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Notables leave lasting legacy in F-M area

Forum columnist Terry DeVine leaned back in his chair as he waited for the morning news huddle to begin. DeVine had recently been through cancer surgery and radiation and he knew there would be more challenges.

Forum columnist Terry DeVine leaned back in his chair as he waited for the morning news huddle to begin. DeVine had recently been through cancer surgery and radiation and he knew there would be more challenges.

A great storyteller, DeVine always kept the group entertained. But on this day, the talk turned to his health and he thoughtfully said to no one in particular, "Well, the way I look at it, I've been living on borrowed time for 35 years. I should have died in Vietnam."

DeVine survived Vietnam to create a legacy as a newsman, community servant, husband, father, grandfather and friend.

His comment about living on borrowed time was a powerful statement about his personality, and a reminder that we all live on borrowed time. DeVine died July 10 at age 62.

During the past year, our community also lost other pillars, including:


- Delmar J. Hansen, 81, and his wife Rhoda J. Han-sen, 79, lived together, worked together and died just months apart; he on Jan. 19 and she on May 8. Together, their influence on metro area theater was enormous.

Delmar joined the Moorhead State University faculty in 1958, the year he and Rhoda married. For the next 33 years he directed about 350 plays. Most of his work took place in the MSUM theater that now bears his name.

Rhoda worked alongside him as a dialogue coach for the MSUM Straw Hat Players from its inception in 1963 until 1989. In 2006, MSUM named the Rhoda Hansen Green Room in her honor. She was inducted into the North Dakota Speech and Theater Association Hall of Fame in 1987 and was named Teacher of the Year at Fargo North High School in 1984.

- Harold "Rusty" Casselton was 53 when he died on Dec. 30, 2007. His legacy in the local film area will continue through the film studies department he established at MSUM after spending 22 years teaching at Concordia College. He was internationally known for film preservation and restoration, had an enormous film collection and worked with the Fargo Film Festival each year.

- Mark B. Foss joined Foss & Co., the architectural and engineering firm established by his grandfather in 1898. The innovative liftslab technique he wrote his thesis on was used in many structures in the metro area.

He was active in the Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA as a board member and fundraiser, West Acres Develop-ment and many other community service organizations.

He was also a distinguished University of North Dakota alumnus who received many awards from the university. He died Jan. 25 at the age of 80.

- Christine "Chick" Kas-trinos was paralyzed in a car accident, but she didn't let that stop her from contributing. She wrote a cookbook, with profits going to scholarships for area nursing stu-dents, hosted dinner parties at Christmas to raise funds for the YWCA shelter and served on the executive board for Freedom Resource Center for Independent Living. She died at age of 37 on Jan. 31.


- Edwin "Sonny" Gulsvig taught physical education at Concordia, where he was also the head basketball coach, assistant football coach and a baseball coach. After 37 years with Concordia he retired, remaining active with speaking engagements, playing Santa at Eventide in Moor-head, helping his son, Chuck, with the Moorhead High sophomore football team and staying active in the Moorhead Athletic Association. Gulsvig was 79 when he died on March 13.

- Clarence A. "Soc" Glasrud was named chairman of the English Department at MSUM in 1952, a position he held for nearly 25 years. He also coached the college's tennis team. He wrote a biog-raphy of the Norwegian-American author Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, a college text titled, "The Age of Anxiety," and various works of Minnesota, regional and MSUM history. He was a longtime member of the Moorhead Rotary Club, served on the Moorhead City Council and was president of the Clay County Historical Society. He died in his home on March 14 at age 96.

- John S. Bailey worked with Access of the Red River Valley from 1988 to 2000. He was a talented artist who swapped his art for studio space in the basement of Dempsey's Public House in Fargo, where he was a fixture known for the green bowler he wore. He was involved for 27 years with Narcotics Anonymous, where he spon-sored other recovering people and donated his talent as an artist. He died on April 12 at the age of 47, 11 days after being diagnosed with cancer.

- Leo A. Wanzek worked for a local highway/heavy construction company before starting his own business in 1971 with his wife, Janet. After founding Wanzek Construction, his first project was for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, building the visi-tor center at Lake Ashtabula near Valley City, N.D.

The company continued to grow over the years and con-structed many notable projects in the area, including bridges, flood control projects, water treatment plants, dams, sugar and ethanol plants and wind farms. Wanzek died on April 16 at the age of 80.

- Republican Jens Tenne-fos served in both the North Dakota House of Representa-tives and the state Senate for 23 years and will be remembered as always being a strong advocate for Fargo and someone who stood strongly for what he believed in.

Before politics, he managed Tennefos Construction Co., which worked on projects that included interstates 94 and 29, the Garrison Dam and the air bases in Minot and Grand Forks, N.D. After retiring from the Senate in 1996, he helped raise funds for Fargo's Oak Grove Lutheran School and Olivet Lutheran Church and headed Tennefos Enterprises, a property management company. He was 78 when he died May 14.

- Dorothy Collins began writing her garden column in 1956 for the Moorhead Daily News and continued for The Forum for many years. She was best known for her horticulture advice, but Collins also loved the hardhitting side of journalism. She spent nearly 25 years working for The Forum, covering Moorhead schools and courts, where she was a proponent for open-meeting laws and later as Minnesota editor, covering state politics. After retiring, Collins returned to school and received a master of liberal arts degree in 1994 from MSUM. She died on Aug. 2 at the age of 92.


- Paul Paxton was a neon glassblower who created many icons in Fargo-Moorhead, including the signs for the Pink Pussycat, the Roundup, Home of Economy, Nodak, the Dirty Bird and many others. He continued to bend neon throughout his retirement years. He died on Sept. 29 at the age of 81.

- He felt called to reach out to people who had lost their way and had nowhere else to turn. This calling kept the Rev. Gary Danielson at the New Life Center in Fargo for 56 years. His son, Dan, who succeeded his father as direc-tor of the center, said his father referred to the center as the "lighthouse," and "he made sure the door was al-ways open." Danielson also lead services for 45 years at Shoreham Chapel near Detroit Lakes, Minn. He was 89 when he died on Oct. 14.

- John Nettleton, former Moorhead superintendent of schools, also served on the Moorhead Planning Commission, was a member of the Rotary Club and the Laural library board, sang in Trinity Lutheran Church choir in Moorhead, was a member of Helping Hands and delivered Meals on Wheels. He lent his artistic talent as a soloist and artist to the community, singing at weddings, funerals and nursing homes, and designing stained glass and wood works, including custom built crosses above the pillars in Trinity's Christian Life Center. He died on Sept. 27 at the age of 81.

- Mary Ellen Thompson lived her life involved with the community. She was part of the Fargo-Moorhead Women's Chorus, Fargo Fine Arts Club, Fargo Music Club, Garden Club and the FM Symphony Orchestra Women's Auxiliary. She was a trustee of the Lake Agassiz Arts Council, a board member of the Lake Agassiz Girl's Choir, the Clay County Council of Camp Fire Girls, and a district co-chairwoman of the United Way.

She taught music and piano in the Leonard, N.D., and Fargo schools and was a solo-ist at local churches. After her husband's death in 1988, she assumed responsibility for their real estate ventures and managed commercial real estate properties for more than a decade. She died July 3 at the age of 89.

- Daniel Navarro is remembered as a caring respiratory therapist by those who needed his medical skills. He is also remembered for his music. As lead singer in Danny Navarro and the Corvels, he was a household name during the 1960s. In 1965, he released the record "LaBamba," and in 1973 founded the family band, Crystal Haze. He continued to play with the band until his death on May 27 at age 61.

- Leo Kaiser started in the shoe business with Kinney Shoes and continued selling shoes in Fargo at Moody's Department Store and Hall Allen Shoe Co. In 1954, he and his wife, Sally, opened Kaiser Shoes in Moorhead and later added the Red Wing Shoe Store in Fargo.

Leo also loved photography and was one of the first in the area in the late 1940s to develop his own color prints. In retirement, he volunteered at Dakota Boys Ranch and Salvation Army stores, where he fixed cameras and provided other services. He died on May 11 at age 94.

- Helen E. Kuehl retired from a banking career in 1981, and then began a 25-year career of community service. She volunteered with the Moorhead Police Department for many years and was honored in 2000 by the Moorhead City Council for volunteering 5,000 hours. Before her death on March 18 at the age of 88, she had volunteered more than 10,000 hours of service to her community, including the Moorhead Salvation Army and Trinity Lutheran Church, Moorhead.

- Schoolteacher-turned-entrepreneur Eugene Dahl played a pivotal role in some of North Dakota's largest manufacturing businesses. He taught school for a time before joining Melroe Manufacturing in Gwinner, N.D., known today as Bobcat. He later joined Fargo's Steiger Co., providing both leadership and capital to the company. Under Dahl's leadership, Steiger established one of the first employee stock ownership plans in the nation.

He also served two terms in the North Dakota House of Representatives. Dahl was described as a world-class entrepreneur who gave farmers the tools they needed to succeed and mentored and supported young entrepreneurs, long before it was fashionable. He died on July 23 at age 83.

- Warren Diederich was a community builder both figuratively and literally. He and his wife, Irene, started Industrial Builders in Fargo in 1953. It was involved in some of the biggest construc-tion projects in the area, including the Fargodome and the Veterans Memorial Bridge spanning Fargo and Moor-head.

A veteran of World War II, he went on to graduate from North Dakota State Univer-sity and continued to give back to NDSU, including helping to raise money to complete the alumni center. Friends and family described Diederich as a big thinker and incredibly loyal, not only to NDSU, but to Fargo, his state and his country.

He served as a member of the NDSU Development Foundation Board of Trustees from 1982 until his death on Dec. 6 at the age of 84.

- Every holiday season for nearly 30 years, Steve Johnson of Moorhead threw a Christmas party for children who faced hardship, his way of saying thank you for the help he received when he became sick and lost his job. By the late 1980s, nearly 1,000 people were attending the annual galas that included presents, candy and live entertainment.

Johnson, a cook at eateries in the F-M area, also encour-aged his children to help at centers serving the developmentally disabled all year long. Although it has been nearly 20 years since he hosted one of his community Christmas parties, his name and generosity were well-known. He died on Dec. 6 at the age of 79.

- Dorothy Spielman, a local artist and founding member of the Red River Water Color Society, was part of the Valley Artists' Guild, which founded the Fargo Regional Art Show that ran for more than 10 years. She was a member of the FM Visual Arts and the Fine Arts Club in Fargo and was also a member of Gallery 4 in Fargo. Her work is part of the per-manent collection at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo. She died on Dec. 8 at the age of 82.

These community servants are examples of the many area people lost this year who made the most of their "borrowed time."
Readers can reach Carol Bradley Bursack at cbursack@forumcomm.com and Dianna Baumann at dbaumann@forumcomm.com , or write them at

The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107

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