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It's About Caring for Ron and Marlene Hoffart

A stained glass window of the Last Supper leads into the dining room at the Ron and Marlene Hoffart home in Fargo. On a nearby wall, a painting shows Jesus teaching at the Red Sea. The disciple whose arm he touches looks comforted. Reassured.

Faith is clearly important to the Hoffarts. It’s why they designated spiritual care in their major gift to the Building Tomorrow Today campaign.

But there’s another reason, too, and it goes back years. Ron was 29 and living in Wahpeton, N.D., when he developed a serious form of liver disease. He and his young wife, Marlene, found themselves facing a risky surgery that would require a surgery lasting a half a day.

“The surgery lasted 12 hours and the likelihood I’d live was not very high,” Ron said.

Marlene recalls sitting alone in a family room during the entire surgery. “I read a lot,” she said. “Prayed, too.” During that time in the family waiting room, counting the hours praying and reflecting, she also gained great appreciation for specialized care close to home.

That specialized care saved Ron’s life. “I was one of the fortunate few,” he said. Ron regained his health and in 1978 started Grouser Products in West Fargo, a highly successful manufacturer of innovative tracks and blades for tractors. Ron came up with the original plans. Today, at 70, he still loves going to work every day.

He still loves Marlene, too. Married 48 years, they’re together in their belief that faith and medicine go hand-in-hand. “Prayer gets you through some hard times,” says Marlene. “I also think you have to believe if you want to get well.”

And innovation? That, too, is important. Ron expects that medicine will see innovations we can’t even imagine.

“I think there’ll be big changes in how we take care of our bodies,” he says. “Sanford with its ability to link with others will be well-positioned to lead the way – a real benefit for our region.”

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Posted Date: June 2012