Lee Dahlquist completes final deliveries before undergoing brain surgery
By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN - Known as “Pie Boy,” Lee Dahlquist of Cokato has been delivering Carlson’s Orchard pies around the community for the past 10 years.
After Wednesday, Nov. 26, Dahlquist will have to put all pies aside to focus on his own health and recovery.
Recently, Dahlquist visited his doctor for what he thought was just a case of vertigo; nothing a little pill couldn’t handle, he said.
Just to be safe, his doctor ordered that Dahlquist have a CAT scan to make sure it wasn’t anything more serious.
Results from the CAT scan showed a tumor on his brain, about the size of a quarter, located near his sinuses and the pituitary gland.
This was hard for Dahlquist to understand since he feels “perfect” other than he has a little fatigue every now and then.
Doctors are unsure how long he has had the tumor or if it’s malignant.
Originally, Dahlquist was scheduled to have surgery to remove the tumor Nov. 20.
Dahlquist joked, saying he would have to deliver his pies before he could have surgery, but it turned out to be true.
With only a half-staff at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Dahlquist’s surgery was postponed to Tuesday, Dec. 2, when he will be picked up by a personal nurse.
Now, Dahlquist will be able to deliver pies to his customers in time for Thanksgiving.
Last year, Dahlquist delivered 176 pies the day before Thanksgiving.
‘There’s a demand for them, I’ll tell you,” Dahlquist said.
Dahlquist enjoys delivering pies and says he does it just for fun.
“I like to talk to people and this way, I get to see everybody,” he said.
Each week, Dahlquist places the orders with Colleen Carlson, pie maker extraordinaire at Carlson’s Orchard in Winsted. Then, on Thursday mornings, Dahlquist fills up his white Mercury Grand Marquis and heads on what he calls “the fun run.”
Colleen jokes that Dahlquist doesn’t really tell them all the places he delivers.
“We don’t really know where Lee goes. He’s pretty secretive about that,” Colleen said.
The farthest the pies have taken Dahlquist is Grand Casino Mille Lacs, though some may say it was the allure of the slot machines.
Lately though, Dahlquist has been staying closer to home and delivering around the Cokato area.
Dahlquist also makes a trip out to French Lake Auto Parts, where he received the name “Pie Boy” from the manager, Sterling Nolan.
In appreciation for Dahlquist, Nolan had two sweatshirts made one for Dahlquist which reads “Mr. Pie Boy,” and another for his wife, Marilyn, which reads “Mrs. Pie Boy.”
Every week, Dahlquist delivers between 40 and 50 pies, but he will deliver even more pies the closer it gets to Thanksgiving, Colleen said.
Carlson’s Orchard owner Joe Carlson jokes that Dahlquist is such a good salesman he is going to have to get a bigger car or a trailer to haul all of his pies.
“Lee’s the guy everyone loves to love,” Carlson said.
“He’s dependable. He follows through. He’s punctual all of those traits makes him an excellent pie salesman,” Carlson said.
“Not everyone can make it to the “pie boy” status, but Lee proved that in his first year,” he added.