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The family of long-time printer and Kenmare News employee Darvin Lindquist honored his memory last week with a bench placed at The Kenmare News museum at
“He started working for [The Kenmare News] when he was a junior in high school, with Mr. Eckberg,” said Darvin’s wife Shirley. “He missed three months when he was working in the oilfield, but he came back to it.”
Darvin started at the newspaper in 1952, and by 1957 publisher Theo. Eckberg had purchased so much new equipment, he sent Darvin to the North Dakota State College of Science at Wahpeton to learn how to operate and maintain it. By all accounts, Darvin was dedicated to his job.
“He’d go early, he’d stay late, he’d work his noon hours,” Shirley recalled. “When they would get the notes to print from funeral directors, he was there day and night if they needed him. That was his life.”
She continued, “The kids would say, ‘That was Dad’s home away from home.’”
Shirley, a Flaxton native, met Darvin in 1955, but the couple was not introduced over an ad or funeral flyer. Instead, Shirley met him at the Kenmare swimming pool one night after supper. “He was admiring my dad’s car actually,” she said, describing Darvin’s other great interest in life, for automobiles.
The two married in 1957 and raised three children in Kenmare. Ted and Susie Eckberg became like a second family to the Lindquists, and Darvin’s children all became familiar with the workings of the press.
“A lot of times, he’d print the paper at night and take the kids down with him after supper,” Shirley said. “They all knew what he meant by ‘Don’t touch this knob and don’t touch that knob,’ and they all have a piece of metal [from the melted lead type] that Dad made for them.”
Shirley, who taught in the Kenmare school district until retiring a few years ago, admitted to a fascination with Darvin’s precise work. “He was a perfectionist and it had to be right, or he was wrong,” she said. “He would fold something and show me how I was doing it wrong, and I could see what he meant. He was also a very private person and not a lot of people knew him.”
Darvin worked at The Kenmare News until arthritis forced him to retire in 1999. “He was there 47 years, and he dearly loved his work,” said Shirley, adding that he appreciated and admired his co-workers through the years as well.
He died December 14, 2010, at age 73, with his family holding a private service at the time.
This summer, the Lindquists discussed the placement of Darvin’s memorial bench, donated to the Kenmare Park Board. “We initially were thinking the [downtown] park,” Shirley said, “because when he first worked [at the News], part of his job was to go around the square and pick up the ads for the week.”
However, the family decided to have the bench set next to The Kenmare News museum building built at
She studied the new metal and rock bench, situated under one of the building’s front windows, next to the door. The plaque is not inscribed with Darvin’s birth and death years, but with the phrase “Kenmare News Printer, 1952-1999.”
“I really believe it belongs here,” she said.