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Published August 11, 2013, 12:00 AM

Pern (PJ) Canton

Pernell J. Canton passed away on August 7, 2013 at the age of 95. Pern was a resident of the Eventide Living Center in Moorhead since May 2013. He was born September 18, 1917, on a farm near Hartland, ND to John W. and Randina (Alfstad) Canton. He spent most of his youth in Watson, MN, but graduated from high school in 1935 in Henning, MN. He attended Concordia College in Moorhead and later the University of Minnesota from which he graduated in 1948 with a degree in business.

Pern served in WWII in the US Army as Master Sergeant of the 93rd Chemical Mortar Battalion from September 1941 until his discharge in 1945.

Pern (PJ) Canton

Pernell J. Canton passed away on August 7, 2013 at the age of 95. Pern was a resident of the Eventide Living Center in Moorhead since May 2013. He was born September 18, 1917, on a farm near Hartland, ND to John W. and Randina (Alfstad) Canton. He spent most of his youth in Watson, MN, but graduated from high school in 1935 in Henning, MN. He attended Concordia College in Moorhead and later the University of Minnesota from which he graduated in 1948 with a degree in business.

Pern served in WWII in the US Army as Master Sergeant of the 93rd Chemical Mortar Battalion from September 1941 until his discharge in 1945.

In August 1948, Pern married Marcella Schirber in Minneapolis, MN. In 1951 they moved to Moorhead where he joined American State Bank and retired as President in September 1977. While at the bank, Pern initiated the installment loan department, new to banking at the time, and built the area’s first drive-in/walk-up banking facility in 1962. He was extremely proud of the modernistic new 43,000 square foot America Bank & Trust building he helped design in 1975 at the corner of Center Avenue and 8th Street as part of the Downtown Moorhead Urban Renewal Program.

Pern strongly believed in giving back to the community in which he lived and worked, which is evident by his involvement in civic affairs. He was an original incorporator and president of the Greater Moorhead Development Corporation and was on the board of the Moorhead Area Chamber of Commerce, Moorhead Country Club, Moorhead Kiwanis Club, and Bethesda Lutheran Church. He also served as president of the United Fund of Fargo and Moorhead and president of the Lay Advisory Committee of St. Ansgar Hospital. Pern especially enjoyed his association with both Moorhead colleges, serving as president of the Moorhead State University Foundation as well as president of the MSU Century Club. He was the second person to receive the Distinguished Service Award from Moorhead State University. He served on the board of the C-400 Club of Concordia College and received the President’s Award for his fund raising efforts. He served as president of the Clay-Wilken Bankers Association and served on the board of both the Minnesota Bankers Association and the Independent Bankers Association. Upon his retirement from the bank in 1977, he was given a key to the City of Moorhead and the mayor declared the day “Pern Canton Day.”

After retiring in 1977, he moved to Las Vegas, NV, where he worked with handicapped children. Upon moving back to the Fargo/Moorhead area in 1987, he once again became an active member of Bethesda Lutheran Church and volunteered at Churches United in Moorhead, cooking many meals for the homeless. He was an avid fisherman and golfer and an expert bridge player. Most of all, he enjoyed the time spent with his family playing countless games of cards including whist, cribbage, pinochle and gin rummy. If you couldn’t find him at home, he was probably at the old Oak Manor donating to local charities at the blackjack tables.

Pern is survived by two sons, Paul (Deb) of Grand Forks, ND and David (BeAnn) of West Fargo, ND, one daughter Mary Stottler (Lauren) of Broomfield CO, four grandchildren: Gordon Canton (Andrea) of Moorhead, MN, Rock Stottler (Deanna) of Superior, CO, Tammy Canton of New York City, NY, and Tracy Muramatsu (Yusuke) of Tokyo, Japan. He is also survived by three great-granddaughters: Lily & Ella Stottler of Superior CO and Mackenzie Canton of Moorhead, MN; three step-granddaughters, eight step-great grandchildren, and his younger brother and sister-in-law John and Maryon Canton of Tucson, AZ.

Pern was preceded in death by his wife, Marcella, who died in 1962, two brothers Kenneth (Edyth) Canton and Earl (Ethel) Canton, one half-brother Ernie (Isabel) Alfstad and two sisters Lois (Lyn) Johnson and Rena (Lowell) Anderson.

Funeral services will be held at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Moorhead on Monday, August 12, 2013 at 1:00 p.m., with interment at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. An online guestbook is available at www.wrightfuneral.com.

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