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Dan Soutor

Daniel Ignatius Soutor, 95, of Henning, died Sept. 29, 2009, at Willow Creek in Henning.

Dan was born Jan. 10, 1914 to Ignatius and Julia Soutor, in Grafton, N.D. After graduating high school in Grafton, and a brief employment by the local railroad, he attended the University of North Dakota where he eventually graduated with a bachelor's degree in business. After graduation he went to work for BF Goodrich Company as a sales associate in the company's offices in the Twin Cities. When World War II broke out, Dan chose to serve his county by entering into the Navy as a pilot. After initial training at Wold Chamberlain Field in Minneapolis, he was transferred to Pensacola, Fla., for advanced flight training. He became a flight instructor for a time before being assigned to a bomber pilot squadron serving both in the United States and in Europe. At the height of the war in Europe, Lieutenant Commander Daniel Soutor and his crew aboard the "Liberator" were flying long range anti-submarine patrols over the English Channel from a base in Southern England.

Home on leave from the military, Dan met a former classmate from Grafton named Lois Miller. Dan and Lois eventually married at the Naval Base in Corpus Christi, Texas on July 16, 1942. Their first child was born during the war - a son named Stephen Dean Monroe Soutor.

Dan was discharged from active military service at the end of the war, and he returned home to the Grafton area. He sought to resume his career in business. His first daughter, Donna Jean, was born during this time. Dan eventually accepted a dry goods business franchise opportunity in Henning, where daughter Joyce Patricia and son Mark Vincent were born. Dan opened the business as "Dan's V Store" in the building that is now Chagen's Pub. Dan was a leader in the business community, serving in the Commercial Club and Lions Club. His customers -- farmers, townspeople, teenagers, and tourists -- would invariably enjoy Dan's good-natured sense of humor and his desire to be of service. Aside from running the "V Store" he enjoyed picnics with his family at Otter Tail Lake in the summer, hunting ducks and pheasants and following his sons' athletic activities in the fall, and ice fishing in the winter. He and Lois also enjoyed socializing over games of cards during the weekends with their friends. Dan retired from his career as a successful small business owner in the early 1980s.

Dan was also a leader in his faith community and was deeply devoted to his church. He was one of the men who helped establish the first Catholic Church in Henning and remained active in St. Edward's Catholic Church as a member of the board of trustees, the choir and as an organist.

Dan and Lois moved to Seal Beach, Calif., upon their retirement in the early 1980s. He was active in Holy Family Catholic Church in Leisure World for the more than 30 years he and Lois lived in California. He enjoyed playing golf, bowling, and with Lois brought Communion to Catholic residents of the local nursing home for many years. Over the years he and Lois enjoyed visits from their children and their families. During the summer months, Lois and Dan drove back to Henning to enjoy spending time with their friends and family.

In the fall of 2005, Dan and Lois were welcomed back to Henning as residents of the Willow Creek Assisted Living Community where his positive attitude and sense of humor touched residents and staff alike.

Daniel Ignatius Soutor -- husband, father, grandfather, brother, respected business and community leader, World War II veteran and devout Catholic -- will be missed by all who knew him.

Funeral services were held Friday, Oct. 2, at St. Edward's Catholic Church in Henning with the Rev. Dan Walz officiating. Pallbearers were Jim Neppel, Jay Neppel, Dale Neppel, John Gangelhoff, Duane Cichy and Dave Brutlag. Interment was in St. Edward's Catholic Cemetery. The Belmont Funeral Home in Henning ( was in charge of arrangements.

Survivors include a sister, Helen Neppel; his wife, Lois; his four children, Dean (Battle Lake), Donna (Denver, Colo.), Joyce (Plymouth, Minn.) and Mark (Denver); grandchildren Mitchell Dean Soutor (Minneapolis), Ashley Christine Soutor (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Tyler Jon Echternach, (Eau Claire, Wis.), Jason David McCarl, MD (Denver), Daniel Forrest McCarl, (Denver), Natalie Royce Otten (San Francisco), and Joey Gangelhoff (Minneapolis); and two great-grandchildren.