Dave Fordahl: 1952-2016
David “Dave” Allen Fordahl passed away on June 14, 2016, at West River Regional Medical Center as a result of esophageal cancer, diagnosed in October of 2013. He confronted his cancer with the mettle of a farmer. He never quit working.
David was born on May 26, 1952, the son of Norval and Henrietta (Huenink) Fordahl in Hettinger, North Dakota. He was raised on the family farm northeast of Hettinger, graduating from Hettinger High School in 1970. He attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, obtaining a Mathematics degree. He immediately returned to the family farm because he said he couldn’t imagine working in an office. He worked on the farm almost every summer and break while in college, so in fact, he never left it.
On May 30, 1971 he married his high school sweetheart, Carol Marie Jorgensen of Haynes. He had many part time jobs in Grand Forks including pizza delivery and assistant to a cabinet maker. But his life’s obsessions were farming and his cattle. He committed his days to the standards his father and grandfather set before him and he never wavered. Unlike his father who took a month off at a time, he almost never took a vacation. He rarely saw a window of time when the farm didn’t need him. He was single-minded and loyal to the last and could not be torn from his work. His finest characteristic was that he could never tell a lie. At the same time, this was his greatest fault. In hearing him speak to a bull buyer on the phone, one would often hear him telling the bad points about the animal as well as the good. He could not schmooze a sale and would not. But the truth was tougher to hear in family settings, like when the meal didn’t taste quite right. He was calm and steady and a bit of a perfectionist; he could raise his voice in an argument, leave the room briefly and return as if nothing had happened. He was as common as the grass on his land and never yearned to be more.
He was a lifelong member of Richland Lutheran Church and served for many years as clerk of Taylor Butte Township. He was elected to the school board in 1985, winning by the flip of a coin. He served for 6 years. Unsurprisingly, Dave was never found very far from Cedarflo Angus Ranch, his lifelong home.
Dave loved hunting on his land, parking on the bluffs in the early morning light to glass for deer. He also enjoyed fishing, purchasing his first decent boat a few years back. He played guitar and softball in his younger years and liked to golf. His greatest delight was his children and grandchildren: his son, Jeremy and wife, Jennifer (Olival), who reside not 100 yards from his back door, his daughter, Tracy and husband, Dan Wanek, of Minneapolis, MN, his son Steven and wife, Jennifer (Bodenheimer), of Kernersville, NC. His grandson, Christian David Wanek and granddaughter, Aria Grace Wanek of Minneapolis, MN and Olivia Wyn Fordahl, his constant little ray of hope who came just in time to make his life complete.
Dave assessed his life one warm August evening, just 6 weeks before his diagnosis. He was sitting on his new deck with beverage in hand, thinking about growing up under the loving eye of his grandfather, working side-by-side with his dad and now, guiding his son, Jeremy, into the farming/ranching business. He was ever aware too of his mom’s (Henrietta) constant, steadfast support throughout his years. And even though there’d been trouble and personal disappointment, he said with a slight rise in his voice, “I’m living the dream.”
Dave is also survived by his mother, Henrietta Fordahl of Hettinger, brother, Keith and Peggy, of Iron River, MI, sisters, Ellen and Jon Martin and Karen Killough of Bismarck. Extended family includes brother-in-laws, Terry (Sharon) Jorgensen, of Custer, South Dakota, Randy (Trichel) Jorgensen of Omaha, Nebraska,, Scott Jorgensen of Hettinger, sisters-in-laws, Donna Tatum of Rapid City, South Dakota, Sally Dufault of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his father, Norval, in 1994 and brother-in-law, Richard Killough in 2001.
A memorial has been established to honor medical staff.
Funeral services were June 18, 2016 at Richland Lutheran Church in rural Adams County, officiated by Charlotte Kvale. Serving as pallbearers were Greg and Wayne Seamands, Frank and Michael Laufer, Dick Rademaker and Dennis Omann. Visitations was Friday, June 17 at the Centennial Chapel of Evanson Jensen Funeral Homes in Hettinger, North Dakota and one hour prior to the Funeral on Saturday morning at Richland Lutheran Church.