March 25, 1936 - September 15, 2019


Richard O. Gustafson died on September 15, 2019, at home on the farm, age 83.

Richard was born on March 25, 1936, the son of Oscar and Hazel (Oliver) Gustafson, at the family farm east of Princeton, Minnesota. He graduated from Princeton High School in 1954 and served an enlistment in the Navy.

After driving semi-truck across the U.S. for a couple years, he worked as a boiler-tender aboard ore boats on the Great Lakes. For career advancement he took a crash course in maritime engineering and obtained his deep-sea engineering license. Known admiringly as “Chief” by his crew, he served as chief engineer of several container and tanker ships, hauling myriad cargo such as rubber, petroleum, grain, and timber. Ports of call included Basra, Singapore, Hong Kong, Leningrad, and Copenhagen, as well as Saigon during the Tet Offensive of 1968. He retired in 1993 after 34 years in the Merchant Marines.

He married Clarice Anderson on July 5, 1974, and together they farmed north of Princeton. They raised corn, hay, soybeans, sheep, and beef cattle. Richard also operated a hay-baling service for local farmers. He was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and served a term as president of the congregation. A man of strong character and resilience, above all he wanted to be working and contributing.

He is survived by his wife, Clarice; children, Eric and Kari Gustafson; grandchildren, Alexis and Xavier Budreau; brothers, Rodger (Bonnie) and Ken (Pat) Gustafson; sisters, Judy (Bill) Bode and Cathy (Al) Tou; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents; and his sister, Brenda Patten.

Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 20, 2019, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Princeton, with Rev. Shari Routh officiating. Visitation will be from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at the church prior to the funeral services. Burial will be in West Branch Cemetery following services. Pallbearers are John and Steve Gustafson; Tom, Dave, Mike, and Troy Patten.