Eric Hardmeyer

27 Feb Eric Hardmeyer

Posted at 20:33h
in Uncategorized
by staff

Eric Hardmeyer, 64, a faithful son of North Dakota and longtime leader of the state-owned bank, died Saturday, Feb. 24, at his home from complications due to lung cancer. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2024 at 10:30 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church with Rev. Mark Narum officiating.

Family will be receiving friends on Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Bismarck Funeral Home with a time of sharing starting at 7 p.m.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church.  Livestream will be available on Trinity Lutheran Church website.

Eric was one of twelve children raised in Mott by their parents, Ted and Loraine Hardmeyer. Born July 11, 1959, he and his twin Evan were rarely apart. Their first photos have them in matching Buster Brown outfits in a side-by-side stroller, growing to excel in mischief and mayhem. They worked under their father in high school at the H&J Implement dealership on Mott’s Main Street. Eric had planned to take over the Mott implement dealership after graduating from the University of North Dakota. However, his father convinced him that trends in agriculture were creating tough headwinds, and it was best he looked elsewhere. He instead accepted an entry-level position at the Bank of North Dakota. This decision resulted in an unforeseen and wonderful opportunity to serve the state he loved so deeply.

Eric joined the Bank of North Dakota in 1985 as a loan officer under then-bank president, Joe Lamb. Years later, he assumed the president title, succeeding the outgoing bank president, former governor, and current U.S. Sen. John Hoeven. He held this position with humility and a steady hand until his retirement in 2021. He remains the longest serving president in the bank’s storied history dating back to 1919. During his tenure, the bank enjoyed a long financial expansion with record profits and the resources to make a genuine difference in the lives of North Dakotans. He was especially proud of the bank’s student loan program; as a young man, he received financial assistance `from the Bank of North Dakota when he attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. During his tenure as bank president he ensured the student loan program refinanced thousands of students’ debt at a more favorable interest rate.

His bank legacy is one of returning profits to the people of North Dakota. Many of the bank’s economic development programs have his fingerprints in the ink. For example, the PACE and Match programs enabled local banks to access state bank profits to finance small businesses and community projects. He worked as hard for small-town main street businesses and banks as he did for multi-million-dollar corporations because he felt everyone deserved a chance at success. He often said that when business ideas didn’t go as expected at the outset, “We are willing to look into things that are not completely perfected.”

In addition to returning the profits to the people, Eric was instrumental in developing strong internal leaders at the bank. He encouraged employees to reach for higher positions and developed a financial assistance program for employees’ continued education. He worked hard for the appropriation project to build the new bank building overlooking the Missouri River. He wanted to bring his employees into a 21st-century workplace. He thought the bank itself, the only kind in the country and successful beyond its founders’ modest hopes, could rise prominently where steamboats once marked the state’s earliest agricultural economy. His employees recognized his efforts by naming the new bank’s training facility “Hardmeyer Leadership Hall.”

More importantly to him, Eric was a devoted husband to his wife, Laura, and father to their four children, Thomas, Kylie, Sara, and Teddy. He was a family man in the truest meaning of those words. He worked for them and lived for them. Their well-being and path in life were always his first concern.

He was a pontoon boat captain, mountain biker, hiker, snowshoer, camper, reader, history lover, prairie man, notoriously poor marksman, and traveler. He enjoyed all of those activities even more when he could do them with friends and family. One of his best traits was never taking himself or his life too seriously. He wore his stature like a plain coat, always a common man to all.

He engaged his long cancer fight with the same open, steady, and reassuring attitude that characterized his career at the bank and his life with his family, friends, and colleagues. His last months at work coincided with his first round of treatments, and his co-workers and collegial state officials were among his greatest cheerleaders and supporters. Every act of kindness moved him, every sign posted in his yard, every card, every small gift of food and good cheer, every call, every visit, and every text.

For those who loved Eric, family and friends alike, the loss of this man of deep character and kindness, so leavened with his humor, is immeasurable. The light in his eyes will always be remembered. His final hours and moments were softened by candlelight and all the love and gentleness he had shown to so many.

He is survived by his wife, Laura, their son Tom and wife, Paige, and their daughters Natalie and Ivy, of Bismarck, daughter Kylie and her partner Saker, of Lewiston, Idaho, daughter Sara White and husband Thomas and their children Lincoln and Isla, of Portland, and son Teddy, Montana State University at Bozeman. He is survived by four brothers, Kent (Shirley), of Newton, N.J., Steve, of Portland, Theodore, of Mott, and Evan (Peggy), of Portland. His surviving sisters are Judith (David) Hardmeyer-Wright, of Winthrop, Wash., Jane (Steve) Baker, of Hackensack, Minn., Maribeth and friend Dawson Buckley, of Fort Rice, Lauren (Pat) Donovan of Hazen, and Andrea, of Edmonds, Wash. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Ann Wentz, Wendy and Jerry Fritel, Craig Hewitt, Bonnie and Rich Morgan, and Becky Bartsch. He also has numerous nieces and nephews, to whom he was parts father, friend, and uncle, and many great-nieces and nephews in the next generation. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ted and Loraine Hardmeyer, and sisters, Denise and Lisa.

He was the past president of the North Dakota Bankers Association, a board member of the Federal Home Loan Bank Institution, a board member of the YMCA of Bismarck, and a board member of Cornerstone Bank. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions are welcome to Trinity Lutheran Church, the YMCA of Bismarck, and the Sanford Oncology/Bismarck Cancer Centers.


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