In February, the North Dakota chapter was notified that BHA member Don Magstadt had passed away after a battle with cancer, and the family wanted to set up a memorial donation to honor his memory and the places he loved.
NDBHA is extremely humbled and grateful for the generosity of the Magstadt family during this time. We would like to extend our sincerest thank you to Don, his wife Mary, and his three boys: Donnie, Christopher and Michael.
Don’s reach and impact on the people he met was obvious by the packed Bismarck Church. Photos showed Don beaming from ear to ear with his boys, his wife Mary and with friends, or posing with his latest catch or a grip and grin from the field or waters of Alaska, the mountains of Colorado and the Badlands of North Dakota. His wife Mary said with a smile and a half a laugh that she found it incredibly difficult to find any photo of Don that didn’t have a dead animal or fish in it. She reminisced about Don coming home from a day of fishing and insisting the importance of getting a picture with his fish even though they looked just the same as the catch from the week before.
As I looked at pictures of Don, I could hear his friends and relatives telling hunting stories and reminiscing about a past fishing trip, pointing at photos they were proud to be in or ones they had the honor of taking. Laughter and sweet memories filled the lobby; this was truly a celebration of life.
During the ceremony, a story was told about a successful Colorado elk hunt and how Don would later go on to seemingly build an entire house around that single elk shoulder mount. Proudly displayed for anyone that walked into his home, a hunting story would surely follow.
After the ceremony I had a chance to talk to his boys and hear more about him. I didn’t know Don personally, but attending his memorial service reminded me of just how important the outdoors is to us all. We build our lives around the outdoors, save our money and vacation time to enjoy them and raise our children in them. We go to them for solace, for adventure and for rejuvenation. It is apparent to me that Don felt the same way and didn’t take any of it for granted.
Don truly belonged in the BHA family. A man who loved to hunt and fish and be outside with his family and friends making memories. NDBHA would like to thank you, Don. We thank you for your passion and love of the outdoors. I thank you for reminding me just how important and impactful time spent afield can be over the course of a lifetime – the pillar it can be in our lives. May you rest in peace in an eternal hunting camp and your memory live on for generations. Here’s to you, Don.