Richard "Dick" Hentges

One of North Dakota’s most colorful political figures and former mayor of Fargo, Dick Hentges died Thursday at age 82 after a brief battle with cancer. Richard Anthony Hentges was born July 22, 1934 in Petersburg, ND to Lillian Lucille Phelan and Anthony Joseph Hentges. He was the second oldest of five children, one brother and three sisters. The family moved to Grand Forks, ND when he was six years old and he graduated from St. James Catholic High School there in 1952. Serving in the US Army during the Korean conflict, he was stationed at Fort Riley, KS, Fort Knox, KY and Fort Lee, VA. After his military service he returned to Grand Forks to attend the University of North Dakota, graduating in 1958 with a BA in business. He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, lettered in hockey as a freshman and worked at Arnold Havig's Men's Store in Grand Forks while completing his education. After graduation, he joined the Hoffman La Roche pharmaceutical company as a sales representative, calling on pharmacies and doctors throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. In 1959 Dick married the love of his life, Lynn Graham of Devils Lake. They moved to Fargo and had three children, David Richard 1960, Kathryn Ann 1961, and Robert Michael 1969. Two other sons, Richard Anthony Jr. born in 1962 and Thomas Christopher in 1965, died in infancy. During the blizzard of 1966, he left the pharmaceutical business and joined his friend James Reed’s real estate investment company, Reed Investment. In 1976 he left Reed to form his own business The Hentges Company, which he built into a highly successful commercial real estate investment firm. Dick’s love of country, state and city engendered a need to become involved and to contribute, “pay his civic rent”, as he always said. So after becoming a Republican precinct committeeman in 1966, he went on to be elected and serve in the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1968 to 1974. In 1974 the young politician challenged Fargo’s 20-year incumbent Democratic mayor, Herschel Lashkowitz, and won an upset victory. Dick is remembered as one of the most accessible and visionary of Fargo’s mayors. His leadership in pursuing the funding, design and creation of an extraordinary project for the arts, the Fargo-Moorhead Cultural Bridge, is one of his defining legacies. The proposed art center, historical museum, concert hall, and bridge connecting two cities, two counties, and two states attracted national attention and a world-class architect, Michael Graves, to the city. Although the project was cancelled after a populist referendum in 1978, which lost the mayor a second term, the FM Cultural Bridge lives on as a seminal piece of Graves’ architectural design, still studied in schools of architecture around the world. Dick remained involved in Fargo’s civic life as a member of Fargo’s Airport Authority until 1996 and a board member of the Cass County Economic Development Corporation. An avid golfer, he was a member of the Fargo Country Club for fifty years. And as a devout Catholic he remained involved in parish life at Fargo’s Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church. In retirement, Dick’s monumental garden projects around the Hentges’ new house on Fargo’s Timberline Drive near Rose Creek were an outlet for his ever positive and energetic spirit. In 2016 he canned 60 jars of fruits and vegetables he’d grown and nurtured. He was a great cook, also loved to read, kayak and travel. But his greatest joy was always in spending time with his very close-knit family, particularly his eight grandchildren, whom he adored. Dick was preceded in death by his parents and two infant sons. He is survived by his wife, Lynn, son David of Tempe, AZ., daughter Kathy Jackson  (Steve) of Eagan, MN, son Robert (Nicole) of Phoenix, grandchildren: Manny, Kyle (Erin), Tony, Sarah, Jacob, Kale and Carmell, and great granddaughter Isla. He is also survived by his siblings, Colleen Dolan, Naperville, Il, Collette Brosch, Eden Prairie, MN., Robert Hentges, Thompson Falls, MT., Paulette Brannon, (Chuck) San Diego, CA. and scores of loving nieces and nephews. There will be a Prayer Service at Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center at 7:00 pm Wednesday with visitation from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. The funeral Mass will be at Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church at 10:30 am Thursday. Interment at Riverside Cemetery, Fargo. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Great Plains Food Bank at or Hospice Red River Valley at

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  1. My deepest condolences to Dick’s wife Lynn and lfamily. He was an outstanding mayor and public servant who moved Fargo forward economically. May he Rest In Peace. Donna Nalewaja

  2. Dick was a terrific public servant, a great family man and a good friend. I won’t forget his kindness to my mother, brother and me. My sympathy and prayers for his family and loved ones.

  3. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Dear Dad. I am Lois Myers Daughter. Sheila M Myers-Beck. Mom thought so highly of your Dad. I visited with him at Moms funeral in 2014. He looked wonderful. I remember visiting Dick and Lynn in Fargo as a teenager, when he was Mayor. Your Dear Dad was welcomed into Heaven by many loving Angel Family Members, and Friends. Dick and all of you are in my Prayers.

  4. Dear Lynn, David, Kathy and Rob, you all are in my thoughts and prayers in the death of your husband and Dad. His legacy of love, faith and service and concern for the common good will live on in all of you. For Dick life has not ended it has changed. He served his country, community and faith community has a humble servant. I am grateful for his friendship and support over the years and to share life at Nativity when I was there years back. May Dick have eternal peace and joy.

  5. Dear Lynn and family,
    At this moment, only sadness fills my heart as I saw the news of Dick’s death from the on line Forum. We are still in AZ or I would be there for the service. We will hold you all close to our hearts and pray you find comfort and peace from friends…….knowing that Dick was loved and respected by many. Our most sincere sympathy.

  6. Dear Lynn ,
    We were so sorry to hear about Dick’s passing. Our sympathy to you and the family. Love from Donna and George McWalter

  7. Dave,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I will let my mother (Eve Fischer) know off your dads death.

    Gary Fischer

  8. I send my deepest sympathies to Dick’s Family. Although I didn’t know him personally, I met Collette when
    I lived in Grand Forks, and our friendship in our Seattle days was lots of fun.
    I have met Colleen and Paulette and have on a few occasions visited with Dick over the phone.

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss and my prayers will be with all the family.

    May God Bless you all.

  9. When my husband, a commercial Realtor in Fargo, was laid up for a considerable period of time following an accident, Dick stopped by the house to visit on more than one occasion. He just dropped in to help Jim pass the time–and to review what was going on in the real estate community. My husband was delighted with and grateful for the visits. They showed both Jim and me what a thoughtful, considerate, and caring guy Dick Hentges was. He’ll leave a hole in the hearts of anyone privileged to call him friend.

  10. KJ,

    Your dad must have been an amazing man. You and your family will be in my prayers.

    God Bless,
    Chris Slaven

  11. Dave and family,

    I am sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you during this difficult time. I did not know that your dad was an ATO as well. VTL

  12. I used to run into Dick while we both had our morning coffee at various places around south Fargo. It was always enjoyable sitting and talking with him. He’d comment on my photos in The Forum, especially the food photos. (He liked mine) I looked forward to running into him now and then. I’ll miss those times for sure. My deepest sympathies to Dick’s Family.
    Dave Wallis

  13. Today the community lost a great man,family lost a husband father and a grandfather and friends lost a great friend we are saddened to hear of the loss of Dick. Our thoughts are with you and your family at this time. Sincerely apologize for being unable to attend celebration of his life as we are out of town.
    On a personal note working with the both of you when I built your home was one of the most enjoyable experiences I ever had ! Dale and I are so glad that Dick let us help him put the yard items away for winter. We will have great memories of him.
    Sincerely Bob and Jeanne Footitt

  14. Lynn and family,
    So sorry to hear about Dick. I will always remember the time he let me help work with him in his garden. Dick was a perfectionist and loved his gardening. The real love of his life was you Lynn and your family. My deepest sympathy. I wish I could be there with you to celebrate Dick’s life. Ron

  15. May Dick rest in peace and rejoice in eternal glory. My prayers and sympathy are with the Hentges family.

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