John Wall, 70, Wahpeton, N.D., died on Friday, July 18, 2014 at his lake residence on West Battle Lake, Minn., surrounded by his beloved family and served by Lakeland Hospice. Funeral services will be on Thursday, July 24, at 11 a.m. at St. John's Catholic Church, Wahpeton, with Rev. Dale Lagodinski officiating. Visitation will be on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. at the Bagg Bonanza Farm Historical Site, near Mooreton, N.D. There will also be visitation one hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Bagg Bonanza Farm. Vertin-Munson Funeral Home, Wahpeton, is handling arrangements.
John was born at Enderlin, N.D., on December 14, 1943, the second son of Edward "Cap" and Lillian (Arntson) Wall. He grew up on the family ranch bordering the Sheyenne National Grasslands east of Lisbon, N.D. He received the first eight years of his education at Shenford #5, a one room rural school near the ranch and graduated from Lisbon High School in 1961. In his youth, John was very involved in 4-H, FFA, amateur baseball, and wrestled for three years on Lisbon's first wrestling team.
After graduating from high school, John operated the family ranch for six years before continuing his education at Valley City State College. He graduated from Valley City in 1970 with a double major in English and history. While in college, John was involved in the publication of the Viking News, the college newspaper.
While attending college, John met the love of his life, Margaret Laber and they were married on August 18, 1973. To this union two children lived to adulthood, daughter, Autumn (Travis) Bennett, Walhalla, N.D., and son Jed Wall, Wahpeton, N.D.
In 1970, John began his teaching career teaching English and journalism at Sargent Central High School at Forman, N.D. After four years, John accepted a job teaching English and journalism at Wahpeton where he spent the next 30 years teaching. John always felt he was a lucky individual to be able to spend much of his working life with the many wonderful students he had the opportunity to teach. In addition to his teaching, John spent several summers in graduate school and earned his master's degree in English from N.D.S.U. in 1976.
John retired from his 34 year career in education in 2004 and in the same year was elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives, a seat he held until the present date. His lifelong interest in agriculture and history led him to become very involved in the early restoration of the Bagg Bonanza Farm. As the founding president of the Bagg Bonanza Farm Historic Preservation Society, he was especially pleased when this important historic site received National Landmark status in 2005.
John's interest in literature and all things North Dakota prompted him to create and market a series of filmstrips and videos which dealt with North Dakota's literary heritage. This project allowed him to meet and record many of the state's premier writers such as Louis L'Amour. As a result of the project, John spent two years traveling the state discussing the state's literary heritage as part of the North Dakota Humanities Council Speaker's Bureau.
Throughout life, John enjoyed hunting, fishing, reading, and artifacting; he was an especially avid deer hunter who looked forward to the yearly hunts with his longtime hunting buddies. John also loved traveling with Margaret, and especially enjoyed traveling with their "special date weekend" friends, Al and Pat Giese.
John's most cherished memories in life involved quality time spent with immediate and extended family. He was extremely proud of his wife, children and grandchildren's accomplishments. He was also proud of being a fourth generation North Dakotan whose maternal and paternal ancestors arrived by covered wagon to Dakota Territory and settled in the Sheyenne Valley southeast of Lisbon, N.D.
John was preceded in death by his parents, his infant daughter, Erica Ann, his father-in-law, Leo Laber, and his brother-in-law, Ken Uznanski.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Margaret; his daughter, Autumn (Travis) Bennett; his son, Jed Wall; his grandchildren, Brent, Connor, Dannika, and Natalie Bennett; his foster son, Xe Van Le; his one brother, Lee (Sharon) Wall, Crookston, MN, and their children, Renee (Tom) Rongen, Jan (Ron) Dennison, Chris (Beth) Wall; his mother-in-law, Marie Laber, Carrington, N.D.; his special godson, Mason Wede; and numerous extended family members.
July 21, 2014