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West Fargo diner owner found dead after search remembered as kind, hardworking

Tim Hagensen in August 2012. David Samson / The Forum 1 / 2
Flowers sit Friday outside the closed door of TNT's Diner in West Fargo.2 / 2

WEST FARGO – The usual sounds of clinking coffee cups and forks digging into the staple comfort food here at TNT's Diner were silent Friday, April 15, during what is usually a busy lunch hour.

The popular diner was closed Friday after its owner, Tim Hagensen, 53, was found dead Thursday, April 14.

A funeral visitation is planned for Hagensen at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 24, at Avalon West Events Center in Fargo.

New on Monday: Wife to sell TNT's diner.

Out front of the diner at 405 Main Ave. W., a handwritten sign announced the temporary closing "due to a medical emergency," causing the occasional would-be customer on Friday to move along.

Some of those customers migrated to nearby Sandy's Donuts, where Tracy Smith said the "shocking" news of Hagensen's death had been discussed by staff that morning.

Smith was not well-acquainted with Hagensen, but said the diner regulars described him as a very kind, modest and hardworking man.

Flowers sit Friday outside the closed door of TNT's Diner in West Fargo.Hagensen's family and close friends declined to comment Friday.

Bonanzaville Executive Director Brenda Warren said many of the Pioneer Village's volunteers are regular customers of TNT's Diner and spoke highly of Hagensen. Volunteers who knew Hagensen were surprised and saddened to hear of his death, Warren said.

Hagensen was reported missing about 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 13. An estimated 150 of Hagensen's friends and family had gathered Thursday, April 14, to organize a search.

The search was called off after Hagensen's body was found inside his pickup about 3:50 p.m off of 38th Street West, north of Interstate 94, by Cass County sheriff's deputies. A passer-by had noticed the truck and called law enforcement, Cass County spokesman Tim Briggeman said.

The Cass County Sheriff's Office said no foul play is suspected in Hagensen's death.

Briggeman said Friday that Hagensen's body has been sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy. Preliminary autopsy reports will likely be available within a few days, but until then, the sheriff's office declined to comment on the cause of death.

Hagensen and his wife, Tammy, opened TNT's Diner in 2007 and both are known to frequently serve and visit with customers. The diner drew regional interest after actor Tom Hanks visited in August 2012, dropping in for an early breakfast on the recommendation of employees at the Fargo Jet Center, where Hanks' family had a scheduled stop.

The Hagensens have three children.

Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center in Fargo are in charge of funeral arrangements.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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