Hettinger mourns loss of dedicated community member

Hettinger lost a dedicated community member last week. A native of the community for the last 27 years, Daniel James ‘Dan’ Nudell passed away on Wednesday, July 6.

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He was born on July 11, 1956 in Fargo and spent time growing up in Valley City, Turtle Lake, and Carrington before graduating from Harvey High School in 1974.


Nudell and his wife Linda—who were married in 1979—relocated to Hettinger nearly 30 years ago after residing in Mayville, Horace and Fargo. Linda said she remembers her husband immediately making the decision to be dedicated to the community shortly after they settled into their new home.

“It was just his nature, he was real community minded,” Linda said.

Nudell spent time on the economic development committee, the housing authority, and many years as a member of the Hettinger City Council. He was even mayor for a few months, filling in for someone who had left the position, though he didn’t seek re-election. Linda said he never planned to be mayor, and only filled in when there was a need, just another example of his dedication to the community; where there was a need, he was there.

“We always teased him, he dodged the [Adams County Record] really good,” she said. “Every mayor was in the paper, but he dodged it.”

During his tenure with the city council and housing authority, Nudell was instrumental in bringing Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing to this community, and he played an important role in raising the town houses in Hettinger. Linda said those are the two projects her late husband was probably most proud of while serving the city.

Nudell was also a dedicated member of the Hettinger Lutheran Church, helping out the church and congregation, many times behind the scenes.

Nudell served as co-manager of the Hettinger Theater for a couple of years, something that Linda said Nudell really treasured.

“That was a very hard thing for him to leave,” she said. “He really like working with teenagers so that was a great spot for him there.”

Their children (Matthew and Jean) were both graduates of Hettinger High School, and Linda said they were both very much involved in school activities while their kids were growing up.

Linda said her late husband’s dedication for Hettinger really derived from his love for southwest North Dakota. Nudell had been coming to this area since he was 12 years old to deer hunt, and the experience stuck with him.

“He developed a real love for this part of the state,” she said.

Nudell was last employed by West River Health Services as the Environmental Services Manger. His only disappointment was that his time to give to the position was cut short, another example of his dedication to every project he put his mind to.

“He wanted to contribute to the community,” Linda said.