Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Obituary of Arthur Dickhoff

Staff By Staff Mar26,2024

Arthur William Dickhoff was born in Glendive, Montana, on July 24, 1937, to Rudolph and Adelia (Brandner) Dickhoff. The Dickhoff and Brandner families were Germans who had settled in the Odessa area of what was then Russia and subsequently immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century. The Dickhoffs farmed in Fallon, Montana and moved to the Fairfield Bench in 1938 when Art was 9 months old. Rudolph moved his cattle and farm equipment to Fairfield by train while the family traveled in a 1928 Chevy driven by Art’s 14-year-old brother, Don. The family moved to Fairfield under a government resettlement program in which a family would receive an 80-acre parcel with a 2-bedroom house, a barn, an outhouse, and other outbuildings. There was electricity, but no running water. Art was raised in a family that lived on whatever they could raise—cattle, pigs, chickens, crops, and a huge garden.

Rudolph and Adelia came to know Jesus through the ministry of the Beardslee family who pastored the Assembly of God Church in Fairfield. Art and his six siblings grew up to know and love Jesus, and his faith was a distinguishing mark of Art’s life. After graduating from Fairfield High School in 1955, Art got a job at Great Falls National Bank as a courier. He excelled at everything he did at the bank and received promotion after promotion, working in collections, real estate loans, and eventually becoming an officer at the bank. In the early 80s he moved to Great Falls Savings and Loan (now Stockman Bank) where he served as Senior Vice President.

After leaving the Savings and Loan industry, Art transitioned to other financial sector jobs, ultimately working for Principal Financial as an agent. His wise financial guidance was a blessing to everyone who worked with him.

Art met Sharon Steele at a church picnic around the time he graduated from high school. Sharon, from Cut Bank, was a student at Columbus School of Nursing in Great Falls when they started their courtship. When Art finally popped the question, Sharon showed her grandmother the engagement ring, and Grandma quipped, “It’s a cute little thing.” Sharon broke up with Art at one point during their engagement, and when she finally received her ring back, it had a bigger diamond in it. They married in August of 1957, and they were happily married for nearly 67 years.

Russell was born in 1962, and Julie was born in 1966. They both attended Great Falls High School, and Art faithfully attended every band concert, every basketball game, every piano recital, and drove his kids around the country for various competitions. He was very proud of his kids. Grandkids started arriving in the 90s, and, if it’s possible, he was even more proud of his grandchildren than he was of his children.

Art’s life was marked by the things he loved, and his love worked itself out in the way Art chose to live his life. He loved his family. He loved to laugh. He loved to play games. He loved Great Falls, and he loved Jesus’s church.

Art loved his family. Art, Sharon, Russell, and Julie would often visit Grandma and Grandpa at the farm on Sunday afternoons, and in the summers, the family would gather at the farm for giant get-togethers where the adults would talk and laugh, and the kids would escape to the hay loft or go for a swim in the drainage ditch. Family vacations for Art’s family would usually include long detours to visit relatives in the German-Russian enclaves of Lodi, California, or the Dakotas. Art loved every minute of reconnecting with his aunts, uncles, and cousins. Art loved his brothers and sisters and doted especially attentively on Esther after her husband passed. He made great sacrifices to ensure she was well cared for. When Art’s grandson, Zeke, was old enough to begin working, Art bought a house to flip, and he hired Zeke as his construction assistant. He and Zeke formed a profound bond as he taught Zeke how to be a good employee and to develop construction skills. When Jessica and Joshua were toddlers, Art would scoop them up into his arms and sing, “You are my sunshine” to Jessie and “You are my moonbeam” to Josh. And when Nikki was adopted into our family, Art showered her with grandfatherly love as if she had been with us from birth. Family was one of Art’s great loves.

Art loved to laugh. He always had a funny story or a North Dakota joke at the ready, and his smile would light up a room. He would often dress up in silly costumes for fund-raisers or dinner socials, and he especially loved his train conductor overalls, hat, and train whistle. He loved practical jokes and goofing off, and his laugh brought joy to everyone who was around him.

He loved to play games. Russell and Julie learned to play Monopoly at an early age. It was required learning that it was 10 spaces from corner to corner and from railroad to railroad. Art loved to golf, and he and Sharon watched basketball faithfully. Their game of choice, of course, was Rook, and there was always a deck of Rook cards handy. For decades, every New Years Eve, Art and Sharon would host an all-night Rook party (after the church service that ended at midnight), and Sharon would cook French toast for everyone in the early hours of the morning. In later years, Art loved to play Ticket to Ride with his kids and grandkids, and he was never afraid to risk it all in the hopes of having the most destinations.

Art loved Great Falls. It isn’t possible to list all the organizations Art supported or served, but he always had an eye to bettering the city he loved. He served on the Chamber of Commerce and the Military Affairs Committee; he served with the Optimist club and the Montana Cancer Society; and he was president of the PTA when his kids were in grade school at Lowell Elementary. Art was especially proud of his work with the creation of Giant Springs Heritage Park, and he was passionate about the work of the Great Falls Rescue Mission, serving in volunteer roles with the mission for many years. At 86 years old, Art was still bettering his community by serving on the Tax Appeals Board, and his passing is a great loss to our entire community.

Finally, Art loved Jesus’s Church. It goes without saying that Art loved Jesus—of course he did—but what set him apart from many Christians was how devoted he was to the advancement of Jesus’s Church. Art served in various leadership capacities at Central Assembly of God for decades, and he served on various committees with the Montana Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God. Art was particularly devoted to his work with institutions of higher learning that trained pastors. He served on the board of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri for many years, leveraging his financial wisdom to ensure the long-term viability of these schools that train future pastors. He was especially proud that his kids, Russell and Julie, and his grandson, Josh, graduated from NU, and that Russell graduated from AGTS. Russell and Josh are both pastors, and without a doubt their love for the church was inherited from Art—who genuinely loved Jesus’s church.

Art went to be with the Lord on March 20, 2024, after suffering a stroke. He rallied long enough for us to communicate our love for him, and his responses indicated that he knew us, he heard us, and that he understood what we were saying to him. We will be forever grateful for those moments we were given to shower him with our love. We are also thankful that he did not suffer any longer than he did.

Art leaves behind his wife, Sharon (Steele); son, Russ Michaels (Russell Dickhoff) and his wife, Kris; daughter, Julie (Dickhoff) Trosper and her husband, Ron; grandchildren, Zeke (Kelly) Trosper, Jessica (AJ) Koenes, Joshua (Sarah) Trosper, and Nikki Michaels; six great-grandchildren; sisters, Esther Lantz and Marlene Sutton; and his brother, Richard.

Art’s Homegoing Celebration will be held at Central Assembly of God in Great Falls, Montana, on Saturday, April 13, at 11:00 am. Everyone who loved Art is invited to attend.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Art’s name to the Great Falls Rescue Mission.

Staff
Author: Staff

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  • Staff

    Our Staff account is used to publish submitted content. If you have content that was published under this account, and wish to have your name as author, please contact us at (406) 952-3021

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