Donald Hart, 77, of 1003 76th Ave S., Fargo, ND, died Thursday, June 17, 2004, of Pulmonary Fibrosis at Merit Care Hospital in Fargo in the presence of his immediate family.
Don was born in Browerville, MN, at the family home on October 14, 1926, the son of Leo E. and Myrtle (Dann) Hart. In 1932, the family moved to Fargo to be closer to a college for the children. Myrtle died in 1937 (Don age 11) and his father, Leo, became both mother and father to the children.
Don enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, and was discharged from the service in 1946. He enrolled at North Dakota Agricultural College (NDSU) where he was a member of the ATO fraternity. He graduated with a business degree in 1951. In 1950, Don married Grace Ann Wichmann.
After graduation, Don worked for Armour and Company in West Fargo as a Junior Livestock Buyer. In 1954, he took a job with McDonald livestock as a Buyer and Livestock Handler. In 1959, Don was appointed as a Livestock Buyer for Lande Packing in South St. Paul, MN.
In 1960, Don joined Al?s Sporting Goods of downtown Fargo in sales. In 1964, he joined The Western Shop in Moorhead, which he purchased in 1966 and incorporated as Western & Stockman?s Wear, Inc., a ND corporation. He added a store at Village West and purchased Stockman?s Western Wear in West Fargo. He then added another store in Alexandria, MN. Don and his wife, Grace, owned and operated his network of stores in the 1970?s and sold the corporation in 1981. Don then joined Central Livestock as a Buyer and Salesman. He reopened the West Fargo store in 1986 as Don Hart?s Western Shop. He owned and operated that store until 1998 when he retired to enjoy his family and horses.
When Don was 13, his father bought him his first horse. He continued riding almost daily until two weeks before his death. Don loved horses and owned and trained several champions. He judged horses in the Midwest and Canada. He was a long-term member of the ND Quarter Horse Association. He was a member of the Medora Riders and the Red River Harness Club, and was twice president of the ND Cutting Horse Association. Don was a founding member and inductee to the ND Cowboy Hall of Fame at Medora. He was most recently a founding member of the ND Horse Park where the first races were held last summer. Don conducted horsemanship clinics for 4-H and other horse groups and was often invited to NDSU as a guest lecturer on horse training. He served on the board of the Red River Valley Fair Association from 1972 to the present and was Fair Board President in 1989. Don was a past member of the Elks and Eagles clubs and was an Elder and Trustee of Shepherd of the Prairie Church in Fargo.
Don is survived by his wife of 54 years, Grace; two daughters, Sharon Johnson (Tom, grandson Tyler), Eden Prairie, MN and Terrie Dahl (Brian, grandson Hartley), Fargo, ND; a son Bruce Hart (Stacie), Seattle, WA; a brother Roger (Arlene) Hart, Chino Hills, CA; a brother-in-law Wally Cook, Corvallis, OR; a stepmother Christine Hart, Osakis, MN; and a stepsister Betty Ossino, Omaha, NE. He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Donna Mae and Cuba, and brother Dale.
The funeral for Don will be 1 p.m. Tuesday in Shepherd of the Prairie, Fargo. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Monday in Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo. Burial will be in Sunset Memorial Gardens, Fargo.
Arrangements by Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo.