GRAND FORKS — Each night after work, 65-year-old David Hagen would make the routine walk he had been taking after finishing his shift at his job of four decades.
After wrapping up dishwashing at the Grand Forks Ramada Inn, Hagen would head to the Loaf 'N Jug off Gateway Drive by Interstate 29 in Grand Forks to pick up a pack of cigarettes. But one night he never made it home.
Just after 10 p.m. on April 8, police would find Hagen lying in the road with a head injury in an apparent hit-and-run. He would die at the scene.
Co-workers say the dish room at the Ramada in Grand Forks is much quieter now. Hagen worked at the hotel for 40 years and is remembered for his sense of humor and work ethic. Though he battled mental and physical disabilities, his co-workers say it never slowed him down.
"David really struggled, but you would never know that," said Ann Vossekuil, who worked with Hagen.
While he was a skilled dishwasher, David also had a little chef in him when needed. Though managers also had to keep an eye on him from time to time — especially when his wild side would come out.
"There were many weddings he wanted to go out and crash and dance with the bride," Vossekuil recalled.
But it's his dedication that he will be remembered for, co-workers say. April 8, the day of the accident, was no exception. Hagen had misread the schedule but ended up staying at work once he arrived.
"He wasn't supposed to work that night," Vossekuil explained. "We had some things going on during the day that would have put them behind a little bit, so David decided to stay and help."
Hagen ended up staying late that night, passing up a ride to the store. Police say he would later be struck by a car while walking on a crosswalk on Gateway Drive.
His sudden death came after a several-month fight with colon cancer.
"After he battled cancer then this happens," said co-worker Regina Wald. "(He) never complained."