Douglas K. Dehnert, 77
Viking -Douglas Kay Dehnert died peacefully on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, ND with his loving family at his side.
Douglas Kay Dehnert was born April 1, 1939 in Lewiston, ID the son of Kenneth Kail and Imilda Mae (Berthelson) Dehnert.
From his earliest days, Doug raced anything with a motor – motorcycles, snowmobiles, snowplanes and cars. He learned to fly before turning 16, and spent summers in high school crop dusting potato fields around his home state of Idaho. He'd proudly show you a bent prop from an early run in with a power line when he was dusting – his first brush with his maker.
Doug enlisted in the Army after high school, and served in the Korean War. After the war he spent time in Fort Irwin, CA where he ran the electronics shop on base and continued his flying. He eventually made his way to Virginia, MN working for Bombardier building racing engines for motorcycles and snowmobiles.
In the early 1970s, his expertise in engineering led him to Arctic Enterprises in Thief River Falls, where he worked as head of Research and Development and the cross-country racing team. Many of his closest friends came from the racing days at Arctic, as did most of his aches and pains he felt later in life. He'd always say it was worth it.
According to an old friend and colleague, "Doug was the cleverest fellow I knew, he could solve most any mechanical or electrical problem." Other people will remember him for his pioneering work in the area of satellite TV. He started United Satellite Systems in 1980 and you can still see the iconic beige-colored dishes around the world.
In the 1990s Doug spent weekends in Fourtown, with former wife Paulette who owned the store there. When it burned in 1993, he helped rebuild it which was something he was always proud of.
When life slowed down in later years, Doug enjoyed becoming a part of the community in Viking and reconnecting with his large family. The Good Ole Days festival in Viking and biannual family reunions became highlights.
The summers would be spent tinkering around home with computers and photography, and making CDs of old time music (we all have stacks of CDs from Dad). The winters were spent road tripping around the US with Fern in their big green RV.
His 11 children and many friends were spread all over the country. It always brought a smile to their faces when Doug and Fern showed up for a (oftentimes surprise) visit.
Doug was an avid story teller and loved adding an Ole and Sven joke to any occasion, be it with lifelong friends or people he'd just met. He also loved to cook and enjoy good food.
Some might say he was known for his strong opinions on numerous topics, like how a steak should be cooked or an engine tuned. Those who knew him well would order well-done occasionally, just to get him going. It was all in good fun.
Doug was happiest on the go – racing snowmobiles, traveling the world for work and with family, or in later years with Fern in the RV. This was the first year that Doug didn't feel up to their annual road trip to warmer climes. Maybe it was the Minnesota winter that finally did him in, maybe he'd decided he'd seen it all, but whatever it was Doug would want everyone to know that it was a hell of a good ride.
Survivors include a truly special friend and loving companion for the last 20 years, Fern Bock; children: Tami Gene Nolte, Terrie Marrie (Scott) Anderson, Wendi Jean (Scott) Peterson, Kristi Lynn (Pam) Dehnert, Kari Sue (Brent) Esplin, Sheli Kay (Mark) Jensen, Kimberly Kay Dehnert, Jami Kay (Scott) Gardner and Douglas Paul Dehnert; 21 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; sister Danna Katherine (David) Cuin; Fern’s family; and many friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents; and grandchild Kailsie Mae Esplin.
Condolences may be sent at www.johnsonfuneralservice.com
Douglas K. Dehnert, 77