Dennis Odin Hegge, 81, a longtime East Grand Forks, MN resident, passed away early Wednesday evening, August 16, 2023, in Altru Hospital, Grand Forks, with family at his side.
Dennis was born in Crookston, MN on February 3, 1942, the son of Orris Odin and Alice Erma (Thompson) Hegge. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith and for the first 4 years of his life raised in Eldred, MN. In 1946 he moved with his family to Oklee, MN where he began his elementary education. The family returned to Eldred in 1951 and Dennis attended the Eldred Consolidated School before enrolling at Crookston’s Central High School where he graduated with the Class of 1960. While in High School Dennis lost his brother, Donald, as they were both swimming in the Red River. He tried to save him from drowning but did not succeed and would later name his first-born son after his beloved brother.
On May 4, 1961, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and reported to Quantico, VA where he trained and served as a Radio Telegraph Operator. While there he served in the honor guard for President John F. Kennedy's funeral procession. Generations of US school students viewed him in in solumn salute just moments before little John John's famous salute. Following his honorable discharge on May 1, 1964, he returned home and attended the Wahpeton (ND) State School of Science where he studied Refrigeration Maintenance and Repair. He took jobs as a Repair Man first for Montgomery Ward and later for Sears.
On January 21, 1967, Dennis was united in marriage to Laura Louise Johnson in Oslo, MN. The couple made their home in a Grand Forks apartment, near Augustana Lutheran Church, where they became members. Three children: Kathleen Ellen, Donald Odin, and Mark Allen were born to their union. Dennis then worked briefly as an iron worker with his brother-in-law, Jerome Pokrzywinski, but did not like the time away from his family. His last job with American Crystal Sugar in East Grand Forks was a decades long career while also operating an appliance repair business out of his home. Both houses he owned were built from the ground up with his own hands. Following his retirement, he continued with Hegge Refrigeration and Appliance, successfully serving the needs of local restaurants and businesses for several years.
Friendships, and offering a helping hand to those in need, were an integral part of Dennis’ life and both traits became very evident during the flood of 1997. He worked tirelessly, offering his assistance wherever the need was greatest. Dennis loved working with his hands, whether it be with electronics, appliances, or automobiles. He enjoyed the challenges of crossword puzzles and was constantly educating himself on new technologies knowing that he might, or might not, ever use what he learned. Dennis was a lifelong member of the East Grand Forks VFW Post and was a former member of the Grand Forks Masonic Lodge.
Dennis is survived by his 3 children: Kathleen Rehm and husband, Eric, of Lawrenceville, GA, Donald Hegge of Fargo, ND, and Mark Hegge and fiancé, Tami Watson, of Grand Forks, ND; 4 grandchildren: Shannon Olson, Colleen Olson, Nicholas Hegge, and Alicia Ihlan; 3 siblings: Kenneth Hegge of Mentor, MN, Carole Beiswenger and husband, Roger, of Fisher, MN, and David Hegge of Eldred, MN; together with many nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Orris and Alice Hegge; brother, Donald Hegge; sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth “Betty” and Larry Overgaard; nephews, Steven and Ethan Hegge; niece, Heather Beiswenger; and several aunts and uncles. Dennis will be very lovingly remembered and sadly missed by all who were a part of his life.
A memorial service for Dennis Odin Hegge will be held at 2:00pm, Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023, in the First English Cemetery, Eldred, MN, with Trey Everett, officiating. Military Honors will be provided by the United States Marine Corps Funeral Honors Team. Messages of condolence to the family may be offered at www.stenshoelhouske.com.