Gary Robert Hedstrom


Gary Robert Hedstrom, 66, of Brainerd, MN. (Formally of Bemidji) passed away surrounded by his family on March 27, 2023 at St. Joseph Hospital in Brainerd after a courageous 11 month battle with Metastatic Malignant Melanoma.

A funeral service will be held at Calvary Lutheran Church in Bemidji, MN on Saturday May 20th, 2023, at 11:00 AM. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. A private burial with family will be at a later date. Cremation was provided by Brenny Family Funeral Chapel and Cremation in Baxter, MN.

Gary was born in Moorhead, MN on August 9, 1956 to Robert and Luverne (Hedin) Hedstrom. He attended elementary schools in Hancock and Cyrus, MN and junior and senior high in Morgan, MN. After high school, Gary attended Alexandria Technical and Community College where he received a degree in accounting.

Gary married Denise Johnson on July 2, 1983 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Bemidji, MN. Gary became a very proud father on June 5, 1987 after the adoption of their son Derek Tate from Manaus, Brazil. Gary and his wife Denise were nominated, selected and recognized by the national adoption agency as the “Outstanding Family of the Year” in 1988 after competing with numerous other families throughout the nation.

Gary started his working career with Control Data in the late 1970s in Redwood Falls, MN and then transferred to the Bemidji plant in 1979 where he was a line/lead supervisor. In the early 1990s Nortech Systems (Formally Control Data) promoted him to Manufacturing Manager and then to Plant Manager of Bemidji. Gary accepted the challenge of leading Nortech’s newly acquired PCBA plant in Merrifield, MN in 2004 where he excelled. He became a Director of Operations in the 2010s and oversaw multiple different operations in plants located in Bemidji, Merrifield, and Mankato, MN as well as Augusta, WI, and then with the addition of Nortech’s Aerospace and Defense Facility in Blue Earth, MN in the 2020s. He recently finished his career as the Sr. Director of Operations by leading, helping, and mentoring the next generation of leaders at Nortech. The people of Nortech appreciated Gary’s strong leadership, candor, passion, commitment, loyalty, and above all how he treated people with respect. Gary made it a personal goal to know every person’s name and a little bit about them in all locations he led.

Everyone who knew Gary came away as a better person. He was one of the nicest, most sincere, and fun-loving individuals on this earth. Gary’s passion was for anything outdoors. Fishing, hunting, boating, bonfires, trail riding with family and friends, annual LOTW get-togethers with friends at Young’s Bay Resort or just listening to the loon calls at the end of the day while watching the sunset by a lake drinking a Labatt Blue. He truly was a “special friend” to many and he will be fondly remembered by his Camp 64 deer hunting brothers, pheasant hunting buddies, Bemidji hockey connections, Nortech associates, and his muskie and walleye companions.

Gary is survived by his wife Denise of Brainerd, MN; brother Kevin (Lucy) Hedstrom of Elk River, MN; sisters Kathi Hedstrom of Elk River, MN and Kristi (Tim) Hedman of Rapids City, SD; brother-in-law Gary Johnson, sister-in-law Cindy (Peg) Aakhus, Teresa (Mike) Cannady, Sharon (Ray Gavlovsky), Kimberly Johnson, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends.

Gary was proceeded in death by his parents Robert and Luverne Hedstrom; father and mother-in-law Robert and Mary Jane Johnson; nephew-in-law Rob Aakhus; and his beloved son Derek Tate Hedstrom.

Gary’s legacy is the time he enjoyed with family and friends as the most prized possessions of his life.

In Lieu of flowers; please consider a donation to American Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Club of Bemidji, BSU Beavers Hockey or an Animal Shelter of your choice.

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