Ron Gadberry 1936-2024

Hall of Famer Ron Gadberry passed away on May 8th, 2024. He was 87 years old. A native of Hillsboro, ND, Gadberry was a long-time coach at Moorhead High School in Minnesota and at Hillsboro High School in North Dakota.

He was inducted into the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Dave Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame and the North Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996.

Ron Gadberry Obituary:

Ronald Dean Gadberry passed away in hospice care surrounded by family on the afternoon of May 8th, 2024, after he grappled with cancer. Ron was born on November 15th, 1936 to Joseph and Helen Gadberry in Fargo, ND, and was baptized and confirmed at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Hillsboro, ND. He grew up on a farm outside Hillsboro and graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1954 where he participated in music, football, baseball, and track.

Ron attended Concordia College and earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education and a minor in biology and graduated in 1958. In a freshman biology lab he met Carolyn Hanson, his future wife. He proceeded to marry up and tied the knot with her on December 20th, 1957, in Fargo, ND. He and Carolyn had 5 children over the course of the next 12 years. He went on to earn his master’s degree in physical education and education from South Dakota State University in 1962.

Gadberry 1936 2024

His teaching career spanned 48 years, with 3 years in Storden, MN, 1 year in Brookings, 1 year in Breckenridge, MN, 19 years in Moorhead, MN, and 24 years teaching in Hillsboro, ND. In Storden, he was the head football coach, assisted with basketball, and taught junior high phy ed and science classes as well as 10th-grade biology. As a graduate assistant at SDSU, he worked with the wrestling team, and at Breckenridge High School, he taught physical education and health while also acting as their assistant football coach and assistant wrestling coach. After arriving at Moorhead High, he started his vaunted coaching career. He was assistant wrestling coach for one year and head coach for the next 18 years. During that time, the Moorhead wrestling team won 207 duals, nine district championships, six sub-regional championships, and nine regional championships, including seven consecutive regional dual meet championships from 1975 to 1981. During Ron’s tenure at Moorhead High, there were 49 state qualifiers, four state individual champions, two runners-up, and 11 place winners. Several of his wrestlers went on to compete at the college level, earning two national championships and seven college All-Americans. His teaching and coaching in Moorhead impacted hundreds of lives for the better.

After deciding in 1982 to step down from coaching and teaching, Ron planned to farm full-time. That notion stopped almost before it started after he was asked to coach and teach at Hillsboro High School. He brought their wrestling team from a 1-8-1 record their first season (his only losing season in Hillsboro) to a respected and talented program over the course of his 20 years as coach. Ron’s Burro wrestlers won 8 regional championships and had 7 top-five finishes in state tournaments. Ron coached 4 individual state champions and 14 runners-up. Two Hillsboro wrestlers were named Class B Wrestlers of the Year. He coached 51 region champions, 66 state place winners, and 18 state finalists and earned 6 individual region championships and 2 dual meet region championships. Several of his Hillsboro athletes wrestled in college, earning three All-American honors.

With Ron Gadberry as head coach, his Spuds and Burros won 75% of their dual meets, claiming 446 victories in 590 contests.

Ron was named Minnesota Regional Coach of the Year four times and was selected for both the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame and the North Dakota High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He was selected for the Hillsboro Public School Hall of Fame in 2006, and the Moorhead Hall of Honor in 2009. He was also nominated five times for National Wrestling Coach of the Year and was a finalist in 2000 and 2003. He also received the ND Associated Press Sportscaster and Writers Association Special Achievement Award in 2003. In 2012, Concordia College awarded Ron The Alumni Achievement Award (AAA), the college’s highest honor, which is conferred upon alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers and service to others. Concordia awarded him in part for building deep and life-changing mentoring relationships with hundreds of students who credit him for being a lasting influence in their lives. The Alumni Achievement Award is reserved for alumni at the pinnacle of their vocational life. Ron and Carolyn were also C-400 members. Ron had to balance teaching and coaching with farming full time during most of these years after taking over the family farm when his father suddenly passed away in 1968. And to anyone who’d listen, he’d tell them he couldn’t have done any of it without Carolyn. He was also active in the community and his church over the years, serving on the church council and stewardship committee at Our Savior’s in Hillsboro and serving on the church council and as church council president at Good Shepherd Church in Moorhead. He served for 10 years on the Hillsboro Medical Board and was an active member of Kiwanis, as well as a regular in his coffee group. He and Carolyn were also volunteers with Meals on Wheels in Moorhead.

Ron was also an athlete later in life, earning a Certificate of Achievement from the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America, citing outstanding levels of horseshoe pitching during N.H.P.A. sanctioned league play in 1987. He also bowled for many years. He loved to spend time at Breezy Shores with family. From pitching horseshoes and fishing to teaching and playing cribbage with his children and grandchildren, he cherished his time with all of them.

Ron is survived by his wife of 67 years Carolyn, his daughter Barb (Tom) Reinan, Lakeville, MN, son Dean, Mayville, son Jon (Jana), Sioux Falls, SD, son Mark (Jessica), Eagan, MN, and daughter Karen (Brady), Fargo, ND. He is survived by his 11 grandchildren: Kaitlyn (Jake), Jennie (Jack), Jack (Breanna), Elizabeth (Sam), Ben, Sadie, Emma, Olivia, Sam, Joey, and Will, as well as his three great-grandchildren James, Levi, and Hugo. He is also survived by his brother Joe (Betty) Gadberry, Georgetown, TX.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Helen Gadberry.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Concordia College, or Sanford Hospice House.

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