Darrel (’47) and Dorothy Strietzel Fassett (’46) 69th Wedding Anniversary
Face Book Posting
Congratulations Darrel and Dorothy. 69 years is a lot of years. You guys are looking great too. We have seen you guys frequently too, in the Bottineau area, with our trips back. Often times we meet in Wal-Mart like so many others too. Gary
Don Corbin – 60’s DHS teacher/principle – Phoenix, AZ
Picture posted by his sister Pat Corbin Miller. Phoenix, AZ
Didn’t know of u got this picture of my brother, Don. He just turned 81 on the 2nd. Hope you and your wife are doing well. Thought you might like this pic
Pat Corbin Miller
Don Corbin – 60’s DHS Teacher – 81st Birthday
Condolences to the Dennis Espe Family by Larry Nagel firstname.lastname@example.org
May 25, 2016
Reverend: John D. Gondol, Family and Friends.
My name is: Larry Nagel
My condolences are with the Dennis Espe family. Foremost and first with his wife, Peggy, and his children, Cory, Sonia, and Robin and their families. Also with his brother, Terry and his sister Claudia and their families.
Dennis and I go back a long, long ways.
When I graduated from college in March of 1967, the Viet Nam war was going at high speed and many, many of our young innocent soldiers ended up being shipped home in a box. Three days after I graduated I was teaching at Upham, ND, NE of Minot, ND. The business teacher there had been called to active duty in the Viet Nam war. While I was finishing out the year at Upham which consisted of 9-weeks—I discovered a Business Teaching Position open at the newly built Dunseith High School. I drove to Dunseith one night after school and visited with
Lincoln Jerstad, a very popular Superintendent at that time at Dunseith High School about the vacancy in the Business Department. Lincoln Jerstad offered me the position and I took it. That fall started my working relationship with Dennis—we had joining classrooms—our classroom doors were so situated that they were only a few feet apart—whenever Dennis or I had to use the bathroom or do some errand during class period—the other would watch both classes. I had a lot of respect for Dennis. Dennis was a scholar—he was a true educator—I learned alot from Dennis. Dennis always maintained that there must be discipline in the classroom before any learning can take place. Dennis had respect from his students and they received a great education in his classrooms—After his lecture was completed, it was time to look up the answers to his worksheets—Dennis would open his classroom door—and I can see him today—coming out into the hallway with a pencil behind his left ear. You could walk pass his classroom—and you could hear a pin hit the floor–there wasn’t a single student talking, throwing things, or trying to get the attention of another student—all students were working.
On the lighter side, Dennis, his other teaching co-workers, and myself we also had a lot of fun after school hours at the Garden Tap. At that time the school board really backed the teachers like Gordie Neameyer, Curt Halvorson, and others like the bus contractors, Johnnie Hill and Duane Fugere. Teachers at that time at Dunseith High School were very close. I remember teachers, like Don Martel, Principal, Art Martel, English Teacher, Bill McKay, Math Teacher, Myself, Business Education and Driver Education, his brother, Terry Espe, Librarian, Curt Knight, English, Pat Knight, English and helped in the Library, Dan Morgan, Jr. High School Principal, Bob Halstenson, 7th & 8th grade teacher, Gene Hepper, Coach, Don Johnson, Music, and there were others. All of these educators were Dennis’s co-workers and friends.
Dennis, his brother, Terry and myself were all three very instrumental in getting the Dunseith Education Association started—which was and still is affiliated with the NDU—at that time it was called North Dakota Education Association. Dennis was not only one of the founding fathers of the Dunseith Education Association, but during his career was also a member of the North Dakota Education Associ- ation and the National Education Association. Being a member of these Professional Organizations meant a great deal to Dennis
There were several years at Dunseith High School where Dennis, Terry and myself were the only returning teachers—we worked together—it was a tough place at that time to work at.
Dennis and I attended many Jaycee Conventions—at that time Dunseith Jaycees came in as Number 1 in the state for two or three consecutive years—with the help of John Morgan and George Gottebreth.
Dennis and I were always personal friends even after I left Dunseith Schools in 1983, for the better share of my life and to the present, I have filed Income Taxes with Strand Agency in Bottineau and every year I would try to visit three or four friends when I came back to the Bottineau-Dunseith Community. Three years ago when I came back to file taxes in Bottineau, I knew I wouldn’t get back home due to a snow storm that was brewing—so luckily I made it to Dennis and Peggy’s house. They invited me to stay overnight—but before we did that Dennis, Peggy and I went out to Dales and had supper.
Dennis will always remain one of my best, most trusted friend, that I have had on this earth. Dennis loved his wife, Peggy, very much; he always spoke very highly of her. I will always remember, after the closing hours of a night’s fun out with the boys—Dennis would say, Larry stop by the house and we’ll have a beer, I would say what Peggy is going to say, He would say we will be quiet in the kitchen and Peggy is sleeping. That is where Dennis and I solved all the world’s problems.
When I visited Dennis in the hospital on April 25th, after I told him it was Larry hear to see you, Dennis, he squeezed my hand so hard and a big Smile on his lips—so I knew—he knew—I had come to see him and say, Good Bye!
I most definitely know what it is like to lose a loved one. I lost my only Brother,
On July 5, 2013, a grandson on March 4, 2014 and my Fiancée, Patty, on April 6, 2014. You don’t forget—but time does wonders for the soul.
Dennis, my brother rest in peace.
Posted by Neola Kofoid Garbe: email@example.com Bottineau & Minot, ND
Blog (464) posted on May 20, 2009
Posted on May 20, 2009
Request/message/picture from Ken Stiker:
Gary, pls put me on the list as a subscriber. I really enjoy your blog
I am attaching a scan of a June 2008 pic sent me of an alaskan cruise, Deane with wife Roberta, his sister deb Kubela w/husband Brad, and right Donna Robinson w/husband Dennis
||RR 1Box 201
||Dunseith, ND 58329
||8480 182nd Ave SE
||Wahpeton, ND 58075
||Swift Current, SK
Couples L to R:
Deane (73) & Roberta Hagen (75) Striker; Brad & Deb Striker (74) Kubela;
Dennis & Donna Striker (76) Robinson
Don & BerniceJohnson:
Folks, A lot of you have been added to our list since the posting of these tributes of Don and Bernice Johnson.
Don and Bernice were shot to death in their home in the Turtle Mountains in 1980.
Don and Bernice were the parents of Dick Johnson (68). Dick and his wife Brenda live on the family farm north of Dunseith. Dick is a huge contributor to this daily blog. We hear from him often.
Being the Icon’s they were to the community, I feel this is well deserving of a re-run. Dick is following right along in his parents foot steps.
Tributes to Don & Bernice Johnson
Previously posted in February 2008
With all the tributes you folks have provided with memories of Don Johnson. The first 3 messages, ahead of the article, I’ve gotten today. The messages following the article have been published before. I wanted to combine all the messages into one for this distribution. I went back through and tried to capture all the memories you folks have provided of Don. Please let me know if I’ve missed any.
I will include future comments that you guys provide, with memories of Don, in the daily messages. I will also add them to this message for redistribution in the future.
From Paulette LaCroix Chisholm (68):
These daily comments, stories and memories are a much better read than the Turtle Mt. Star in my humble opinion. I see I missed the “Daddy” song.
A little story about Don Johnson. In high school I played clarinet beside Gwen Grimme on the same old honking clarinet my two older sisters played going back at least a decade. Years of abuse had practically disintegrated the case so my mom taped it from head to foot with some gawd awful putrid smelling tape. When Mr. Johnson opened the door to the little room of stored instruments and was hit by the stench, he came to the conclusion that one or more students had not cleaned some filthy reed or mouthpiece in ages. He was quite “put out” with this disgusting find and lectured us on proper hygiene so “it” would never happen again. I knew it was myfault since I couldn’t put the clarinet even close to my lips without a gag. Now, I was sure everyone “knew” my mouthpiece was the “filthy unhygienic culprit.” Too embarrassed and red faced to fess up during the lecture, I waited in painful guilt and anxious expectation until after class. To my relief, he threw his head back in laughter and told me in a playful way to “get it out of there.”
I remember his eye opening introductions to different styles of music and his tying the message of “Romeo and Juliet” with the more modern “West Side Story.” He gave many of us the recognition and appreciation our parents didn’t or couldn’t and we “felt” his pride in our accomplishments. If you wanted to participate, he provided every effort to support you. I will always remember his kindness when gently telling those, who had less than perfect pitch, to keep their voices low so they could still participate in the choir. His contribution to our community over the years was huge, heartfelt and lasting.
Paulette LaCroix Chisholm (68)
From Brenda Hoffman (68):
Thank you Gary. I love the “community” of our emails. I could send this info directly to Dick Johnson but wanted yet more accolades for Don Johnson. Don was wonderful about exposing all of us to a variety of music (first heard and fell in love with Westside Story via Don in a music class), but also made absolutely sure that any cultural event near Dunseith was available to any of us who were interested. I so remember taking the bus to A Mid Summers Night Dream and laughing hysterically — and being amazed that it was written by Shakespeare. Or the concerts in Bottineau. Or the circus in Minot. And I loved how anyone could join the choir…even me. I knew my voice wasn’t the greatest (I think that’s an overstatement!) so would pretty much just voice the words when we were practicing. Toni and Paulette told me that they couldn’t hear me so I should sing louder..which I did for one song. I was a freshman in High School so of course, was intimidated by older classmates in the choir…Don stopped our practice after that one song and just said, “Brenda, could you keep it down.” He also sang at my wedding to Terry Hegney in 1969 (Terry died in 1981)..Of course, tunes from Westside Story!
I also want to note that I worked with Dick’s grandmother Cynthia during my high school stint at the San Haven dining room. I loved her. She was so kind and gentle. I’m not sure if even Dick knows this but when I was in the hospital for TB between the ages of two and three, I swallowed a nickle that someone had given me (people used to give kids coins as treats in those days). My mom was also in the hospital at the same time. Dr. Loeb (who was a prisoner of war before becoming the director of the San…he was an absolutely wonderful Dr. by the way and we were so lucky he decided to stay in ND after the war) couldn’t remove the nickel so Dad (who was working at the San in the kitchens at the time) warmed up the car, asked Cynthia to accompany him, borrowed clothes from Jay Vanorny and we were on our way to Minot. Can you imagine every one’s terror that I wouldn’t make the long drive? At any rate, the eye, ear, nose specialist in Minot removed the coin and all was well. Thank you Dick for a loving and warm family who impacted my life in so many ways.
Brenda Hoffman (class of 68)
From Dave Slyter (70):
Just a quick comment about your dad. Just like a super star, or actor, or singer or writer or composer your dad left a legacy in so many hearts, not only in the Dunseith area, but to North Dakota and Canada. He was a man that had a lot of influence on a lot of peoples life’s. He will always be in my life. He was the best teacher I had ever had.
Just one more little story about your folks together. When we lived on the farm up in the hills my mom Margaret Hiatt would make the best cinnamon rolls in the hills of the turtle mountains. When she would get into the mood of making them there would be this strange thing that would always happen during that same day of the baking. Your mom with your dad or your mom with her mom or your mom with your dads mom would always drive up and visit. We always asked mom when she was baking if she thought Don and Bernice would show up. Sometimes we know more than said it, and they were driving up the hill to our house. It was funny and also always enjoyable as they would sit and talk about so many things and memories of the old Benny Johnson farm. Always look forward to their visits. And they loved the cinnamon rolls. We always told mom that Bernice could smell those cinnamon rolls a mile away. ha
Prairie Past and Mountain Memories (1982 centennial book) Page 213
Dick Johnson’s (68) reply to the memories of his dad, Don Johnson:
Gary and DHS Friends
I do truly appreciate all the good memories folks have about my
dad, Don Johnson. He had an ability to understand the needs of
those around him and then find a way to make their lives a
little better. The one thing that I believe he passed on to
most of the kids was that everyone is of similar value
regardless of his background or wealth or name! This I believe
is what allowed him to achieve things like Governor’s Choir
with something like sixty kids singing that well. The other
atribute that he had was to never give up no matter what the
odds were. This determination could be seen by his students and
I believe it also drove them to achieve. Thanks to all those of
you who have told your stories of your memories of my dad, it
means a lot!
Margaret Metcalfe’s (65) memories of Don Johnson:
Several people have written about memories of Don Johnson so I thought I
would add yet another:
I was a Daddy’s girl. Wherever my Dad went, I was riding on his shoulders
or hanging on to his hand. I remember my parents wondering how I was
going to handle starting school. However, my first grade teacher in
Hilltop school was Don Johnson and I thought he was the best teacher
ever.. I don’t know if this was his first teaching job, but he and
Bernice were so young and Dickie was only 2 or 3 years old. One day
Bernice came to pick him up from school and I thought she was such a
beautiful lady. Don fixed the swing in the school yard and I was the
first to get to swing on it. I backed up as far as I could and then sat
down to swing forward, just then Dickie ran in front of me and I crashed
into him knocking him down. I felt so bad, he got up Don dusted himself
off and he had a gash on his head…..but his glasses didn’t break. He
was such a little cutie.
The years went by and Don taught my husband Chuck in 8th grade in Rolette.
Then he came back to Dunseith and I remember the chorus and how we
harmonized and had concerts….so fun. I took Music Appreciation from him
and like so many others learned to appreciate so many different composers
and their music. Whenever I hear Classical music, I think of him. He
brought the Grand Canyon suite to school and we listed to the LP’s on the
stage in the new school. I thought it was the most beautiful music I had
ever heard. After that I started really listening and appreciating the
music in movies. He was my teacher in first grade and my senior years and
I have such fond memories of one terrific teacher and a wonderful, caring
person. We were so honored when he sang at our wedding! He was a
Memories from Bill Hosmer (48):
Gary and all the rest. Just read the neat 180 degree turn by the
band described by Dick Johnson. It made me believe that Don Johnson
gave more positive stuff to more people than anyone I know. The last
time I saw him was when he was leading the band down Dunseith’s main
street at one of my visits home during Dunseith Days. His grin and
wink, when he recognized me, stays with me these many years later.
Don Lamoureux’s (75) Memories of Mr. Johnson:
I also have great memories of being in Mr. Jonson’s band. I started out playing clarinet, which didn’t seem too cool for me, I hadn’t heard of Benny Goodman. I later switched to the string bass, when that spot opened up, and was even happier when the school bought an electric bass guitar, so now I could play and be heard.
He also helped me out of a pickle during deer season one year. I was in big rush after school to get to a hunting spot, driving my dad’s 4 wheel drive jeep pickup, and was tearing up the hill past Sime’s to get to a spot before dark. I mean to get to a spot where I could hunt until dark. I rounded a curve to discover that an oncoming school bus and I were going to be occupying the same space shortly. I swerved to get out of the way, missed the bus, but put the truck into a spin, I did a 360 and then went backwards off the road and down the ditch.
I know I was closer to some other folks, but didn’t feel like confessing my crappy driving to anyone else, so I walked down to Mr. Johnson’s. He fired up a tractor and we went back to pull it out. The ditch was pretty steep, and the only thing that kept it from going farther down the ditch was the tree I managed to wedge the truck up against. I think Mr. Johnson had to go back home to get a chainsaw. It’s not real clear to me, because I was pretty much dreading having to go back home and face the music there, so to speak. Mr. Johnson tied the truck off to the tractor, buzzed the tree down, yanked the truck out, and sent me on my way. Mr. Johnson must have called ahead to smooth out the waters, because it really wasn’t that bad when I got home. Probably Dad could see nothing was going to make me feel worse than I already did. There still was the inevitable lecture of course, but then he told me of a time as a kid he was driving one of the brand new cars from the garage, and wrecked that.
I can also recall spending many fall days looking for grouse and pass-shooting ducks at Mr. Johnson’s.
Don Lamoureux (75)
Memories from Ele Dietrich (69):
After reading Deb M. memories of the Governor’s Choir in 1969, I felt that I just have to add this tickle of memory: Mr. Johnson (who would ever have called him anything else) probably had the highest impact of any teacher in Dunseith when I was in school. Through him we all learned to appreciate music. We also learned to give from our hearts when we sang and I think that has stayed with all of us to this very day. I personally can not thank him enough for that gift. I will always remember though that he absolutely dispised Buck Owens and the nasal tone of his music. Remember “let the sound come from the mouth not the nose”…those words will be with me always. He introduced me to so many kinds of music, music that I had never heard before and still love to this day. Thank you Mr. Johnson.
Ele (Dietrich) Slyter ’69 rules !!!
Memories from Deb Morinville (70):
David Slyter jogged memories from our Governor Choir days. I learned how to play “Whist” because we had down time sometimes. I also remember Governor Guy coming to Dunseith for a banquet. The town really spiffed up and it never looked so good! I also remember many long hours on busses and getting up at 5 AM to travel to many different places to sing.
Like in the legislative chambers at the Capitol in Bismarck
Yeah we had the blue blazers and the girls wore white skirts and the boys black pants. We stopped in Harvey one time to eat and filled the restaurant. On cue from Mr. Johnson we all stood up and sang our “Grace” It was very impressive. We were scattered all over but still managed four part harmony. I never realized important reading music would be. Now I singon a worship team and the ability to read music helps me to learn it quickly. Mr. Johnson had a huge impact on my
life in the way he taught me to appreciate so many different kinds of music. He never really liked country music though! What a legacy he left. It was such a great joy and privilege it was to sing with some of those former members at the Sunday service last summer at the reunion. Gary Fulsbakke directed us and we dedicated the songs to Mr. Johnson.
Keep the memories coming everyone!
Deb Morinville Marmon 70
Memories from Dave Slyter (70):
How many remember the good ole band and choir days of good ole DHS. Of course who could forget the best music director of all of DHS’s history, Don Johnson. He done so many things for so many students. One of the most memorable was when Dunseith received the Governors Choir award. I think I remember then the choir had over 60 members in it. The high school band always had big numbers in it. He ran a very high standard music department.
Alan Poitra, I remember those funny looking hats also but they were always locked up in the little practice room and we were all hoping that no one would mention to Mr. Johnson that we should wear them while we march. ha I always remember the home coming parades in Dunseith and also the day that we would travel to Minot for the Minot State College home coming parade. It was a long march, (especially when I had to carry that big ole bass drum) but was the best of times. Always went downtown Minot and hung out at all the stores. Always went to the five and dime store.
When we were in the music program in the late 60’s and into 1970(by the way that is the best year ever) we had the really nice blue blazer that we wore for high school concerts. I think we wore them for marching also. I also remember going to Devils Lake for the high school music contest or festivals. Dunseith always came home with high marks.
I think that was the best part of jr. high and high school was being in the famous Don Johnson music program. Well that and passing my grade each year. ha
One more memory I have to mention about the DHS music department. It has to do with years after I graduated but was a memory I will never forget. I was once a custodian at DHS after the good ole years of San Haven employment. My daughter Stacey was in high school band then and was under the direction of one of Don Johnson’s former students and everybody knows her, Cheryl Haagenson. She too did a great job in the music department. During the year that Stacey I think was a Junior in high school they decided they wanted to take in a contest down in Orlando Florida. So the money raising was put into place and the plans and dates of the trip were decided. I was fortunate enough to be a chaperone of this big event and what a memory it was. It will be with me for a very long time. The kids were so well behaved and they should have been so proud as they brought home this big huge trophy that I hope still is in the show case at the school. “Way to go Cheryl” You have done the school proud.
Thanks for the memories
Feb 4, 2008
Memories of Don & Bernice Johnson from Bill Hosmer (48):
Gary, and Dunseith Friends. One rather unlikely story, but one that
had some predictive qualities took place during my freshman year at
DHS. Don and Bernice were both Juniors. There was an operetta
directed by Miss Nesting. The characters in the play were Native
Americans. The title of the play was “Star Flower”. That character
was Bernice. Then there was a young brave I think named “Lone Buck”,
played by Don Johnson who was courting Star Flower. Her father was a
grizzled Chief named ‘Lost Eagle” or something like that, played by
yours truly. One line I remember well from Bernice was, “Father, you
bid me come to you”. I was supposed to be a grouch, so I had my arms
crossed across my bare chest which had been slathered with leg make up
to make me look more tribal-like. I had on a full headdress loaned by
the Chippewa tribe, and there were several of them in the audience of
this production. Bernice was so beautiful I wanted to hug her, but
that would have ended my stage career, and I’d probably have left that
leg make up on her Indian Princess dress. By the way for you young
folks, leg make up was a substitute for silk stockings which were not
available. It was a fluid in a bottle. World War II was still ongoing,
and then nylon etc became available later. There was alot of music
and the two of them sang love songs in duet, and they lived happily
everafter. Fortunately, the chief in the play did not have any singing
This was just a brief interval in a long friendship with those two
great Americans, but when there is such a wealth of personal
admiration, and deep sense of loss, every little whisp of memory comes
back to reinforce the importance of having known and indeed loved Don
and Bernice Johnson. Cheers, Bill Hosmer
Message (Don Johnson) from Glen Williams (52):
Gary…Great that you put that collection of “memories” of Don Johnson together…I was quite a bit younger than Don…so did not know him personally, but did know he was….and was to old to be in his classes…but would appear that he made a difference in a lot of students lives….I did know that he had been killed and was saddened by that event… His life just should not have ended that way…!!!
Susan Fassett’s (65) memories of the the Don Johnson family:
I have thoroughly enjoyed all the nice memories of Dick’s parents. We had many good times at the Johnson farm, as Cynthia (Dick’s Grandma) is a sister to my Aunt Dorothy Fassett. We had picnics at the farm and chased the fireflies at the edge of the lake where the farm sat, Johnson’s were included in many a family picnic and Dick was always a favorite “cousin”. My sisters, along with the “other” Fassett girls spent some nights at the farm and relate stories of the bats that inhabited the old buildings. Isn’t it great to be from a community that shares so many great memories.!!! Hugs and prayers to all—-Susan
Feb 5, 2008
Memories from Lola Metcalfe Vanorny (68):
lola vanorny, ew
Oh yes, I remember so many good memories of the Johnsons– I remember
going to a contest somewhere in his big black shiny cadillac – probably
about a 1961– and he drove really fast– (we thought) — that was cool!!_
ha– that was back in Dad’s 50 mph days– ha —!
Bill’s story about the play was really cute!!_- i can just imagine them
doing that– Yes- Bernice was very beautiful!
Sometimes when I see a group of school kids performing somewhere —
how sad it is that the dress code has gotten so lax– when we played for
an occasion somewhere – we looked sharp!!– The blue blazers – black or
white pants or skirts etc. and we’d better stand up straight– !!– He
was a stickler for that!– and I believe that too made an impression on us.
He had high standards.