Bruce Bjorke

Obituary of Bruce Charles Bjorke

Bruce Charles Bjorke passed away on June 25, 2020 while at home in hospice care surrounded by his wife of 59 1/2 years and family.

Bruce had a strong but quiet belief in Jesus as his Savior and lived out that faith in all areas of his life. He looked outside himself for ways to contribute to his community and the people in it. Bruce could always find a connection to someone wherever he went because he valued all people, and if he saw something needed to be done, he would do it. All the better if he could make others laugh while doing it. Bruce made doing the right thing seem to be an easy choice. 

Bruce was born in Minot, ND, on November 26, 1936. His parents were Arnvid Garfield & Pearl Nord. He was youngest of four. His siblings (all surviving) are Agnes Leer, Nord, & Lydia Lagerquist (Clifford).

Bruce grew up in Rugby, ND. He attended Concordia College and met his wife Arlys Ramona Folland while living in Minneapolis. They lived in several places in North Dakota before settling in Rugby for 17 years, where Bruce worked in the property/casualty business. The family enjoyed spending summer times at Lake Metigoshe where Bruce & Arlys spent many hours on their Flying Scot sailboat, the Uff-Da.

Bruce was an active participant in all areas of life in Rugby. He served the community in many ways including as a member of the First Lutheran church board, president of Rugby school board, and the Rugby Chamber of Commerce. He was active in politics and a member of the Republican party.

In 1984, Bruce & Arlys moved to Spencer, Iowa, and purchased a Ben Franklin store. There they worked together in the handicraft business, featuring quilting and framing, for 18 years. Along the way, their store was renamed the Beehive. In Spencer, they also discovered a passion for biking. Bruce completed multiple RAGBRAIs (Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). Bruce & Arlys also participated in a tandem bike club for many years.

Bruce’s rheumatoid arthritis brought them to the warmer climate of Tucson, Arizona, 18 years ago. They kept biking at their new home near the Catalina mountains. Bruce also continued helping his community, as part of Resurrection Lutheran Church, Kiwanis and where ever he saw need. They resided in Oro Valley for 17 years and just recently moved to the mid-town area of Tucson, closer to daughter Gina and her family.

Bruce enjoyed helping and connecting with people above all. Despite the difficulty he had with his health, he would still think of others first. He could always find the positive side of his situation. With this attitude and perseverance, he rallied back from many close calls and would get back on his bike time after time. Even a couple months ago he was seen getting out on his “Tri-bent” bike and meeting new neighbors.

Bruce & Arlys have four daughters: Nita Lin Brainard (Lee), Gina Beth Fields (Daniel), Lora Renee Powell (Jim), and Sara Johanna Mason (Matt).

They have 13 grandchildren:

  • Josiah (Jenny), Noah (Mary), Ezra (Joanna), Lydia Caudill (Doug)
  • Zoe, Anthony, Arilynn, Armani
  • Andrea Chang (Mike), Evan, Nicole
  • Avery, Charlie

15 Great grandchildren:

  • Ivan, Ursula, Carl, Miles, Harris, Conrad
  • Austin, Haley, Carson, Mariah, Clayton
  • Andrew
  • Jubilee, Ryan, Billy

We will miss many things about Bruce, most of all his kind heart, cheerful attitude and ability to make us laugh with his wit. 


Because of COVID-19, it is not possible to have a public service now. The family will gather together this week to honor him. Arrangements will be made in the future to allow for other friends and loved ones to pay respects to Bruce with a public memorial.


Bruce held strongly to the belief that all kids should have a bike. He bought many bikes for grandkids and foster grandkids. In lieu of flowers, donations will be taken for the Junior El Tour. This is a great program that provides at-risk youth (ages 10-12) training and equipment for biking the 50-mile ride of the El Tour de Tucson. Contributions will allow more kids to receive this opportunity. More info can be found at: or on their Facebook page. Donations can be made through PayPal via or by mail to Jr El Tour 522 W. Faith Dawn Court Tucson AZ 85704; condolences to Arlys Bjorke at 4430 E Brookstone Dr, Tucson, AZ 85712.