Curtis Leroy Strand, age 77, passed away on Tuesday, December 4, 2018, surrounded by loved ones in Anchorage, Alaska. Curtis was born on the family farm in Adams County, North Dakota, on May 7, 1941, to Selmer (Sam) and Marjorie (Stiles) Strand. He was the second of four children.
Curtis grew up on the farm and attended Maine Township School. After graduating from Hettinger High School in 1959, he attended Agriculture training at North Dakota State University. Curtis married Betty Herberholz on November 11, 1961, at Richland Lutheran Church in Adams County, North Dakota. Todd and Tammy were the children born to this union. He began farming on the family farm before moving to a farm near Havelock, North Dakota. Curtis enjoyed racing snowmobiles and being a member of the Regent Snow Rangers and was active in the Saddle Club.
Curtis moved to Glendive, Montana, to build and run the Kampgrounds of America (KOA). While living there, he served as a volunteer firefighter in the city. Curtis spent a short time in Depoe Bay, Oregon, before returning to farming on the family farm. Due to the time spent in Montana, Curtis used the callsign of Montana Hippie on the CB Radio when he returned to North Dakota. He formed a partnership with his brother Gary called the Strand Brothers to run the farm and trucking company for several years. Curtis continued to run the family farm portion after the partnership was dissolved.
Curtis married Mavis Wolff on April 24, 1976, at Hettinger Lutheran Church in Hettinger, North Dakota. Dawn and Sarah were the children born to this union. He continued to run the family farm. Curtis was always tinkering and finding easier ways to do things on the farm by thinking outside of the box. He changed the farm over to more of a ranching operation raising beef cattle. Curtis liked to tell people that his main job was watching grass grow and occasionally opening a gate to move the cattle. He was a member and the President of the Regent School Board having won his first election by a coin flip when he ended up in a tie for the position. Curtis was a member of the 4-H club board and Roping Club. He was instrumental in bringing rodeos back to Hettinger, North Dakota. Curtis built a riding arena on the farm. Health issues eventually caused Curtis to leave the farm and ranch.
Curtis returned to college and graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Dickinson State University when he was 65 years old. He enjoyed having fun with all of the young students and challenging the ideas of the professors. Curtis spent his retirement travelling between Alaska and Hawaii. He made many great friends everywhere that he went.
Curtis enjoyed spending time with friends and family, roping, round ups, helping his neighbors, dancing, riding horses, and farming and ranching. He loved to talk to people and find out what they were like. He always knew how to make you smile and bring laughter to those who were lucky enough to be around him. Curtis would often take the opposite side of a discussion just to get people to look at it from other angles. He loved to do this with his mother and brother Gary in particular.
Curtis especially loved his children and grandchildren. He wanted everyone to know that he had a good life and thank you for making his life happy and that he will see you on the other side. When people asked him about Heaven, he would say he has already been there, on the back of a horse, on a hill, overlooking a herd of cattle on the rolling prairie.
Curtis is survived by his children Todd (Deborah) Strand of Lafayette, CO; Tammy (Kurt) Obrigewitch of Dickinson, ND; Dawn (Jason) Helmowski of Casselton, ND; and Sarah Strand of Anchorage, AK. Curtis had six grandchildren whom he adored, Samantha Dvorak, Alexa (Warren) Thompson, Kyle Strand, Ali Strand, and Grace and Luke Helmowski. He met his first great grandchild, Alexa’s daughter Amelia this summer. Curtis is survived by two sisters, Julie (Paul) Richter of Rapid City SD, and Janet (Gerard) Magelky, of Kadoka SD. He is also survived by his former spouses, Betty Herberholz and Mavis Strand.
Curtis was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Gary Strand, sister-in-law Janell Strand, and his nephew Kirk Magelky.
Curtis was cremated according to his wishes. Memorial services will be held within the next year at some of his favorite places (ND, SD, AK, and HI).