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Craig Lewis Spilde, 73

Craig Lewis Spilde, 73, of Karlstad, Minn., passed away peacefully at Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center, in Hallock, Minn., on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024.
Craig was born on Aug. 15, 1950, in Hallock, the first child born to Jay and Leatrice (Oien) Spilde. Craig and younger siblings Stuart and Taryn grew up in Karlstad above Jay’s Barber Shop on Main Street. Craig graduated from Karlstad High School with the Class of 1968, and during his school years was active in basketball, baseball and golf.
Craig met Judi (Engelstad) Spilde a few years after graduation, and on Sept. 3, 1973, they were united in marriage in Bemidji, Minn. Craig and Judi were blessed with a son, Corey, and a daughter, Elisabeth.
Craig grew up within city limits, but time spent with his father fishing, hunting and chopping wood, along with hours spent at his Uncle Glen’s farm, fostered a love and respect for the peace and tranquility of nature from a young age. In 1986, Craig and Judi were able to purchase their dream house and property, several miles outside of Karlstad. Craig made ATV trails for his children to explore and kept a canoe next to the pond for anyone who wanted to take a turn, often with him as their guide. Craig was a skilled gardener and could often be found seated in a solitary chair next to his large garden, quietly surveying the fruits of his labor. Craig and Judi turned their house into a home where everyone was welcome, hosting countless holidays, dinners and coffee visits, always enjoying a full house of family and friends. True to his Norwegian heritage, Craig was especially fond of any gathering that included a side of lutefisk.
Craig enjoyed additional opportunities to work outside, plan and execute construction projects, and hunt wildlife when he purchased land north of Karlstad in 1991. He, with help from friends and family, built a hunting cabin where meals, stories and laughs have been shared with his dad, Jay, his son, Corey, the Turns, the Kolands, and in later years, his grandson, Caden. Craig especially enjoyed working at the cabin with his godson Nate Koland, who was always there when he needed him and somehow always met Craig’s high standards. Craig was happiest at the cabin, and it will remain a place for his loved ones to gather and remember him, his hard work, and his love of the great oudoors.
Craig had many interests and hobbies throughout his lifetime, including golfing, playing cards, a good Scrabble game with Taryn and Judi, camping in Warroad with friends and family, fishing, hunting, collecting glassware, watching the Minnesota Twins, and coffee with the Karlstad Korner crew.
Craig held many titles throughout his life, but Dad and Grandpa were the most important to him. He was the leader of the family, always available for help and advice. He loved playing dice, bingo and cards with his grandkids, and introduced them to the simple pleasures in life that he so deeply enjoyed.
Craig was a proud son of Kittson County and devoted most of his adult life to serving the people who live there. Craig’s public service began as a city of Karlstad police officer, later moving to the Kittson County Sheriff’s Office as a patrol deputy, retiring in April 2004 as Kittson County chief deputy sheriff after serving 30 years in law enforcement. A few months after retirement from law enforcement, Craig ran for Kittson County commissioner, was elected and was sworn in January of 2005. Craig served three terms representing the Karlstad area, retiring in January of 2017. Craig’s lifetime of public service is an inspiration to his children and grandchildren. Craig’s hard work and quiet determination to serve, protect and advocate for Kittson County is his legacy.
Left to mourn Craig’s passing are: his son and daughter-in-law, Corey and Shanon Spilde, Wheaton, Minn.; daughter and son-in-law Elisabeth Spilde and Mike Rowe, Maple Lake, Minn.; grandchildren Caden Jay Spilde, Fargo, N.D., Reagan Spilde, Wheaton, Avery Rowe, Ainsley Rowe and Grayson Rowe, Maple Lake; sister, Taryn Landowski, Drayton, N.D.; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Ed and Linda Turn, Thief River Falls, Minn.; aunt, Nona Wennersten, Grand Forks, N.D.; uncle, Perry Oien, Karlstad; nephews, Scott (Christie) Turn, Bemidji, and Jeff (Lisa) Turn, East Grand Forks, Minn.; nieces, Jessi Saylor and Kayla (Mike) Sekenski, Grand Forks, and Becka Landowski, Providence, R.I.; bonus grandson, Evan Saylor, Grand Forks; special friends, Wayne and Susie Koland, Thief River Falls; treasured godson, Nate (Jordan) Koland, Viking, Minn.; as well as many cousins, great-nieces and nephews, cherished friends, and former law enforcement partners.
Craig was preceded in death by: his wife of 46 years, Judi Spilde; his parents; brother, Stuart Spilde; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Bunty and Lorene Engelstad; brother-in-law, Tom Landowski, and several aunts and uncles.
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, at 11 a.m. in First Lutheran Church, Karlstad. Visitation will be held at the church on Thursday, Jan. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Interment will be in the Eidsvold Cemetery next spring.
Austin Funeral Chapel, Hallock, was in charge of the arrangements. www.

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