Gunnar Hans Nordbye was born at Aurskog in Akershus, Norway. He was the son of Halvor Olsen Nordbye (1850-1894) and Anna Kristine Aarnæs (1856-1940). Nordbye received an LL.B. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1912. He was in private practice in Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1912 to 1922. He was a judge on the Municipal Court of Minneapolis from 1922 to 1925, and on the Fourth Judicial District Court of Minnesota from 1925 to 1931. 
On March 18, 1931, Nordbye received a recess appointment from President Herbert Hoover to a new seat on the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota created by 46 Stat. 431. Formally nominated on December 16, 1931, he was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 3, 1932, and received his commission on February 10, 1932. He served as chief judge from 1948–1959, assuming senior status on March 6, 1967, and serving in that capacity until his death.
- Gunnar Nordbye at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota