on July 15, 1978, they moved to Bismarck where he taught math at Wachter Middle School. Missing farming and ranching with his father, and small-town life, they returned to the Portland area to raise their family. Michael worked on the farm during the summer, and during the school year, he taught math at Finley-Sharon Public Schools. He later taught in the May-Port CG School District before his retirement from the public school system in 2005. His final teaching position at Fargo Shanley Middle School lasted for ten years before retiring in 2015.

   No one explained math to students better than Mike. Throughout his tenure, students would meet him in various places and acknowledge his devotion to education by telling him, "You were my favorite teacher. I understood math when you explained it.” He was blessed with a true gift for teaching, a gift recognized and appreciated by his colleagues and the parents of the many students who benefitted from his presence in the classroom.

   For fifteen years Mike volunteered as a defensive hockey coach on the May-Port Ice Dawgs team while his son, Dustin, participated as a defensive player. He coached in the outdoor arena in Portland for many years. Mike often recalled how his hands froze from lacing little boys’ skates in the extreme winter weather before the Kim Braaten Hockey Arena was built in 2000. In 2004, the team won the Junior Gold State Championship, an honor our hockey family holds dear.

   In addition to hunting and farming, Mike enjoyed gardening and canning and generously shared jars of his homemade salsa with fellow teachers. Mike, a great cook, served as head chef at many gatherings at the Strand household. Most of all, Mike loved spending time with his family. He was a proud grandfather who always had updated photos of his grandchildren on display in his classroom. Mike looked forward to his retirement years and spending time at the lake with family and friends, but in 2018 he was diagnosed with Parkinsonism. He became a resident at Luther Memorial home in the spring of 2022.

   Mike is survived by his wife, Madonna; his children Marni Frandson (Jeremy), Ella and Burke, Omaha, Nebraska; Jennifer Haugen (Zac), Henry and Evelyn, Grand Forks, North Dakota; and Dustin Strand (JoAnna), Layken, Grayson, Gavin, Portland, North Dakota; and Chad Paul, Helena, Montana, Anthony (Abigail) Paul, Fargo, North Dakota and his siblings, Jerry Strand (Carol), Jim Strand, and Dean Strand.  

   He is preceded in death by his parents, James and Henrietta Strand and his sister-in-law Karen (Jim) Strand.

   Mike had a big heart. He helped any student, friend, or family member in need. He was a man of integrity. If a man's character is his currency, his true worth, Mike’s was beyond measure.

   In Lieu of flowers the family requests donations to be sent to Norsemen Archers or the May-Port Ice Dawgs hockey program.


Visitation:  Will be one hour prior to the service at the church.

Funeral Service: Will be held at 10:30 AM Monday, May 13, 2024 at the Aurdal Lutheran Church in Portland, ND. A lunch/reception will be held at Norsemen Hall in Portland following the funeral.

Military Honors: May~Port Honor Guard 

Burial: Will be in the Aurdal Cemetery in Portland, ND. 

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


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