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Cecil Eugene Keisacker, age 92, former resident of Lakota, ND, left this earth for his heavenly home on Thursday, July 6, 2023 in Baxter, MN, just 12 days short of his 93rd birthday.
Cecil was born in Grand Forks, ND to Delbert and Juliana (Anderson) Keisacker. He grew up on the Keisacker Farm 2 miles south of Lakota that was established in 1900 by his grandparents. Although he was an only child he did not lack for attention as it was a multi-generational family with three of his uncles and his grandmother sharing the big farmhouse with he and his parents. In his biography Cecil talked about big family gatherings as 8 of his Dad’s 9 siblings lived in the area. He also talked about farming, taking care of cattle, pigs and horses.
Cecil attended elementary school Dodds Number Two - a rural school just south of the farm and graduated in a class of three with his friends – Marvin Harper and Jim Pogatshnik. He may have had an advantage as the school teachers always stayed at the Keisacker home.
He attended High School in Lakota starting with a class of 30 students and graduating in 1948 with a class of 18. Despite no previous experience and with a great coach he played both football and basketball and lettered in both sports. He went to Jamestown College for 1 year and then transferred to the University of North Dakota where he graduated in 1952 with a degree in Business Administration. He was a member of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and a loyal UND fan.
It was during a spring retreat at Bemidji, Minnesota that he heard a professor from Bethel College in Minneapolis speak and as he described it – “it was a major turning point in my life. I realized this world is not my home, we are just pilgrims passing through. Our focus should be on Jesus and his teachings as it says in II Timothy 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed…” That retreat set the tone for the remainder of Cecil’s life.
During college Cecil had a cancerous growth on his eye which was successfully treated with radiation but a history of cancer made it difficult to find a job in those days so he worked whatever jobs he could find and hitch-hiked across the state in search of a job. He finally went to work for a realtor in Bismarck selling homes and lots in a new subdivision until he moved over to the insurance side of the business and became an Adjuster for Western Adjustment and Inspection Company. This began a long career in the real estate business, mostly as an appraiser.
In 1954 Cecil met a young nurse by the name of Donna Fibelstad at a blood drive and they were married in September of 1955. They adopted Proverbs 3:5-6 as their life verse “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” Donna was faithful to the vows she took that day almost 68 years ago until the day he died.
They began married life in Jamestown, ND where daughter Jean was born. Then moved to Dickinson and daughter Mary was born while they lived there. Minot became home in 1962 and Cecil took over the office there and daughters Julie and Nancy were born. In 1969 Cecil quit the General Adjustment Bureau and went to work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and was employed by the federal government for the remainder of his career.
In September 1973 they moved to Polson, Montana and subsequently lived in Aberdeen, SD, Atlanta, GA and Minneapolis, MN. Cecil retired in 1991 and they moved first to Grand Forks and then as his parents’ health declined to the farm in Lakota where they remained until June of 2019 when they moved to Baxter, MN.
In retirement Cecil and Donna enjoyed traveling, working around the farm planting trees, tending a huge garden, working at Stump Lake, entertaining grandkids and sharing the beauty of the farm with friends and family. They spent winters in Mesa, AZ and were very active in their church East Mesa Baptist and the food bank ministry there. They also had a large circle of friends who wintered in AZ and they had many fun gatherings.
Since 2019 Cecil and Donna have lived independently in Baxter, MN during the summers and in Mesa, AZ during the winter. Cecil had many health challenges but remained cheerful, kind and a true gentlemen throughout his life. It was a great blessing to him that Donna cared for him at home until his death with help from loving and caring daughters.
He will be remembered and greatly missed by his wife, Donna; and daughters, Jeanne (Keith) Seifert - Polson, MT, Mary (Kirk) Ericksen - Deerwood, MN, Julie (Richard) Prensner - Harrisburg, PA, and Nancy (Kurt) Hagen - Hastings, MN; 13 grandchildren; and 10 great grandchildren; as well as several cousins and many dear friends.
He was a man of integrity, wisdom, honor and love for God, country, family and friends. We can rejoice that he has a new body and can see and hear clearly. He will leave a big void and we will miss his leading and direction in our lives and his unique perspective on life but we know that God is good and He will bring comfort in the days ahead.
In closing Cecil would not want us to “mourn as those who have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13) but rather to “believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ so that you may know you have eternal life” (I John 5:13)
In his biography he said “The Christian has that blessed hope. In this life we will have trials and tribulation. Human life is usually under 100 years – just a flash compared to eternity. I do not understand how God created such a marvelous creation, but I believe He did.
Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” It is your choice: you can believe, put your faith, hope and trust in Jesus to forgive your sins and follow him or go your own way.
The Funeral Service for Cecil will be held at the Aaker Funeral Home of Lakota, ND, on Friday, July 14, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. Interment will be in the Lakota Cemetery.