University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

Remembering Doris Onstad

Doris E. Onstad, former Head Start and language arts teacher at UND, age 91, passed away on Dec. 12, 2022. Born February 15th, 1931 in Crookston, Minnesota to Emma (Wentzel) and Iver Onstad. Preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Luther and Alvin, and sisters, Louise, Margaret and Elizabeth. Survived by brothers, David, Philip and Norman; sisters, Geraldine, Lydia and Mary; along with many nieces and nephews.

Doris completed her high school education through home schooling with the American School of Correspondence. She went on to earn her two-year teaching degree at Mayville State University in Mayville, N.D., and continued her education at the University of North Dakota-Grand Forks, earning her four-year degree and Master of Education in 1970. She began her teaching career at a rural school in Almont, N.D., then taught in Aneta, N.D., followed by Buxton, ND, and lastly in Grand Forks, N.D.

She taught for a total of 42 years which included teaching Head Start and Language Arts at the University of North Dakota. She conducted many educational workshops across the country. She was an accomplished piano player, playing solo at both baccalaureate and commencement exercises at Mayville State College. Her musical talent carried over to the radio program Doris, her parents, and siblings had called “The Onstad Family Gospel Singers.” They broadcast their program from several stations in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Illinois for over 20 years. Doris loved to spend time in the Black Hills of South Dakota at her log cabin. She would enjoy many mornings on the porch of her cabin sipping coffee, reading the Bible, and watching deer. Doris journaled every day, and was always praising the Lord regardless of circumstances. A celebration of her life will be held this spring.