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Christian radio personality dies following surgery

Pastor Mark Hale of Thrive Community Church reads scripture during a memorial service for Kerri Drees, former Qfm host, pictured on a screen in the sanctuary of the south Grand Forks church Monday. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Friends, family, co-workers and fans gathered in Thrive Community Church in Grand Forks and shared their favorite memories Monday of Kerri Drees, host of Christian radio station QFM’s morning show, who died that morning.

According to a Facebook post by morning show co-host Josh Jones, Drees died in surgery while having a lap band removed.

“Kerri’s personality plus, all the time,” Jones said.

The group of about 80 spoke of a woman who brought a special energy to each day, and greeted everybody with a smile and a hug.

Phil Ehlke is general manager of QFM, which has studies in Grand Forks and Fosston, Minn., and stations in Walker, Park Rapids and Thief River Falls, Minn. He said Drees was someone who loved being around people, and had a talent for making friends with everyone in the room.

“This is the first big crowd in Grand Forks that she hasn’t been a part of,” Phil Ehlke said. “But Kerri is here in spirit.”

Beth Waldeck met Drees about three years ago when she started working at the radio station.

“When I met her, I knew from the start it was going to be a special relationship,” Waldeck said.

She said Drees became a mentor to her, helping her learn “more than the ins and outs of radio,” but also about God and life.

“The impact she’s had on people isn’t something that can be quantified,” Waldeck said. “If I can take just a fraction of that and build it into my own life, it would be a great gift from Kerri.”

Drees grew up in Detroit Lakes, Minn., and lived in Thompson, N.D. She began working at QFM in January 2011, and previously worked at radio station Power 92 in Fargo. She was 47.

Robb Jeffries | Forum News Service

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