Cover photo for Russell J. Lorenz's Obituary
Russell J. Lorenz Profile Photo
1928 Russell 2021

Russell J. Lorenz

February 15, 1928 — September 20, 2021

Russell Lorenz, 93, Bismarck, passed away Sept. 20, 2021, at Touchmark, Bismarck. Memorial services will be held 1:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24 at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Pkwy, Bismarck. A service livestream will be available on the funeral home’s website.

Burial will be held at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan.

Russell was born near Oriska on February 15, 1928, to Emil Lorenz and Christine (Jensen) Lorenz. He grew up on the family farm and graduated from Weimar #34 and Oriska High School.

Russell proudly served in the United States Navy from 1946-48, holding the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class, Specialist X, where he helped implement some of the earliest computerization of military record keeping.

After the Navy, Russell pursued his bachelor’s degree in Agronomy at NDSU, during which time he met and eventually married his beloved Joan, and they began married life in student housing on campus.

He began his career as a Research Agronomist at the Northern Great Plains Research Center in Mandan. During his many years at the field station, Russell continued to advance in responsibilities and education, eventually earning his doctorate in agronomy, plant science and biochemistry.

Russell authored more than 40 technical and popular publications and served in a number of different roles of responsibility, including as director of the research center and technical advisor for the Northern Great Plains and Alaska.

He was known as Dr. Leafy Spurge. After retirement, Russell began working with NDSU and the governor’s task force further the eradication of invasive plant species with a particular focus on leafy spurge eradication.

Russell was a life long Catholic, having attended various parishes in Bismarck, where he actively participated in liturgical readings, song leading and CCD classes.

He was active in the Knights of Columbus and served as a Grand Knight. Russell enjoyed his memberships in the Elks, Eagles and VFW. Russell loved hunting and fishing and was a devoted Louis L’Amour reader and collector.

Russell is survived by his wife of 70 years, Joan; children, Debb, Patrick (PJ) and Michael Lorenz; sisters, Marilyn (Ralph) Kosse and Joann (Maurice) Pederson; grandchildren, Erin Hershey, Daniel (Beth) Lorenz and Peter (Liz) Lorenz; great-grandchildren, Tegan Hershey, Graham Lorenz and Stella Lorenz; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; older brother and sister who died in infancy; and sister, Marge (Oscar) Horner.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, September 24, 2021

Starts at 1:30 pm (Central time)

Parkway Funeral and Cremation Service

2330 Tyler Pkwy, Bismarck, ND 58503

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, September 24, 2021

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

North Dakota Veterans Cemetery

1825 46th St, Mandan, ND 58554

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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