Kevin A. Sprung died Monday, April 12, 2021 without a lot of fuss. No panic. No drama. No drawn-out goodbyes. No water wasted on tears. He waited until no one was looking and left quietly. Just the way he wanted it.
He was 53.
His last name may have been German, but Kevin was an Irishman to the bone, the marrow and his shamrock-shaped DNA.
Irish history. Irish culture. Irish politics. Irish whiskey. He drank them in with gusto – and was intoxicated by them all.
He was drawn to the Emerald Isle where his grandmother was born. Something from that land called out to him and he couldn’t help but answer. He visited Ireland several times to honor and be immersed in that heritage.
Like all Irishmen, he was a philosopher and poet at heart who loved a phrase well-turned and a story well-told over a pint well-pulled. A pub was his natural habitat.
Even as a child, he spent weekends with his grandfather playing cards and swapping lies in a bar where no one seemed to mind that he was only 10 years old. “A whiskey for me and a beer for the boy,” his grandpa would call to the bartender as they slid into their usual booth.
Kevin’s body was embroidered with ornate Celtic tattoos, symbols of courage, faith, family, and fidelity that inspired him and reflected his values. His wedding ring, engraved in an ancient Celtic script that matched a tattoo on his wife Tifini’s forearm, simply said “Always”, a reminder to himself to be a devoted husband; a loving, supportive, and reassuring father; a nurturing and doting grandfather; and a steadfast friend.
He was insatiably curious about the world, its places, and its people. “You have to travel,” he frequently told his daughters. “Go beyond what you know, beyond what’s comfortable. It teaches you. It feeds your soul.” He saw to that nourishment by taking each to countries of their choosing. The first question he asked Tifini, who would later become his wife, was “Do you have a passport? Because you’re going to need one.”
Kevin loved people. He made friends easily and kept them long. He had a special affection and respect for those that others ignored. Immigrants who worked for and with him were always welcome at his home, around his table and in his life. He had many Kurdish, Bosnian and Somali people who adopted him as family.
He was quiet. Contemplative. Thought a lot. Knew a lot. He was a walking encyclopedia. He read constantly. He considered any crossword puzzle a personal challenge. He did them in pen because pencils were for wussies and the unsure. Make a decision. No erasing. He never left a crossword undone.
He was a firm believer in minding his own business. He didn’t offer his opinion or advice unless you asked. But if you asked, he told you the truth, even if you didn’t want to hear it. He figured he owed you that.
Kevin had an irreverent and dark sense of humor, especially in the face of adversity. Even as his health declined, he could joke about himself, his sickness about dying. He was more than fun. He was an unashamed weirdo who could laugh at anything.
He never wore it on his sleeve, but Kevin was a man of faith. He was grounded in his own beliefs but never felt they were the only truth. He taught his daughters that there was more than one path to God and whichever they chose wasn’t as important as the journey. Find your faith and keep it, even when things feel impossible or hopeless. Maybe that’s why he was such a diehard Vikings fan. The ultimate act of faith was buying season tickets and NEVER missing a game. SKOL.
Kevin kept his emotions to himself. He was not a hugger or a kisser or a snuggler. He was more of a secret handshake guy. A give you a wink guy. An inside joke guy. He was never outwardly sentimental … until he became a grandfather. His grandsons, Keegan and Finn, transformed him into a very soft and gooey man. They gave him a renewed sense of joy and purpose in life.
In early 2019, Kevin was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was hospitalized many times in grave condition. He faced his illness with courage and humor.
He leaves behind a family that will love him and miss him.
Kevin is survived by his wife, Tifini Sprung, West Fargo; daughters, Alexandra Sprung-Banu (Shakir), Fargo; Miranda Sprung, Detroit Lakes; Cassandra Sprung, Fargo; stepson Brayden Seedorf, Wahpeton, N.D.; step daughter Aubrey Seedorf, Fergus Falls; stepson Garrett Heard, West Fargo; grandsons, Keegan Sprung and Finley Linder; sisters, Melissa Prochnow (Rick), Hankinson, N.D.; Erin Fettig (Jim), Cottage Grove, MN; brothers, William Sprung (Judi), Willmar, MN; and Christopher Sprung (DeAnne Hilgers), North Oaks, MN; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Jean Sprung; brother, Michael Sprung, and nephew Nicholas Helgeson.
A service to celebrate Kevin’s life will be Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 2 PM at West Funeral Home Chapel, West Fargo with visitation one hour prior.
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center
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