Darrell J. Dettmann

darrell j. dettmann
Darrell James Dettmann died peacefully at home under hospice care with his wife, daughter and sister at his side. Darrell was born on March 28th, 1942 in New Salem ND, to Edwin and Evalena (Toepke) Dettmann. He grew up on the family farm south of Judson, ND. He attended grade school in Judson and graduated from New Salem High School. In December following graduation, Darrell entered the Army. He spent all of his active service stationed in Germany where he was a medic. He was greatly influenced by his military experience. Darrell attended and graduated from North Dakota State School of Science in 1964. His first “real” job was working as an auto mechanic in Regent, ND. Darrell married Jeannie Lapthorn in December of 1964. They lived in Fargo where he was service manager at Muscatell Chevrolet. He worked for Muscatell off and on for the rest of his life. Together they had two children, Susanne and Theodore. He started teaching for Fargo Public Schools in 1972. He taught at Fargo South for his entire 28-year career. He was a strong advocate for vocational education and was VICA advisor for many years. He spent many nights sitting in the halls of motels at VICA conventions watching for unsuspecting wayward students. He was very active in the Presbyterian church. In 1993 he met and married Linda (Wahl) Mehlhoff when he became a “Lutern”. They lived in Fargo until Linda’s retirement in 2003, when they moved to Lake Elsie near Hankinson, ND. During those happy years in Hankinson , Darrell was very involved with the American Legion taking veterans to appointments at the VA in Fargo. He was also active at Calvary Lutheran Church. He developed masterful artistry, as one of his many talents, creating stained glass windows for the Veterans Memorial Park in Hankinson. Darrell and Linda moved back to Fargo in 2015, where Darrell continued his hobby making stained glass gifts for many special people. He continued working part-time at Muscatell until four weeks before he died, the last day he drove his car. Darrell is survived by his wife Linda, daughter Susanne (Bob) Seifert (Pelican Rapids MN); Ted (Jen) Dettmann (Torrance, CA); stepson John Mehlhoff (Moorhead); stepdaughter Melissa (Justin) Rooney (St Cloud); grandchildren Jenna Seifert, Garrett Seifert, Larissa Seifert, Jacob Mehlhoff, Stella Mehlhoff; brother Willis (Karon) Dettmann (Cedar Rapids, IA), sister Darlene Lapthorn (Fargo), sister –in-law Norma Dettmann (St Cloud, MN) and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and brothers: Dale Dettmann and Sheldon Dettmann. A celebration of life will be held on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 from 5-7 P.M. at Boulger Funeral Home, with a prayer service at 6:30 pm. The funeral will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 11:00 A.M. Current CDC guidelines will be followed during the celebration of life and funeral services. Both services will be live streamed on Boulger Funeral Home’s website at www.boulgerfuneralhome.com. The internment will be 2:00 P.M. Thursday, September 3, 2020 in Mandan ND at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Hospice Red River Valley or Bethlehem Lutheran Church. A recording will be available at www.boulgerfuneralhome.com Arrangements entrusted to the care of Boulger Funeral Home & Celebration of Life Center, Fargo. Online guestbook at www.boulgerfuneralhome.com Darrell's Video Tribute can be viewed below:

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  1. Our very deepest sympathies Sue and family. May you find comfort and peace in your precious memories. Heart hugs to you all..

  2. Mr. Dettman was my auto shop teacher in 1997 and 1998 at Fargo South. I was the only girl in that class, but Mr. Dettman had my back several times and was a great encouragement to me. He is a teacher I will never forget. All my love to his family.

  3. Linda,
    I so sorry to read of Darrell’s passing. He was a special kind of person; I always thought of him as salt of the earth. I was happy for both of you when you met and married. Darrell was a great addition to the faculty at South High; we had many of the same students. He was always respectful to our students.
    You and your family are in my thoughts as you mourn the loss of your husband.

  4. My heart goes out to you, Linda, and your family. Darrell was one of the gentle wonders of South High. He always had a warm and wonderful smile and greeting for me each and every day. He believed in carrying his own weight in dealing with the encouragement and discipline (if needed) for the students with whom he worked He was an extraordinary advocate for vocational education. I can only assume he was also a great ‘Lutern’. 🙂

  5. I remember riding to high school with Darrel when i was a Freshmen at new Salem High and also in the fall thrashing season. My God speed you to heaven Don Zeutschel

  6. Linda,
    We are so sorry to hear of Darrell’s passing. He was such a kind and wonderful man with so many talents. We always enjoyed visiting with him. He was such a big part of our church family when we lived in Hankinson. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and Darrell’s family.

  7. Mr Dettmann was the best teacher I ever had. Long after I graduated, I realized that he wan’t just teaching us automotive, he was teaching us how to problem solve. My sincere condolences to his family. I am grateful for all the memories and will miss seeing him around.

    God Bless,

    Jason Miller
    Fargo South ’96

  8. Linda, I am so very sorry for your loss! You and Darrell were such loving and gentle teachers and I missed you all these years, Linda. Take care of yourself. Deb

  9. Linda, Susanne, Ted and family,
    I have such fond memories of Darrell. I use to call him Dr. Dettmann, since he always was able to figure out what was wrong with the cars his students worked on and once in awhile, when I had a question about my car. He had a wonderful sense of humor, an easy smile and a caring for the students that made a difference for many of them. He was a strong advocate for technical education. He always reminded me that someone would have to fix my car, so let’s make sure they are well prepared. Darrell was a gem.
    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you and for Darrell. May he rest in peace.

    Sincerely, Dick Warner

  10. I had Darrell as a vocational auto mechanics teacher in the mid 70’s. I also purchased a car from him at the same time. He was a great influence on my life, as well as a great teacher. Rest in peace, Mr.Dettmann

  11. Susanne, Bob, Jenna, Garrett and Larissa,
    We are very sorry for your loss! You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Love, Carmen, Kevin, Austin and Ethan

  12. My sincere sympathy to you and your family. Please know I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
    Barb Rudh

  13. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Linda, as you grieve Darrell’s passing. Although we didn’t know him personally until these past few years, we loved his personality and caring, along with playing Racehorse.

  14. Sending hugs and best wishes during this difficult time. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  15. I am sorry to miss Darrell’s service but I am immune suppressed and cannot attend in this crazy time.
    The last time I saw Darrell was when we was my Courtesy Car driver at Muscatell. We had a great visit
    that day! I was happy that he seemed so happy! It
    pleases me that his years have been so full, surrounded by loving people. His loss must be very difficult for you all but we always have our memories and always hear their voices in our minds as a comfort. Please know that I am with you all in spirit.

  16. Linda, I am so sorry for your loss. I was able to watch the funeral, and wished I could have been there to offer my support. The pastor’s sermon was so personalized, and I appreciated learning even more about Darrell. And although you were not able to offer a lunch to those present, I think its hugs that are missed more.

  17. We are sorry we cannot be there to celebrate Uncle Darrell’s life with you. We will keep Darrell, Linda, Ted, Sue, and all of our Dettmann family in our thoughts and prayers, and we’ll join you for the funeral service virtually.

  18. Linda,
    Francis & I are so sorry for your loss. We attended the service virtually. It was our great honor to have gotten to know you and Darrell these past years. Our prayers will be with you and your family. Warm hugs!

  19. Linda, so sorry to hear of Darrell’s passing. You two were such a beautiful happy couple. I can imagine he’s joined the Calvary coffee group and I’m sure they are solving world problems. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hang on to those memories!

  20. i am typing this message sitting at the desk Darrell came over to my house to custom build just for me in the early 1990’s. Took multiple nights and he did it for free. Many fond memories of a wonderful man.

  21. I will forever remember Mr Dettmann from VICA. I remember our trip to Louisville, KY to compete. Greatest time ever. Thank you for the memories. Sorry for your loss, but please know that me and many others are better because of his dedication to teaching. Joe Moore class of 1986.

  22. My Uncle Darrel was a good man when i found out him and my uncle Mike died i cried my heart out I love my family very much there the reason why I live.

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