Skip to main content

Julian Richard Natvig, 96

New Hampton Tribune and Nashua Reporter - Staff Photo - Create Article

Julian Richard Natvig — retired businessman, husband, father and long-time circus model builder — passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, at the age of 96.

A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 6, 2023, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton with MaryAnn Diesburg officiating.

Inurnment will be held at the New Hampton City Cemetery.

Friends greeted the family from 10 to 11 a.m., prior to the Memorial Service at the funeral home on Friday.

Online condolences for the Natvig family may be left at

Known to most as Richard, J R Natvig was born at home in Saude, on March 10, 1927, to Ruth and Julian G Natvig.

As a boy, he moved with his parents to New Hampton, where he attended public schools and graduated high school. At age 14, he began working at a local men’s clothing store. Later as an adult, he became the proprietor of that business, renamed The Hub Clothiers, which he operated with a partner until his retirement.

His employment there was interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II and served state-side for three years. In his later years, he was proud and honored to attend an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in 2010, and he cherished a handmade quilt given to him then for his military service.

Richard is best-known for his love of all things circus. Upon his return home from military service, he began carving circus figurines and animals, building model circus wagons and even sewing true-to-scale circus tents, a hobby that he continued into his 90s. He meticulously built, carved, and painted models at 1/16th scale that were replicas of actual circus wagons of that period.

In 1953, Richard was one of the founding members of the Karl King Ring Circus Modeling group and began meeting regularly with other model builders, forming friendships that lasted decades. His New Hampton Main Street Circus Parade works are on display at the town’s Carnegie Cultural Center. After retirement, he volunteered for seven annual Milwaukee Circus Parades, and especially enjoyed working with the animal trainers.

Richard married Marjorie Howard on May 6, 1951, and they remained sweethearts these past 72 years, residing in New Hampton and, recently, Elma. They have three children — Pamela (James) Leib, Julia Natvig and John (Lucinda) Natvig — two grandsons, Nathan (Heidi) Leib and Zachary (Zhavanya) Leib, and three great-grandchildren, Zaydn, Zalo, and Zahbeeyahna, all from South Dakota.

As a family, the Natvigs enjoyed weekends and vacations camping, bicycling, canoeing, and cross-country skiing.

After retirement, Rich and Marge continued to travel, camp, and bicycle. They also enjoyed Elder Hostel trips across the U.S. A tour of the Scandinavian counties and the Shriners was a travel highlight as Richard was proud of his Norwegian ancestry.

Thank you for reading!

To read the full version of all available articles, you must be a subscriber to the New Hampton Tribune's website. To become a subscriber, please click here to be taken to our subscription page. If you already are a subscriber, please click here to login to the site and continue reading. Thank you.