Dwight C. H. (Dewey) Kautzmann, 69, died July 23, 2015 in Bismarck at CHI St. Alexius Medical Center, following complications from renal failure and heart disease.
Services will be held at The University of Mary chapel, Bismarck, Thursday, July 30 at 10:30am. Visitation will be held at Buehler-Larson Funeral Home on Wednesday, July 29 from 4 to 8pm. Cremation has taken place and burial will be held at Mandan Union Cemetery at a later date.
Dewey was born December 30, 1945, the son of Harry and Avis (Claflin) Kautzmann. He was born in Bismarck and raised in Mandan. One of the highlights of his younger days came when he served as a bat boy for the 1961 New York Yankees during a series against the Twins, which allowed him to meet his heroes Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Yogi Berra. He always said it was the best summer job he ever had.
He graduated from Mandan Senior High School in 1964, from NDSU in 1968, and from UND School of Law in 1971. He was a proud member of the Theta Chi fraternity at NDSU, and made many friendships there that lasted a lifetime.
On August 19, 1972, he married the love of his life, Karen Clausen of Fargo. This union was blessed with three children: Dreux, Don, and DeAnn.
Dewey began his career as a trial lawyer with the firm of Vogel Bair and Brown in 1971 and became a US Magistrate Judge in 1978, chambered in Bismarck. He was a member of a US delegation of attorneys who negotiated prisoner exchanges in London, Dublin, Moscow and Stockholm in 1981. He served on the Mandan School Board from 1977 to 1983, serving as President for one term. He was elected President of the North Dakota State Bar Association in 1988. He spent his legal career and his life fighting against three things: poverty, injustice, and those who are indifferent to poverty or injustice. He instilled these same values in his children, and in the younger lawyers he mentored during his career.
Dewey fought a lengthy battle with heart disease beginning in 1991. He met this challenge with a determination and fighting spirit that never wavered. In July of 2003 he received the gift of a heart transplant from the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview and was heart #487. Following the transplant, he began signing e-mails as “Two Hearts.”
He loved pheasant hunting with Dreux, discussing politics and law with Don, relishing one of DeAnn’s date bars, buying breakfast for his grandkids, and being in the presence of “his Karen” whenever possible. He loved a good debate and never hesitated expressing exactly how he felt on any topic. His favorite movie was the Godfather, and he could watch it repeatedly, pointing out life lessons in every scene. Thanks to this, all of his kids can now recite the entire movie dialogue from memory. He loved the mountains of Montana, cherry popsicles, the Rolling Stones, classic cars and driving fast, presiding over naturalization ceremonies, Saint Pope John the XXIII, and Gene Autry (he always considered himself a cowboy at heart).
He is survived by his wife of 43 years Karen, Mandan, ND; children, Dreux (Amy), Mandan, ND, Don, Fargo, ND and DeAnn, Minneapolis, MN; grandchildren Margaux, Dominic and Liam; siblings, DeNae (Peter Anderson) Kautzmann, Mandan, ND, Don (LaVonne) Kautzmann, Glendive, MT, DeLora (Doug Mund) Kautzmann, Bismarck, ND; sister-in-law Judy (Marlyn) Wegge, Moorhead, MN; heart transplant friend Bob Kellar, along with numerous cousins, aunts, nieces and nephews. His family and friends were the center of his life and he could always be counted on to help them whenever they needed it.
He was preceded in death by his parents and several aunts and uncles.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck or Second Chance for Life Foundation, PO Box 131462, Roseville, MN 55113.