Minnesota auctioneer Stormin' Norman had to have a sense of humor in his line of work

Worth Knowing: Norman Ben Ohrmundt died March 22, 2021, at the age of 87. He'd been in the auctioneer business for 53 years.

We are part of The Trust Project.

Editor's note: Each week reporter Matthew Guerry shares the life stories of residents of Minnesota or the Dakotas who have died recently. Maybe you don't know them, but their stories are worth knowing. If you have a suggestion for someone to be featured, email or call 651-321-4314.

Stormin' Norman Ohrmundt was getting his pickup ready for the Verndale, Minn., fire department's annual consignment auction when he had a heart attack.

It was his 53rd year in auctioneer business.

"COVID had kind of set him back this last year for having sales," said Ohrmundt's daughter, Roxy Doehling, of Wadena, Minn. "Otherwise he was still going strong ... he just did not rest. He was a hard-working man."

Ohrmundt's work ethic and attention to detail made an impression on his children, who spent part of their youth helping out on the family farm west of Wadena in Otter Tail County, and through the work they did over the years for his auction business.


Goods had to be loaded onto the trailer just so. Arrange them to Ohrmundt's disliking, and you might be asked to start all over again. Any item up for sale, be it farm equipment or an antique or a piece of furniture, had to be cleaned spotless before the bidding started.

Behind all of that, though, was a jocularity that was as apparent at home as it was on the stage. Ohrmundt loved to make people laugh, family members said.

"You gotta have that sense of humor," son Tim Ohrmundt said, "to be able to talk to people in that line of business ... I know a lot of people after every auction, they would always come up and say, 'God, your dad is a card."


  • Betty Truitt worked to help others, to repay the kindness of those who helped her first Worth Knowing: Described by those who knew her as a feminist, Betty Truitt, 76, died having passed on the values of strength and independence to her four daughters. But she wasn't so proud that she wouldn't seek help when she needed it, they said.

  • When he wasn't tending the family farm or business, Don Blumenberg tended to his community Worth Knowing: A long-time resident of Fulton, S.D., Don Blumenberg tended to the family's farm where he grew up, and to the family banking business. His retirement from the farm and the eventual sale of the bank left him with the time and resources both to play an even greater role in his community. Blumenberg died Nov. 17 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

  • Leo Loosbrock was an inspired and inspiring teacher and parent, family recalls Worth Knowing: Leo J. Loosbrock's dedicated spectatorship was emblematic of what family members described as his caring and attentive approach to parenting and teaching. Loosbrock died Feb. 19 at age 77.

Ohrmundt died March 22, 2021 , at the age of 87. Born in Wadena on Sept. 23, 1933, he was the son of Beno and Selma Ohrmundt.

He graduated from Wadena High School in 1951 and, shortly thereafter, attended the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. He later founded Norm's Auction Service, which he ran until his death. (And yes, he could speak in the rapid-fire style for which auctioneers are known.)

He married Barbara VanOrsdel in 1955, and they had four children before the couple divorced.

He was known on the airwaves as Stormin' Norman, a moniker invented by area radio broadcaster Rick Youngbauer that Ohrmundt enjoyed.


One of the events Stormin' Norman most looked forward to each year, Tim said, was the Verndale auction, where his dad donated his time. It served as something of an informal kick-off to the normal auction season.

Bob Ohrmundt, Norman's eldest son, recalled that auctions could be high- or low-energy affairs depending on the crowd and what was being sold. More often, he said, they were somewhere in between.

"And then if it'd be an estate sale, where they have to sell out, and the family members are standing there arguing and bidding against each other and bawling ... those were the bad ones," Bob, of Wadena, said.

The social aspect of Ohrmundt's work, his children said, was what he liked most about it. He employed numerous people over the years and met many more on the road.

"He loved each and every one of those people that came to his auctions, that (he) sat down and talked with him. He thought the world of everybody there, everybody was his friend," Doehling said.

Ohrmundt was preceded in death by his parents; his son Jeffery Ohrmundt; and his siblings Delores Lacey, Merial "Myrt" Evelyn Thelma Pearson and Alvah Keidel. He is survived by his three living children, seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

What to read next
Public meetings are scheduled.
Her grandmother matched her $50 donation toward the cow.
Ten youth and three adults from Concordia Lutheran Church in Jamestown will join 160 other youth from North Dakota to attend the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Youth Gathering on July 9-13 in Houston.
Scholarship recipients were selected on the basis of academic achievement and community involvement, including volunteer activity.