FARGO — Fred Martin Hector Jr. land benefactor for Rose Creek Golf Course and whose family is the namesake of Fargo's Hector International Airport, has died at the age of 86, according to an Forum death notice.

He died Saturday, June 1, in his home under hospice care. Funeral arrangements are pending with Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home.

His former wife of 56 years, Earlyne, confirmed his death to The Forum.

The Hector family is one of the most prominent in Fargo for having donated hundreds of acres to the Fargo Park District and airport as early as 1931.

Joel Vettel, executive director of the park district, told The Forum he is extremely saddened by the loss of Fred Hector Jr.

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“We know that his legacy will continue to live on through the great work of what he dedicated to the park district,” Vettel said, referring to the land donated by Hector in 1990 to create Rose Creek Golf Course.

A dedication outside the clubhouse of Rose Creek Golf Course to Fred and Earlyne Hector for donating land to the Fargo Park District. Fred Hector passed away Saturday, June 1. Kim Hyatt / The Forum
A dedication outside the clubhouse of Rose Creek Golf Course to Fred and Earlyne Hector for donating land to the Fargo Park District. Fred Hector passed away Saturday, June 1. Kim Hyatt / The Forum

“If you look out there, that course is just an incredible asset to our community. It’s a premier golf course for the region and continues to be one of our diamonds in the park district. We’re very proud of it,” Vettel said. “That would not have been possible without the dedication of the Hector family to the Fargo Park District. That course has really bloomed into something wonderful.”

Vettel pointed out other examples in Fargo of Hector's dedication to the community. The Pepsi Soccer Complex in north Fargo, he said, sits on land leased by the municipal airport authority to the park district that was originally donated by the Hector family.

Shawn Dobberstein, executive director of the airport authority, said he was saddened to hear the news of Hector's death.

"We're appreciative of everything the Hector family has done, from Fred and Earlyne and Fred's relatives decades ago," Dobberstein said.

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney offered his thoughts on Hector's death in a statement sent to The Forum.

“Fred Hector Jr. was an instrumental figure in the growth and development of Fargo. Fred’s gift of land made the Rose Creek Golf Course a reality and, combined with the Hector family’s generous legacy donations, will continue to positively impact future generations in this community. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”