Mark Harness

Mark Harness, 68, Vel-

va, ND, passed away

peacefully on Sunday,

January 23, 2022.

Born in 1953 to Emil

and Margaret (Thompson)

Harness, Mark lived with

his family on the Ole Har-

ness homestead north of

Velva. He attended coun-

try school “North Prairie

#2” through the third

grade and then completed

the remainder of his edu-

cation at Velva Public

School, graduating from

high school in 1971.

Mark farmed his entire

life, initially helping his

dad and then taking over

the farm once his dad re-

tired. Mark loved farming;

driving the combine dur-

ing wheat harvest on his

August birthday was al-

ways a favorite way to

celebrate his day. Next to

farming, Mark’s biggest

passion was driving any-

thing that went fast:

snowmobiles, motorcy-

cles, and cars. Mark

worked as a snowmobile

mechanic for the local

race team all through the

1970s, fixed up old Case

tractors in the 1980s, and

started taking vacations to

West Yellowstone to

snowmobile in the Rock-

ies in the 1990s. When he

wasn’t recreating there in

the winters, he was

snowmobiling in the Tur-

tle Mountains and across

the local prairies. The

past decade he drove his

Triumph Rocket III over

20,000 miles on the rural

highways of north central

North Dakota. Visiting

was Mark’s superpower.

He loved to refill his cof-

fee cup and tell stories

with friends and family

members, and he always

valued when people made

time to talk. An avid

reader and history buff,

especially about WWII,

Mark was very proud of

his parents’ military ser-

vice – Emil as an Army

Medic and Margaret in the

Navy WAVES. Mark

served on the North

Prairie Township Board

and was a member of the

Oak Valley Lutheran


Mark was preceded in

death by his parents, Emil

and Margaret Harness;

and numerous aunts and


He is survived by his

sister, Mary Harness, Tuc-

son, AZ; aunt, Helen

Thompson, Reno, NV;

several cousins; signifi-

cant other, Liz Gjellstad,

Minot, ND; bonus chil-

dren, Melissa Gjellstad,

Grand Forks, ND; and

Clint and Jamie Gjellstad,

Velva, ND; and 3 bonus

grandchildren, Odin, Isa-

belle, and Aurora


Many caregivers eased

Mark’s journey with canc-

er these past years, and

we offer our sincere

thanks for the excellent

care he received.

Mark believed that the

volunteer fire and ambu-

lance departments are a

critical service for farmers

and rural residents; in

lieu of flowers, memorials

to the Velva Fire Depart-

ment and Velva Ambu-

lance Service are pre-

ferred, or to the charity of

your choice.

A private service for

immediate family will be

held this week. There will

be a graveside celebration

of life at Velva Communi-

ty Cemetery in the spring

of 2022.

Those wishing to sign

the online register and

share memories may ac-

cess the online obituaries

section at