KALISPELL – On Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, Dennis Eugene Strand passed away after battling health issues for the past several months.
Dennis was born Sept. 17, 1942, at the family farmhouse in Regent, North Dakota, to Theodore and Dorothy Mae Strand. He joined his brother, Roger, who was 2 years old, and was then followed by, Monte, his younger brother three years later.
Dennis attended school in Regent, graduating in 1960. He often reminded people about having to milk the cows before going to school and then having to walk uphill both ways. In 1961, he joined the U.S. Army National Guard based out of Mott, North Dakota. He served during the Berlin crisis and was honorably discharged in 1968.
In 1964, he married Sharon Sack of Reeder, North Dakota. Dennis and Sharon had two children, Karlynn Marie (1965) and Keith Allen (1971). In December 1966, they left North Dakota to move out West and liked Missoula, so ended up making their residence there for 13 years. Even though their marriage ended, their friendship continued through the years.
Dennis worked in Missoula for Demarois Oldsmobile selling cars. He then went to Coca-Cola before going to Pepsi Cola. He started out driving truck and then became manager of Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. in Kalispell in 1979. He retired from Pepsi in 2003, after being in the pop business for 30 years.
Dennis had a special relationship with Alice Blasdel and her children. Dennis and Alice enjoyed traveling together in their 25-year union. They worked together at the Vista Linda with caterings, fish fries and other special events.
After retirement, Dennis enjoyed a variety of activities. He loved fishing and hunting. He would often tell stories of him, Keith, Mark and Rick Hoyt going pheasant hunting in North Dakota with his brother, Monte. After bird hunting, then came hunting camp back in Montana with the boys. Dad had hoped to get back there again this past year, but unfortunately he was in Spokane due to his health issues.
Another love of his was NASCAR and the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson. On Sundays, you would find him in his recliner watching the race with his phone close by for the calls that he and Karlynn would share back and forth during the race about each other’s driver. He also frequented the local track – Montana Raceway Park – where he enjoyed watching his granddaughter Dalton race the past seven years and camping out on the Montana 200.
Dennis always was looking for someone to play a game or two or three of cribbage. He participated in different tournaments throughout the valley. At one time, he volunteered with teaching students how to play the game. Dad always said, “You have to know math and how to count to 15 to play."
He enjoyed woodworking, making birdhouses and other objects. He would donate some of the birdhouses to The Lighthouse for the residents to decorate.
Dennis had his routine and if you couldn’t reach him by his cellphone (which he never wanted, but was always worried where it was) you could find him at the White Oak at 8 a.m. having coffee with the “White Oak girls” and meeting with his friends “solving the world's problems." Dad valued his friendships and enjoyed gathering with the guys to watch the Griz at neighbor Phil’s. Dad was thankful for time he got to spend with his friends.
Even though Dad spent his last few months in medical care, he never lost his sense of humor or his quick comebacks when sharing a conversation. His bright blue eyes would light up when his family, friends or even Phil’s dog, Toby, would come in to visit. He will be greatly missed.
Dad was preceded in death by his brother, Roger; and his parents, Theodore and Dorothy Mae.
He is survived by his daughter, Karlynn and Heath Halden; his son, Keith and Crystal; his brother, Monte and Bev Strand; sister-in-law, Helen Strand; his grandchildren, Trevor, Taylon, Dalton, Josh and Devin; one great-granddaughter, Oaklie; and his nephews, Perry, Kelly, Shawn and Cory. He is also survived by his special friend, Alice Blasdel; her children, Pat, Pam, Prudence and Mark; along with her grandchildren, Jayme, Dillon, Logan, Kris, Dan, Tuleah, Reanna, Hunter, Ellie and Isaac.
Karlynn and Keith would like to offer a special thanks to the staff at the Heritage Place for their care and compassion during Dad's stay, along with the staff at the dialysis center.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to the VFW, Special Olympics or Heritage Place.
A funeral service for Dennis will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at the Central Bible Church, 902 First Ave. E., in Kalispell with committal services to follow at Fairview Cemetery in Columbia Falls.
Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home is caring for the family.