West-central Minnesota city mourns loss of beloved city worker, volunteer EMT

He's described as having a great personality with love for his orange Crocs.
Author:
Publish date:

A small town in west-central Minnesota is mourning the death of a popular city employee who volunteered on the local rescue squad. 

Dean W. Nichols, 57, described by mourners on the City of Kerkhoven's Facebook page as a "gentle giant," will be laid to rest after a memorial service Monday at KMS High School in Kerkhoven, which is located 15 miles northwest of Willmar on the southeast side of Swift County. 

According to the Kerkhoven Banner, Nichols died after suffering a medical emergency on Monday, Jan. 13. He was a city maintenance worker for 24 years in Kerkhoven while also serving as a volunteer EMT for the town's ambulance service. 

The City of Kerkhoven has changed its profile picture on Facebook to a photo of Nichols (the picture at the top of the story), describing him as follows: 

"City employee, EMT, the guy who always had a smirk and a wave, the man who loved his family like no other, the guy with the orange crocs who dared this picture be taken will be watching Kerkhoven from above. As we attempt to grasp the reality of your passing Dean, we promise to keep your family in our prayers and thoughts today and in the days to come."

The orange Crocs were his thing, with his obituary noting that he even wore them to his daughter's wedding dance. 

"He had an infectious personality that is described as strong, helpful, encouraging and larger than life," his obituary says. 

Nichols began working for the city in 1995 and would go on to be an EMS instructor at Ridgewater College in Willmar for 22 years. 

Nichols passed away the same day as Howard Lake Fire Chief Daryl "Taddy" Drusch, who suffered a heart attack hours after responding to an emergency call. 

Next Up

P.J. Fleck

Looks like the Gophers can put Fleck-to-Tennessee rumors to rest

Fleck is annually a hot commodity when coaching jobs open up.

Matt Dumba

Wild drop front end of back-to-back with Kings

The Wild lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

Andrelton Simmons / Minnesota Twins

Twins sign Andrelton Simmons to one-year deal

The former Angels shortstop is a four-time Gold Glove winner.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

Related

ambulance

State Patrol: Fatal crashes in west-central, southern Minnesota

There have been at least 323 deaths on Minnesota roads this year.

Screen Shot 2019-12-26 at 8.18.58 AM

Post office to close indefinitely in central MN over building safety concerns

Residents of Kerkhoven will have to travel three miles to their nearest post office.

Tasty Pizza North

Oven explosion injures 1 at west-central MN pizza place

The victim was transported to a burn unit in the Twin Cities.

Frazee Fire Department

Man severely burned, 2 dogs die in west-central MN fire

The fire was reported just after 8:20 p.m. Monday.

grain bin

2nd man dies after tragic incident at west-central MN farm

The tragic incident happened on a farm near Alexandria.

Dalton tornado damage

Extreme damage from deadly tornado in west-central Minnesota

One person was killed during the Wednesday tornado.

train derailment Douglas County 3-1-19

Canadian Pacific train derails in west-central Minnesota

The derailment happened north of Alexandria near the town of Carlos.