Oria Brinkmeier, 90, died from cancer on Jan. 29, 2023. He was born on his family’s farm in 1932, in Lester Prairie.
Oria was raised on a farm without electricity, running water or indoor plumbing and frequently plowed the fields with oxen when he was young.
Oria attended Concordia College in St. Paul, with his time there being split by his army draft to serve in the Korean War.
He moved to St. Anthony Park to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota, where he rented a room in the home of Laura and Jennie Berge on Carter Avenue, across from the St. Anthony Park Library. The Berge sisters became such lifelong treasured friends, that even one of Oria’s daughters was named after them.
Oria loved the neighborhood, and had fond memories of eating lunches at the soda fountain in Miller Drug Store in between his classes at the University.
He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1967 from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and a juris doctor from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1974. Oria had a long career in higher education, working as both an administrator and professor. He spent his last 21 academic years at Normandale Community College, retiring in 1993.
While in graduate school, Oria met and married Myrna Winkelmann in 1963. Oria and Myrna raised their three children on Valentine Avenue.
After Myrna’s death in 2003, Oria returned to the Brinkmeier family farm in Lester Prairie, where he farmed, raising row crops and a small herd of cattle until his death.
During his retirement, Oria served his community teaching AARP driver safety courses and participating as a member of the McLeod Cooperative Power board of directors for the past 18 years.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother Albert and Myrtle Brinkmeier, wife Myrna Brinkmeier, sister Romona (John) Horman and brother-in-law Russell Johnson.
He is survived by son Arlan (Sveta) Brinkmeier, granddaughter Sofia, daughters Gail and Laura Brinkmeier and sisters Gloria Pofahl and Georgina Johnson.
His funeral was held in Lester Prarie, with burial at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.