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Dan Holje, 79

Dan Holje, age 79, of Dassel, died Nov. 26, 2021, at the Glencoe Regional Hospital in Glencoe, MN.

Daniel Fredrick Holje was born Feb. 12, 1942, in Thief River Falls, MN, a son of Chester and Margaret (Dahl) Holje.

He was a 1960 graduate of Ogilvie High School, and a 1964 graduate of Hamline University, where he played baseball and basketball for the Pipers.

A Dassel resident since 1964, he was an English teacher at Dassel and Dassel-Cokato High School for 33 years, retiring in 1997. He also coached football, baseball, and basketball for the Vikings and Chargers, and had served as athletic director.

He played many years of town team baseball for Braham and the Dassel-Cokato Saints. Braham and the Saints both won state championships when he was team member. The Saints won the championship in 1968, and he was named to the all-state team.

He was married to Carolyn Johnson Aug. 3, 1968, at First Lutheran Church in Dassel.

They purchased the Dassel Dispatch newspaper from Carolyn’s parents in 1976. Dan continued to teach, but also took publishing and newspaper ownership responsibilities.

In 1985, they purchased the Cokato Enterprise. They operated the two newspapers separately for approximately two years and then merged them into one, the Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch, in 1987.

In the mid-1990s, the Holjes partnered to bring the first internet service to Dassel, Cokato, and Howard Lake, when internet wasn’t available in the communities. They formed a company, Central Minnesota Gateway, and generated 1,000 customers before selling the company a few years later.

They sold the Enterprise Dispatch in 2000 and continued employment there, retiring in 2003.

A community volunteer, Dan served as chairman/co-chairman of the Red Rooster Days festivities for 11 years, and has been a volunteer at the Dassel History Center for approximately 20 years.

An active member of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel for more than 57 years, he had served on the church council, as a youth advisor, and was a member of the choir.

He also enjoyed cooking/entertaining and sharing his love of literature with others.

A loving and devoted family man, he was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Byron; a niece and a nephew.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Carolyn; two sons, Craig (Sara) and Derek; four grandchildren, Nathan, Matthew, Jacob, Peyton; sister, Gerry (Ray) Graber of Hinkley; and five nieces.

A private family service will take place around Christmas. A public graveside service and a celebration of life are being planned for spring when the weather permits.

Memories of Dan are very healing for the family and are welcomed at any time.

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