Ronald Lee Semmens, 81, of Mayville, ND, died Sunday, November 1, 2020 at the Luther Memorial Home in Mayville, ND.
Ron was born on February 25, 1939 in Carrington, ND to Harry and Gertrude (Halaas) Semmens. Ron attended Carrington High School. In 1962 he graduated from Minot State College with a Bachelor of Science Degree of Education. In 1966 he earned a Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Education in 1971 both from the University of North Dakota.
He married Judy Skadberg on May 27, 1957 at Stavanger Lutheran Church of rural Cathay, ND. They moved to the suburbs of Chicago, Ill. where Sonja Lea was born. In May of 1958 they returned to Carrington, ND. Ron entered Minot State College in the fall of 1958 and Judy continued to live in Carrington where R. Scott was born. The family joined Ron in the spring of 1961 on the campus of Minot State College. In 1968 they moved to Grand Forks, ND where Ron and Judy attended the University of North Dakota (UND). In 1970 they moved to Mayville, ND where Ron became a professor in the Division of Education at Mayville State College (MSU).
Over the years, Ron was employed as a truck driver in the Chicago area, and had several part time jobs while attending college. After completing his degree from Minot, he taught 6th grade in Washington Elementary School in Minot for five years. In 1967 he was hired as the principal of the just completed Lincoln Elementary School, Minot. In 1968 Ron was awarded a fellowship as a doctoral candidate in the New School of Behavioral Studies at the University of North Dakota. After completing his Doctor’s Degree he was hired as a professor in education at Mayville State College. He later was named the Division Chair of Education and Psychology at Mayville.
During his tenure at Mayville, Ron was responsible for initiating many innovative education programs including the non-degree program, nature area activities, math specialist program and many more. He was responsible for writing numerous grants that benefited the university. As division chair, he was responsible for leading the NCATE accreditation of the teacher education program. Under his leadership the MSU teacher education program was recognized as one of the best programs in the US. In 2001 Ron retired from his position as Division Chair, but continued to work supervising student teachers until 2014.
Ron had a very active life. He was an avid hunter of deer, ducks and geese and fisherman. He especially enjoyed those activities with his brothers. He had several fishing trips to Canada and Alaska with family and friends. Ron was a skillful wood carver. He enjoyed music very much especially singing “Dream” with his friends. His many students and friends recognized him as a natural born teacher. Ron was a member of Mayville Lutheran Church, Sons of Norway and lifetime member of NEA.
Ron and Judy enjoyed spending many hours at their lake home in Minnesota where they entertained several groups, family and friends; traveling, and attending local sporting, theatre, and music events. Their travels took them to China, Hawaii, Norway, Paris, Normandy, Wales and London, visits with family throughout the United States and sights of North Dakota. Ron and Judy spent several weeks in the winter in the Phoenix area after their retirement.
Ron is survived by his wife, Judy, of 63 years; daughter: Sonja (Mark) Moen, Devils Lake; son: R. Scott (Helen) of Stoddard, NH; grandsons: Aric Moen of Nashua, NH and Evan Moen of Columbia, MD; sisters-in-law: Sherrill Semmens of Carrington, ND, Sonja Shannon of Hermosa, SD, Jeanette Skadberg of Gold Canyon, AZ and Patti Skadberg of Carrington, ND; bother-in-law: Arlo Neumiller of Fargo, ND; and a plethora of nieces and nephews.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents; 3 brothers: Laverne (Bud), Richard and James; sister: Elaine Young; 5 sisters-in law; 3 brothers-in law and 2 nephews.
It is requested that memorials go to the Semmens Family Endowment at MSU.
Private services will be held. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.