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Charles Askegaard

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May 20, 1916-Sept. 27, 2009

Lt. Colonel Charles J. Askegaard, 93, of Detroit Lakes, passed away on Sunday, September 27, 2009 at the Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes. He had been a resident of Detroit Lakes for over 48 years.

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Charles John Askegaard was born to Dan and Emma (Campdin) Askegaard on May 20, 1916 in Minot, N.D. He grew up in Fargo, and obtained a chemistry degree at North Dakota State University. He was in ROTC and when the United States was drawn into World War II, he served in the U.S. Army.

Charles was a member of the 99th Infantry Battalion, which was a special unit comprised of Norwegian-speaking soldiers who would be able to blend into the various Norwegian areas and conduct unconventional and strategic warfare operations against the Nazis. The unit's arrival to Norway was delayed in part due to being called upon to play a critical role in the Normandy invasion. His unit helped liberate the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

After the war ended, Charles returned to Fargo, where he met an adventurous Norwegian girl, Grete Lostegaard, who had come to America to visit relatives. They married on March 19, 1949, and began raising a family. Soon thereafter, Charles was called upon to serve his country again, this time in the Korean War, from 1951-53.

Charles and Grete then returned to Fargo, and Charles returned to NDSU and obtained a degree in pharmaceutical sciences. He was the president of his class.

In 1961, Charles and Grete moved their family to Detroit Lakes, where he owned and operated Askegaard Drug for 14 years. He later worked for White Drug, and then managed the pharmacy at the Detroit Lakes Clinic until he retired in 1978. In the meantime, Charles remained in the U.S. Army Reserves, until he finally retired from the military in 1975 after 39 years of service.

Charles was a leader in the Detroit Lakes community both during his working career and after his retirement. He was a member of Shriners International; a founding member of the Elks Lodge; active in the American Legion; a member of the Barber Shop Chorus; active member of the 412 Lakes Classic Car Club; and served as president of the council at First Lutheran Church.

Charles was perhaps best known for regularly visiting the area nursing homes and delighting the residents by preparing and serving to them a hot Norwegian pudding called "rommegrot." He continued these activities and involvements even as he heroically cared for his wife, Grete, who began suffering with Alzheimer's disease beginning in the early 1980s. She died on Dec. 20, 1993.

In the midst of all of this, Charles was recognized as "Becker County Citizen Of the Year" in 1990. Charles lit up the lives of all people around him. He was a loving man with a strong faith, and was a devoted husband and father.

In 1996, Charles was blessed to have another soul mate come into his life: Juanita Carlisle, a lifelong resident of Detroit Lakes. They were married Nov. 22, 1997. Thus, Charles' family was joyfully extended to include Juanita and her daughters Bonnie Carlisle, Faye Carlisle and Kitty (Dr. Robert) McClelland and their families. Charles and Nita enjoyed 13 years together and, thanks to her steadfast love and support he was able to continue to live a very full life.

Charles is survived by his wife, Juanita and her daughters; his daughters, Elizabeth (Mike) Brouse and Vicki (Richard) Lickteig; his sons, Paul (Nancy) Askegaard and Erik (Joan) Askegaard; 16 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren; along with several nieces and nephews in Norway.

In addition to his first wife, Grete, Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Dan and Emma Askegaard; and brothers, Harold and Chester.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, with a 7 p.m. prayer service, at the David-Donehower Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes. It will continue for one hour prior to services on Thursday.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 1 at First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes, with the Rev. David Peterson officiating. Interment will be in Riverside Cemetery, Fargo.

The David-Donehower Funeral Home is serving the family. Memories may be shared online at www.daviddonehower.com.

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