March 28, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
March 28, 2019
- 7:00 PM
March 29, 2019
- 1:00 PM
Conrad David Newgren, 93, of Fargo, North Dakota, died peacefully with his son and family friends at his side on Friday, March 22, 2019, at Sandford Medical Center. “Connie,” as he was affectionately known, was born June 22, 1925, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connie’s dedication to life, community and family began in his childhood years. He was one of 10 children. He left school in eighth grade to help his family put food on the table during the Great Depression. Drafted into the Army three days after his 18th birthday, Connie was deployed in March 1944 with the 3rd Infantry’s 10th Combat Engineer Battalion to Naples, Italy, before he was sent to the beachhead of Anzio. He was believed to be the last surviving WWII veteran to fight shoulder to shoulder with Audie Murphy. By age 21, Connie had been through the Great Depression and WWII. He had multiple brushes with death, including several bouts of malaria in Italy, shrapnel in France and an explosion that broke his back while riding in an ambulance in Germany. One of his favorite sayings: “I went to Rome for my 19th birthday, but I had to shoot my way in.”
While this may have been more than some ever sacrifice or accomplish in their lifetimes, Connie was just getting started. He married the love of his life, Florence Esther Junkert, in December 1946. Together they had one son, Michael David, the joy of Connie’s life. Family and friends were extremely important to Connie. Everyone who met Connie was better for having known him. After the war Connie worked briefly at the Post Office and a local car dealership before finding his way to painting. Connie worked for Tyne’s Decorating for 35 years before retiring in 1988. For Connie, this was more than a job. Harold “Tyne” Evert was among Connie’s dearest friends. Connie also was financial secretary and business agent of the local painters and paper-hangers union for close to 25 years.
Kind, sweet, loving, gentle and generous are words that describe Connie, who was highly respected and dearly loved by so many. A smile and quick-witted humor in a joke or story were a part of his fabric.
Dedicated to his country and community, the Purple Heart recipient in 2010 was awarded France’s Legion of Honor — the nation’s highest distinction. He was a lifetime member of the VFW, was involved in the local First United Methodist Church, served on Fargo’s fine arts council and helped build the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater at Island Park. He also was active in the North Dakota Democratic Party, working on campaigns for Fargo Mayor Herschel Lashkowitz, Gov. Bill Guy and U.S. Sen. Quentin Burdick.
Once a veteran, always a veteran. Connie proudly wore his WWII cap that was decorated with his medals and buttons. He had the French Legion of Honor medal around his neck wherever he went. When people thanked Connie for his military service, he would say: “The real heroes are the soldiers who are buried in Europe and never came home.”
Connie was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Florence; seven of his nine siblings, and countless close friends and relatives. He leaves behind his son, Michael David Newgren, Fargo, and many loving friends and family members. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 28, at Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo. Visitation will continue from noon to 1 p.m., followed by the funeral at 1 p.m., Friday, March 29, at First United Methodist Church in Fargo. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery in Fargo. Military honors will be provided by Fargo VFW. Arrangements by Boulger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center
Thank you for a life well lived and your service, Connie. We will love you and remember you for all the days of our lives.
VISITATION: 5-7 PM Thursday, March 28, 2019 at Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo – and also one hour prior to the service in the church on Friday
PRAYER SERVICE: 7 PM Thursday at Boulger Funeral Home
FUNERAL SERVICE: 1 PM Friday at First United Methodist Church in Fargo
BURIAL: Riverside Cemetery in Fargo
MILITARY FUNERAL HONORS: provided by the Fargo VFW