Obituary | Dean Vatthauer | Johnson Funeral Service
Obituary | Dean Vatthauer | Johnson Funeral Service

Dean Vatthauer, 88, Thief River Falls, MN, formally of Red Lake Falls, MN, passed away peacefully at home on April 30, 2021. At his request, a private celebration of his life will be held by family members.

Dean Paul Vatthauer was born on September 12, 1932, in Red Lake Falls, MN, the son of Henry and Laura (Hagl) Vatthauer. He graduated from Lafayette High School in Red Lake Falls in 1950, where he was a member of the football and basketball teams. Upon graduation, Dean continued working with his father and brothers on the family farm until joining the military in 1954, where he served two years, stationed primarily in Fort Carson, CO.

In 1956, Dean married Constance “Connie” French. Together they had four children, Catherine, Brian, Eric, and Lisa. He later married Sharon Lia of Thief River Falls, MN.

Throughout the 1960s into the 1970s, Dean served as a board member of the Farmers Union Marketing and Processing Association. In 1973, Vatthauer Farm Supply in Red Lake Falls got its start in the office of his home, growing over the years into the thriving business it is today. In 1985, he further expanded the business with the opening of Quality Farm Supply in Thief River Falls. His passion for farming was evident in the time he spent focused on land development. He had an eye for the natural drain and loved sharing his ideas and knowledge.

Dean was a loyal fan in the stands, supporting his children who were active in sports, then later cheering on his grandchildren. He enjoyed playing basketball into his 80s, long after most men would consider running up and down the court, showing up the younger players with teamwork and exceptional shooting skills.

If there was an adventure to be had, Dean was ready for it. He earned his IFR pilot’s license and traveled the country on business and for family vacations in his Cessna 182. He joined his grandchildren on the ski slopes of WI and CO into his 70s. He enjoyed long snowmobile and ATV rides, and ventured out on a dog sled at the age of 86. As an avid fisherman, he was known to reel in the biggest walleye and salmon. He enjoyed making new friends as he traveled abroad, with fond memories of fishing among the bears for salmon in the streams of Alaska, and for halibut and crab in the Pacific Ocean.

Dean is survived by his children Brian (Lynn) Vatthauer of Red Lake Falls, MN, Eric (Brenda) Vatthauer of Duluth, MN, Lisa (Mark) Turgeon of Stockton, UT: grandchildren Travis (Sarah) Turgeon, Kylie (Andrew) Johnson, Jared Vatthauer, Tyler Turgeon, Emily (Andrew) Larson, Jacob Vatthauer, Hunter Vatthauer, Jalen Vatthauer and Jordan Vatthauer: Great-grandchildren Skye and Isla Turgeon: Brothers Ernest (Theresa) and Donald (Kathy); sister Irene Rafferty.

He is preceded in death by his daughter Catherine, brother Clarence, sister Frieda, and his parents.

The family would like to thank the staff of Red River Valley Hospice for their care during Dean’s final days.