Douglas Dale Hvistendahl of Ellendale was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on October 22, 1942. He completed his earthly mission on November 7, 2022.
Doug's parents, Charlotte (Dugdale) and Dale Hvistendahl, were not prepared for what they had to deal with when they had this normal looking baby. He was unique. He taught himself to read before he went to school, not from children's books, but from the Reader's Digest.
Doug's mother was a highly trained musician and voice teacher, well known to students at Trinity Bible Institute in the 1970s and 1980s. His father farmed near Guelph.
In school the kids treated Doug meanly because he was different. They wanted to play cars and tag. He wanted to talk about space and black holes. The kids were rough with him on the playground and threw his hat and gloves out the bus window. He retreated from socializing with children his age. He spent his time in the library, from right after school until nine at night when he walked the two miles home.
Doug loved his two little sisters, Nancy and Donna, dearly. And when he was 12 years old, he pulled Nancy off the bottom of a lake, saving her life. Nancy is eternally grateful to him for this, as is the family.
In the early 1960's Doug graduated from UND-Ellendale Branch in Ellendale. In 1965 he graduated from LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas. Mechanical engineering and electrical engineering were his fields of study. He also received a degree in divinity from Asbury Seminary in Kentucky.
Doug worked at U.S. Steel in Gary, Indiana for seven years, at Blumhardt Manufacturing in Ashley for five years, and for 13 years he was employed in machinery maintenance and troubleshooting at Cardinal Industries in Aberdeen. Along with his father Dale, he also operated Two Dak Seeds, which was located on land that later became the property of Harvest Gardens.
Douglas married his beloved wife, Betty Jo Eliason--whom he met at the library at Trinity Bible College--on May 31, 1975. They adored each other and had a good marriage.
Doug was active in lay ministries throughout his life. He and Betty Jo were active members of a black church in Gary. In Ellendale, he served for many years as a Sunday school teacher and a leader in the Royal Rangers program. Doug placed a great deal of confidence in God's ability to answer prayer. "We've been praying together since we were married," said Betty Jo.
Doug pursued many projects related to growing vegetables, managing finances, exploring alternate methods of home heating, and more. In his later years, as in his youth, he spent a great deal of time in the local library. Betty Jo occasionally commented on his wide ranging knowledge, saying, "What do I need with an encyclopedia when I have him?" Though by nature his mind was not geared toward social communication, he was a teacher at heart. He was always eager to share his knowledge about everything from mathematics to practical economics to thermodynamics to the evidence for divine creation of the universe.
Doug's mind was always calculating. He enjoyed analyzing and solving problems of any kind. He liked designing things. One time he bought a corn burning stove. He wasn't satisfied with how it was drawing smoke up the chimney, so he contacted the company. Before long he was redesigning the stove for them free of charge.
Doug was preceded in death by his parents, Charlotte and Dale. He is survived by his wife, Betty Jo, his sisters Nancy Hansen of Ludden and Donna Brown of Knoxville, TN. He has four nephews and one niece.
Doug was always interested in science, and he donated his body for medical science through USD-Vermillion.
A Memorial Service for Doug will be held at New Life Assembly of God on Friday, Nov. 18 at 1:00 PM. Pastor Kevin Libby will be officiating.
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