PHILIPSBURG — Norman Bohrnsen, 92, passed away on Dec. 9, 2019 at the Granite County Medical Center Nursing Home in Philipsburg.
Norman Victor Bohrnsen was born Oct. 3, 1927, in Philipsburg to Henry and Ruth Bohrnsen. The family lived at the sapphire mines on the West Fork of Rock Creek where Henry was the foreman for the American Gem Mining Co. and Ruth was the cook. In 1936, the family moved to Willow Creek. Norman only obtained an eighth grade education, but he was a lifelong learner and reader, especially enjoying books about history, ranching and the old west.
As a young man, Norman and his brother Edward were rodeo cowboys, participating in the very first ever Drummond Rodeo. Later, they were both Grand Marshalls in Drummond and in 2018, Norman was the Grand Marshall in Philipsburg.
Norman met his wife of over 60 years, Coreene, when the musical group she toured with stopped in Philipsburg. He followed her all the way back to Jackson, Mississippi and courted her. Coreene and Norman married on June 3, 1949. Originally, they had planned to go to Alaska, but instead they started their married life in a one-room schoolhouse on Willow Creek. Norman worked for the county road department and helped his parents on the ranch. Soon after, they decided to take on the ride of their life, buying their ranch on Rock Creek. Together with Norman’s brother Edward, they built a successful business, known today as Bohrnsen Ranch, INC. Norman and Coreene adopted Martha Louise in 1958, and completed their family when they adopted Geoffrey Cabot in 1962.
Norman made many, many friends over the years especially within the ranching community. Neighbor ranchers, ranch hands, hay crews, community members, hunters and fishermen all knew him as a friendly man who led a simple life. He was never one to raise his voice, a respected, hardworking pioneer of his time and one of the best grandfathers/great-grandfathers around. Many people have fond memories of Norman and the ranch, the hay crews and the meals that Coreene would fix for everyone. The 4th of July was a treasured time, shared with friends and family for many years on the ranch. Norman would cut down the trees and construct a bonfire followed by a cookout, fireworks, and storytelling. His God was the outdoors and his ranch. Norman lived the life that he loved, ranching his land for seventy years.
As strong and tough as Norman was, the last several years he required more help to keep his dream of ranching alive. Geoff and Lisa live on the ranch and have always assisted Norman with many ranch needs. Norman’s daughter Martha moved to the ranch from Spokane in 2008 to assist with caring for Coreene in her final years and stayed to help Norman after her passing in 2011. His grandson Eric also comes from Spokane every spring to work through the summer and has been a blessing to Norman in his final years of ranching. Many friends and family have graciously given their time and talents to Norman and the ranch over the years.
Norman is preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Ruth Bohrnsen; brothers Raymond Rau, Johnny Bohrnsen and Edward Bohrnsen; loving wife Coreene Bohrnsen; and beloved grandson PFC Kyle Geoffrey Bohrnsen.
Norman will be greatly missed by his daughter, Martha Bohrnsen-Brandon; son Geoffrey (Lisa) Bohrnsen; grandchildren Heather (Dana) Holloway, Eric Brandon, and Danielle Bohrnsen; his cherished great-grandson Drayson Holloway, as well as many other treasured family and friends.
Cremation arrangements are under the care of Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Homes. Norman’s ashes will be placed in a handcrafted urn, specially made by friend Gary Kamps. A private service will be held at a later date, details to be determined. For those wishing to make a donation, the family suggests the Philipsburg Area Educational Foundation, the Philipsburg Library, or the Butte Compassus Hospice.
Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral & Cremation Service is entrusted with Norman’s funeral arrangements. You may pay your condolences at longfellowfinneganriddle.com.