Dennis Maurice Fladstol was born May 22, 1946 in Great Falls to Maurice and Opal Fladstol. He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on December 13, 2021. He fought a valiant battle against cancer for the past two years. Dennis grew up on the family farm 23 miles East of Conrad in the Sollid Community. He attended the North Faris and Faris Country School through the 8th grade. He attended and graduated from Conrad High School in 1964.
He attended Montana State University and graduated in 1969 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering. He was a member of the Alpha Delta chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, pin #595, serving as house manager for two years. He was able to visit the new AGR house in the summer of 2021 and really enjoyed visiting and sharing memories with current members. He was treated like royalty as soon as they found out his AGR pin number was so low! He was a loyal Bobcat fan!!
He worked for the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) for two years as an intern and after graduating from college, began work as a Unit Engineer in the Great Falls office designing irrigation systems, stock water lines and irrigation dams. In 1972 he was transferred to Havre as first engineer on the Beaver Creek Watershed (an earthen dam). In 1974 he was head engineer on the Newlan Creek dam at White Sulphur Springs. In 1976 Dennis decided to return to the family farm East of Conrad to farm with his dad. He loved working the land and caring for it. He modernized some of the operation and added the first computer programming on the farm. He retired from farming in 2017.
Dennis married Ruth Brastrup in 1972. Joining this family was a bit intimidating since Ruth had 10 raucous brothers and sisters. He learned to adapt to the noise and teasing and learned to join in and even surprise his in-laws. Dennis and Ruth had two children, Brian of Conrad and Deanna of Portland, Oregon. June 2022 would have marked their 50th anniversary. Dennis was very proud of his children and their accomplishments. He was so proud of the modernization that Brian implemented on the family farm and while he was proud of Deanna’s success as a CPA, he was always looking for local jobs to get her to return to Montana.
Dennis loved being a grandfather and had a special bond with Tori, Alicia and Declan. He was so proud of them going to college and only momentarily sad that several of them attended U of M. Dennis also had the privilege of becoming a great-grandfather in 2016, with the arrival of Paxton, and more recently, Reign. Getting visits from Paxton and Reign in the past year brought Dennis so much joy.
Dennis’ off-season job was as a crop adjuster for FCIC and Rain and Hail. In 2015 he was named Outstanding Adjuster for a four-state region. He retired from this job in 2016, after being an adjuster since 1985. He met so many farmers and made a lot of friends as an adjuster. He could drive to a farm once and never forget how to get there again and remembered everyone’s name he’d ever met.
Community service was a large part of Dennis’ life. He was a member of Jaycees and a 4-H leader for the Sollid Pioneers club. He served on the board for Equity Coop, Farmer’s Terminal Association, Sun River Electric, Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp and served on the Golden West Lutheran Church council for many years.
Dennis was such a hard worker during his lifetime and did not have a lot of downtime being a farmer. However, he always relaxed and had fun at Flathead Lake, at the cabin his grandfather built. He liked water skiing, driving the boat, and building (and sinking!) his homemade catamaran. He also enjoyed motorcycles and recently told his family that he had owned an orange and white Cushman scooter in high school that he and his best friends cruised Main Street on.
Dennis was very accommodating about completing his honey-do list, including hauling antique wagons, implements and rocks into the yard for Ruth, as well as building a “Chicken Hilton” for Ruth’s chickens. He also recently built a fancy doghouse for their dog, Lacey, who refused to use the dog house that every other dog had used. He built benches for his granddaughter’s wedding and for the Flathead cabin. When Dennis returned to the farm in 1976, Dennis remodeled the farmhouse for his family and continued remodeling projects for many other years as the family’s needs changed, or as Ruth requested.
Dennis enjoyed traveling to visit his children in Oregon, while Brian and his family still lived in Medford, Oregon and his daughter lived in Portland, Oregon. One of his favorite Christmas memories was the Christmas the family spent on the Oregon coast. In 2018, Dennis, Ruth and Deanna traveled to Norway and were able to visit the original Flatestöl farm in Moi, Norway. It was a very special moment seeing the land and farm where his ancestors were raised. Meeting the family that still live in the area and meeting so many relatives made this a trip of a lifetime.
Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Maurice and Opal (Miles) Fladstol.
He is survived by wife, Ruth, son, Brian (Brandee) of Conrad; daughter, Deanna of Portland, OR; grandchildren, Tori (Ethan) Pletan of Conrad, Alicia of Missoula, and Declan of Missoula; great grandchildren, Paxton and Reign Pletan of Conrad; two brothers, Nolan (Cheryl) of Rudyard, and Gary (Shannon) of Lakeside; nephew, Joel of Rudyard; niece, Kira (Dallas) Weber of Arkansas; Aunt Grace Hewitt of Great Falls, Aunt Grace Richter of Joplin; as well as numerous cousins, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is planned for January 8, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at Golden West Lutheran Church 23 miles East of Conrad. Lunch will follow. COVID safety protocol will be enforced.
Private family burial will occur in the spring. Memorials are recommended to Golden West Church or Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp.
If unable to attend service, click on Zoom link to watch live service:
Zoom link will begin at approx 9:50am on Jan 8, 2022.