Rolland “Rolly” John Nugent was born February 21, 1937 to Russell Edward Nugent and Theresa Agnes Nugent, nee Lingen, in Pine River, MN. He was the eldest of three children. He spent a portion of his childhood in Oakland, CA until the age of 12 when his mother passed away and they returned to Minnesota. His father worked odd jobs and they lived with various relatives during his adolescence. The stories he shared wouldn’t make any sense by today’s standards. Like when he traveled from California to Minnesota on a train with his four-year-old sister, Mary. Or when he and his brother, Dick, hitchhiked through North Dakota and Minnesota as young boys, camping out wherever they could. Or the farm work he would have to complete before and after school. He never regretted any of his experiences and passed on his learned lessons to his children and grandchildren. His amazing character was created out of these circumstances.
After high school, Rolly worked hard, saved his money and enrolled in Bemidji State College and studied Sociology.
In 1960 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and traveled to Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. He loved his travel, his time in the military and especially working in the flight wing.
After four years in the service, he returned to Cass Lake. Rolly stayed busy with many different jobs, including a cab driver, a bartender at the City Municipal bar, a volunteer firefighter, and an advocate working with adolescents in the court system.
One night while he was driving cab, he met, Margaret Comby. She was attending nursing school in Bemidji, MN. The couple dated, eventually married, and had two children, John and Teresa. In 1977 they moved to Claremore, OK. While Margaret was working as a nurse at the Indian Hospital, Rolly accepted a position with the Claremore city maintenance department, eventually becoming the head of the department. He retired from the city after 17 years.
Rolly was all Minnesota at heart and religiously cheered on the Twins and the Vikings. He never missed the winters enough to move back and he learned to appreciate Oklahoma, especially the politics. He was a die hard conservative and called the death of Rush Limbaugh, “the death of his best friend.” He watched Fox News and kept up with national and local politics. Though he was steadfast in his own beliefs, he always welcomed a healthy debate from those with differing views. Even the Mormon visitors who regularly knocked at his door. He liked people and always took a minute for small talk with bank tellers, cashiers and Wal-Mart greeters.
Rolly loved gardening and canning, especially tomatoes. He was a fantastic cook and taught us that simple is sometimes best.
He consistently kept his mind active with puzzles, cryptograms, sudoku and crosswords.
His knowledge of small machines would constantly amaze us. He was always tinkering with something that was “broken” and have it fixed in no time. Not to mention all the bikes that had a second chance when we would piece them together like an old Johnny Cash song.
And lastly, and most importantly, he knew love and how to love. He let his children and grandchildren grow and make mistakes. He didn’t tell us how to be great people, but showed us by how he lived his life.
Rolly is survived by his children, John Rolland Nugent, of Claremore, Teresa Edna Ann Nugent and husband Clint McGregor of Norman, OK, sister Mary Wittner and husband Robert Wittner of Cass Lake, MN, grandchildren Jesse Rolland Nugent and John Michael Nugent, Margaret McGregor and McKenna McGregor, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Russell and Theresa Nugent and brother, Richard Nugent.
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