Denise Elizabeth Dahl | Bemidji Pioneer
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Denise Elizabeth Dahl

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Denise Elizabeth Dahl whose Ojibwe name is Mash-kowizii Gabowiik, which means Stands Strong Woman, 53, of Cass Lake, died Monday, Dec. 29, 2008 at North Country Regional Hospital in Bemidji.

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The funeral services will be held at noon Sunday at the Cass Lake-Bena High School in Cass Lake. A wake will begin today at the Cass Lake-Bena High School and will continue until the time of the services. Burial will be in the Farris/Farden Township Cemetery in rural Cass Lake under the direction of the Cease Family Funeral Home of Bemidji.

The pallbearers will be Travis Heusers, Ryan Lemon, Don Carlson, Mike Hanson, Tim Nelson, Ricky Haaland and Carl Remmers.

Honorary pallbearers will be all the students and staff at the Cass Lake-Bena High School.

She was born as Cecelia Madeline Fairbanks on Dec. 30, 1954, to Jack Fairbanks and Mary Jane Folstrom of White Earth in Cass Lake. She was raised in the Lake George area until her parents' death at which time she was adopted and raised in the southern United States. She traveled the world doing mission work with her adoptive parents, but eventually came home to Cass Lake in 1975, where she met and married Jack Dahl Sr. on May 15, 1975. They lived in the Guthrie/Laporte area and raised their six children while also keeping doors open to numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and extended family. In 1991, after much determination to be a role model for all her children, she received her diploma from Cass Lake-Bena High School. In 1997, she continued her studies at Northwest Technical College and persevered diligently until she obtained both a Secretarial/Receptionist and Bookkeeping degree. Her graduation coincided with her youngest son Brent's high school graduation and was a highpoint in her life. She worked for MCT home loan for several years, and then at the Cass Lake-Bena High School for Indian Education. She was a founder of the drum and dance group at the high school and helped with the Anishinaabe Quiz Bowl program. She also helped coordinate cultural presentations for the Youth Works program during the summer. She loved to sew and at one time was an independent contractor for Lady Slipper Designs although her true passion was creating powwow regalia for all her children.

She is survived by her children, James (Cindy) Dahl of Onigum, Minn., Brenda (Al) Dahl of Cass Lake,Michael (Crystal) Dahl of White Earth, Minn., Jack (Ronda) Dahl Jr. of Bemidji, Brent (Jessica) Dahl of Bemidji, Christine (Ken) Goggleye of Laporte, Kerri Wells of Guthrie, Sarah Headbird of Fargo, N.D.,Mindy (Jeremy) Swan of Bemidji, Bonnie Zamora and Amaya Fisherman of Cass Lake, Kathy Jaspers, Sarah (Ken) Jaspers and Bob (Sylvia) Jaspers, all of Cass Lake; 23 grandchildren, a great-grandchild; nieces; nephews; siblings, Sylvia "Jeannie" (Ed) Lemay of Desota, Wis., Karen Solberg of White Earth, Liz (Gary) Pierce of Walla Walla, Wash., Will (Lorraine) Klaus of Guthrie, Fred Fairbanks of Cass Lake, Missy Murray of Walla Walla, Wash. and Clara (Spud) Carlson of Bemidji and former husband and father of her children, Jack Dahl Sr. of Laporte.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jack Fairbanks and Mary Jane Folstrom; sister, Shirley Adams; uncle, Pat St. Clair and grandfather, Simon Folstrom.

The family requests in lieu of flowers that monetary donations be made for the establishment of the Denise Dahl Memorial Scholarship in tribute to her constant dedication to education.

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