Darrell Henry, 78, of Westhope, died Tuesday, April 8, at his home. The funeral will be held Monday, April 14, at 10 a.m., in First Presbyterian Church, Westhope. Visitation will be Sunday, April 13, from 2 to 9 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m., at Trinity Lutheran Church, Westhope. Burial will be in the Westhope Cemetery.
Darrell was born Jan. 26, 1936, to Howard and Ethel Arlene (Convis) Henry. He was raised on the family farm south of Westhope. He graduated from Westhope High School in 1954. While in high school he played basketball, football, track and baseball. He was a proud member of the 1954 Class C high school basketball team. He was also state champion in pole vault in 1954 and high jump in 1953 and 1954. He attended NDSU for two years, playing basketball and track. He then went to Minot State, where he ran track and played baseball.
Darrell married the love of his life, Joann Solemsaas, on April 6, 1956, at Mohall. They lived in Fargo for a short time before returning to the family farm, where they raised six children and lived until 1998, when they moved into a home in Westhope that Darrell had built. After retiring from farming, he worked for FEMA for 11 years.
On the farm they raised many small grain crops, certified seed potatoes and Christmas trees. For a short time he raised cattle, sheep and pigs. He was a true jack of all trades, mechanic, welder, electrician, plumber, carpenter, bricklayer and truck driver, hauling oil and moving oil rigs. He had the mind of an inventor. The inventions that made him the most proud were a pitching machine, potato planter and various golf trainers.
He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Westhope, where he served on the council for 20 years and served four terms as president. He was also a member of the Elks Lodge. He was a 4-H leader in Newburg for five years and most recently was a member of the Westhope Senior Citizens, where he loved to meet his buddies and play a game of cards daily.
Family was important to him and he was an amazing husband, father and grandfather. He was quick to boast the accomplishments of his loved ones. His quick wit, sense of humor and practical jokes endeared him to others.
He loved to amuse kids by riding a bike backwards, making silly faces or barking at them. He had a deep love of all young people and his community of Westhope/Newburg. He touched many lives as a bus driver and coach. He coached high school track, girls basketball and many years of grade school basketball. He also was a referee. In his later years, he continued to coach, support and cheer on his grandchildren and the Sioux athletes from the stands. He was quick to praise and encourage all the young athletes and gave hugs freely. He called them his heroes and he truly meant it.
He was an avid NDSU Bison fan and was often seen sporting green and gold. He held season tickets to Bison Football and returned yearly for the NDSU alumni basketball game to play or watch.
Darrell's love for Joann was deep and admirable. He showered her with kisses, surprise gifts and poems. He will be deeply missed.
He is survived by: his wife of 58 years, Joann; sons, Tim Henry, of Los Angeles, Calif., and Steve (Teresa) Henry, of Wauksha, Wis.; four daughters, Terri (Lee) Lundberg, of Westhope, Lori (Jeff) Campbell, of Bismarck, Rebecca (Sheldon) Braaten, of Westhope, and Valerie (Jason) LaFontaine, of Billings, Mont.; grandchildren, Christopher (Lindsey) Henry, Jason Henry, Angela Henry, Kayla (Travis) Dressler, Jeremy (Brooke) Campbell, Ashley (Seth) McCollum, Justin Henry, Ciera Henry, Alisha Braaten, Hunter Braaten, Ellie Braaten, Walker Braaten, Mariah LaFontaine, Regan LaFontaine and Jett LaFontaine; three great-grandsons, Heath Henry, Brooks McCollum, Hudson Dressler; sister, Phyllis (Bill) McGinley; brother, Gordon (Pat) Henry and nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters Roberta Hesketh and Donna Perry, and grandchildren Kaydee Braaten and Lane LaFontaine.
Arrangements are with Nero Funeral Home in Westhope. Friends may sign the online register book at (www.nerofuneralhome.net).