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David Wesley Grage, age 64, entered his heavenly home on July 12, 2019, with his wife and sister, Shelly at his side at the Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota. God gave Dave three symptom-free years after surgery for a glioblastoma, (incurable brain cancer), a gift for which his loved ones are eternally grateful. Only in the last two months of his life did a new, unrelated cancer overtake him, ultimately leading to his death.
Dave was born in Fairmont, Minnesota on October 27, 1954. He was the third child of Neal and Arlene (Nelson) Grage. The family moved to the North Shore of Lake Superior when Dave was two, living first in Taconite Harbor and then in Tofte. During his school years, Dave amassed a large group of great friends, many of whom remain in close contact today. From the time he was a little tyke Dave always felt blessed to live on the North Shore where Lake Superior and the Superior National Forest could be enjoyed on a daily basis. The family attended Palisade Baptist Church in Silver Bay and one of the things that impacted Dave the most was the Scripture memory program his mother developed for the congregation. He was diligent in memorizing Scripture, and at a young age, Dave gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ and made Him Lord of his life. Dave said that even in his adult years the verses he had memorized came back to him "unbidden and unstoppable.”
Upon graduating from Cook County High School in 1972, Dave attended Northwestern College in St. Paul. His education there was valuable but playing in the band proved to be even more valuable, for it was there that he met another saxophone player, Roz Johnson. The two were married on June 18, 1977. Before Dave was married, he spent a year of missionary service at Christian Academy in Tokyo, Japan. Dave received his bachelor’s degrees in accounting and economics at Bemidji State University in 1981. He earned his MBA from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa in 1985. He also earned his Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant certifications. His career in business led Dave and Roz to Iowa (three times), Texas, England, Connecticut, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. His final job was in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, the home town of both of Dave's parents. As the Chief Financial Officer for multiple companies, Dave had a stellar reputation with his peers and with those who worked under his management.
Dave had many hobbies and most of them included the outdoors. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, backpacking, stargazing, traveling, reading, flying his plane, and spending time with his friends and family. He ran and walked in several marathons. He loved music and was just a couple credits short of becoming a music teacher, before he changed majors to accounting and economics. He had a great sense of humor; it was very dry and until you got to know him you weren't sure if he was serious. A dear friend once said he was like an onion: he had many layers. Dave and Roz had a running joke that if he didn’t make her laugh every day, she could divorce him. They had 42 wonderful years together, that’s a lot of laughter!
Throughout his life, Dave was known for his laid-back personality, his humility, and his quick wit. As all who knew him can testify, he was a giant of a man in every way and a joy to be around.
Dave is survived by his wife Roz, and son Ky, of Fergus Falls; brother, Steve (Robyn) Grage, sisters, Becky (Glenn) Kerr, Kathy (Steve) Geyen, and Shelly (Mark) Rosbacka; 21 nieces and nephews, and 26 great-nieces and great-nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Neal and Arlene Grage, and great-niece, Abby Piland.
A visitation will take place from 5 - 7 PM Friday, August 9, 2019, with a 6:30 PM sharing of memories at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home, Fergus Falls, and one hour prior to services at the church.
His Memorial Service is 1:00 PM Saturday, August 10, 2019 at CrossRoads Church, Fergus Falls, with Reverend Ned Eerdmans officiating.
Dave donated his body to the University of Minnesota Anatomy Bequest Program. Interment will be at a later date at Maple Hill Cemetery, Clearbrook, Minnesota.
Online Guestbook, Video Tribute, and Funeral Webcast: GlendeNilson.com