William “Bill” Dehn
William “Bill” Henry Dehn, age 73, passed away peacefully at his home in the arms of his loving family on December 2, 2022 after a courageous, two-year battle with cancer.
Bill was born on October 21, 1949 to Mildred and Wilfred Dehn and lived on the family dairy farm in Rogers, MN. He graduated from Elk River High School in 1967 and studied at North Hennepin Community College and the University of MN. He met the love of his life, Sandi Anderson, in 1969 when he was 19 and she was 17. They were married in May, 1970 and recently celebrated 52 years together. Bill’s love for his wife was everlasting.
Bill and Sandi lived in Rogers, Belgrade, Backus, and Little Falls, where they have lived for 27 years on a farm. Bill carried his love of farming throughout his life, raising animals, gardening, hunting, searching for mushrooms, harvesting, woodworking, repairing vehicles, restoring tractors, planting thousands of trees and caring for the land. He was very proud of his herd of registered Scottish Highland cattle. When he was done farming, he filled the fields with trees and welcomed the birds and wildlife. He was an avid woodworker, gardener and rock collector and has an impressive collection of polished agates. He made his own maple syrup in the Sugar Shack he built with timber from the farm where he was raised and shared the bounty with his family and friends.
Bill was talented in so many areas and knew how to do almost everything. He had various occupations throughout his life: bus driver, carpenter, emergency first responder, financial manager for Cass County Housing Authority in Backus, chairman of the Pine River-Backus school board, zookeeper and maintenance at Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls, and many more. He remodeled and built several homes and loved helping his children and their spouses work on their own homes. Bill was so very hardworking and helpful; he was always happy to lend a hand.
After retirement, Bill and Sandi took many trips: camping with grandkids and dogs, driving west to search for fossils and agates, traveling to Florida to visit family and many other places. They enjoyed restoring antiques, collecting rocks and fossils, and working on their home and land.
Bill and Sandi raised 4 children together, Heather, Isobel, Josh, and Ben. Bill’s true passion was his family, especially his grandchildren. Bill was always there for his grandchildren, attending their games, concerts, and other events, taking trips with them, helping and teaching them, spending one-on-one time with them and most of all, being present with them.
Bill is survived by his wife, Sandi of Little Falls, children Heather and Kale Brastad of Little Falls, Isobel and Steven Fernandez of St. Augustine, FL, Josh and Nichole Dehn of Eveleth, and Ben and Shanon Dehn of Little Falls. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren: Tucker, Austin, Owen, Micah, Ethan, Maddie, Koda, Sam, Amaya, Stella, Grace, Jayven, and Zinnia and one great grandchild, Luca, whom he was thrilled to meet. He is also survived by his siblings: Pat (Margaret) Dehn, Sharon (Stanley) Hunter, Bonnie (Butch) Barbeln, Sally (Harry) Madson, Tim (Vickie) Dehn, and John (Angie) Dehn and many wonderful nieces and nephew. Bill was preceded in death by his parents.
Bill was loved so much and we will miss him forever. We will forever be grateful for all he taught us and for his constant support and love.
A private celebration of life will be held later. In lieu of flowers or memorials, please plant a tree or feed the birds.