John Diepolder

April 21, 1958-Jan. 5, 2021

On Tuesday January 5th

2021, John James Diepold-

er peacefully passed away

at the age of 62 in Lawton,


John was born April 21,

1958, in Rugby, ND, to

Donald and Dora (Dionne)

Diepolder. John was

raised on a family farm

5-1/2 miles southeast of

Willow City, ND, with his

nine siblings. He began

his education at the Notre

Dame Academy, Willow

City, ND, and in 1976,

graduated from Willow

City Public High School,

Willow City, ND. John en-

joyed playing sports,

especially playing basket-ball as a “Redwing.” John

studied at North Dakota

State University (NDSU),

in Fargo, ND, where he

majored in agriculture

and political science.

After three years at NDSU

however, he realized that

college was not for him.

In 1979, he began selling

insurance for Combined

and Direct Insurance

Agency, Fargo, ND. John

was a successful in-

surance salesman, win-

ning regional and national

awards from his em-


In 1983, John left North

Dakota. As he told the sto-

ry, he didn’t know where

he was going but he want-

ed to get out of the North

Dakota cold weather so he

just “drove south.” By

chance, he stopped in

Lawton, OK, one night.

He didn’t have a job or a

place to live. He was

sleeping in his car his first

night in Lawton and a pol-

iceman knocked on his

window. The policeman

asked John questions and

was ready to tell him to

move along when a small

picture of Jesus fell out of

his pocket and landed on

the ground in front of

them. The two talked a lit-

tle more. The policeman

warmed up to John and

invited him for a meal

and a good night’s rest in

his home. After that, John

knew Lawton, OK, would

be his home and that’s

where he spent the

remainder of his days.

John worked hard and

was always thankful and

proud of the work ethic

that his parents instilled

in him. He was an outgo-

ing “people person” and

gravitated to work that in-

volved interacting with

people. He worked a

variety of jobs, including

from 1983 to 1999: a Law-

ton cab driver; from 1999-

2005: product/car sales-

man, plastic pipe

manufacturer supervisor,

data collector; and, from

2005 until his retirement

in 2015: as a correctional

officer for the State of

Texas at the James V.

Allred Prison in Iowa

Park, TX.

John enjoyed retire-

ment. He was a member

of the Knights of Col-

umbus, St. Vincent de

Paul Society and the

Blessed Sacrament

Church. He was comfort-

able in his bachelor home.

He liked talking with

neighbors, friends, family

and sometimes walking a

couple of miles a day

through his Lawton neigh-

borhood. John remained

in his home until 2020,

when his health declined

and it was necessary for

him to move to the Brent-

wood Assisted Living Fa-

cility in Lawton. There,

still the outgoing John, he

made new friends in his

new neighborhood until

he passed. He made a spe-

cial point in his last days

to tell those dear to him

how much he appreciated

and loved them. That was

John. He was a good guy.

We will miss him.

Survivors include: four

sisters – Ann (Michael)

Brown, Grand Forks, ND;

Mary Diepolder (Rob

Turner), Columbia, SC;

Paula Diepolder (Bill

Fleming), Albuquerque,

NM; and Sarah Diepolder,

Moose Lake, MN; two

brothers – Jim (Colleen)

Diepolder, Willow City,

ND; and Karl Diepolder,

Albuquerque, NM; and

numerous cousins, nieces,

nephews; great-nieces,

great-nephews, relatives

and friends.

He was preceded in

death by his: paternal

grandparents – Walter

and Sylvia (Lizotte)

Diepolder and maternal

grandparents – August

and Hermine (Berube)

Dionne; parents – Donald

and Dora (Dionne)

Diepolder; brothers –

William Diepolder and

Joseph (Joe) Diepolder;

and sister – Lisa Diepold-


Memorial suggestions

include the Dacotah

Foundation, 600 S.

Second St., Suite 308,

Bismarck, N.D. 58504;

701.223.4517, doreene


in memory of John and

Joe Diepolder.

Due to COVID-19, a

Mass of Christian burial

will be deferred to the

Spring-Summer of 2021 at

Notre Dame Catholic

Church, Willow City, ND,

followed by burial in the

church cemetery. Addi-

tional details will be pro-

vided in local newspapers

and via email in the fol-

lowing months.