Junis A. Dostert, age 97, of Fairdale and Park River, ND passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 11th at the Lutheran Sunset Home in Grafton, with her family by her side.
Junis led a life of cheerful courage and boundless curiosity. She was devoted to her family and community, and brought laughter into every room she entered.
She was born May 28th, 1923 on the family farm near Fairdale, ND, the third of five daughters born to Agnes Rorvik Amundrud and Selmer Amundrud. At the age of 6, she moved with her parents and sisters into Fairdale, where, in addition to farming, her father owned the local hardware and implement dealership.
Junis’s love of learning began in the Fairdale school. Raised in a Norwegian-speaking home, she quickly learned English, though she remained fluent in Norwegian all her life. She graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1945 with a BS in Commerce. She then enrolled in graduate studies at the University of Denver, earning a Master of Business Administration degree with a focus on international economics in 1948. She was one of only 7 women MBAs out of a class of 52.
In 1949, eager for work in her field, Junis took the train to Washington, DC. After moving into the YWCA, she soon found a position with the Brazilian Military Commission. Although Junis already spoke Spanish, she went to the Georgetown Institute of Languages and Linguistics to learn the Portuguese required in her new job. There she met and later married Leon E. Dostert Jr.
In the 1950s Leon’s job as a radar engineer meant frequent moves to new military sites, and each of Junis’s four children was born in a different state. Upon their divorce in 1959, she brought her children home to Fairdale, where she knew they would have the strong family connections and community support that she loved about her own childhood.
While working as a bookkeeper at the Fairdale Hardware store, Junis kept an eagle eye out her office window for her children, and the various dogs, cats, ponies, horses, and ducks with which they filled her life – and her yard.
From her earliest years as a teenager in the Fairdale Folk Dancers, Junis loved music and dancing. In the 1960s she spearheaded fundraising events for the schools, enlisting local musicians, farmers, and teachers into musical productions. Even at the age of 95 she still loved to jitterbug and waltz, and she sang her favorite Norwegian songs until the last days of her life.
A gifted storyteller, Junis was blessed with many friends who shared raucous Scrabble parties and coffee gatherings at the Fairdale Cafe. She also treasured frequent visits from her four sisters and their families, to whom she remained devoted all her life.
In 1978 Junis moved to Bismarck, ND, where she worked at St. Alexius hospital for fifteen years and made many new friends. But as always, Fairdale called her back, and upon her retirement, she returned to the family farm in 1993.
Junis loved being on the farm, especially hosting family gatherings and working outside. She grew tan and strong every summer from endless hours of mowing and tree-pruning. Winters were spent in her cozy apartment in Park River, from where she traveled for new adventures with her children and grandchildren. Whether climbing up fjords in Norway or skiing down mountains in Utah, her pluck never failed.
All of her long life, Junis was interested in political and world affairs; she was active in the (then) District 17 North Dakota Democratic Party for many years. At the age of 97, she celebrated the election of President Biden in 2020.
Junis will be deeply missed by her children, her grandchildren, her extended family, and anyone who enjoyed an evening around the old farm kitchen table, eating her famous soup and dumplings and enjoying the warmth and humor she brought into everyone’s life.
Junis is survived by her four children: Candyce Dostert (Don Stevens) of Somerville, MA; Michele Dostert of Park River, ND; Leon Dostert of Bloomfield, NJ; Nicole Dostert (Joe Duginski) of Moorhead, MN; and four grandchildren: Jens and Jules Stevens, and Grace and Stefan Duginski. She is also survived by her first cousin, Lyle Amundrud, and by 18 nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and by her four beloved sisters, Oranda, Edwina, Maxine, and Benunie.
A Memorial Service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 17 at Our Redeemers Lutheran Church in Fairdale, ND. The family requests that masks be worn at the service.
Memorials are preferred to the Lutheran Sunset Home of Grafton, the Silvesta Cemetery Association, or the Democratic Party candidate of your choice.