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Michael William Baasch was born to Bill (William) and Lorraine (Zerface) Baasch on August 5, 1952. I didn’t know Mike as a kid but I imagine his childhood went as you’d expect for a boy growing up on a farm in rural Page, North Dakota. He learned about life with his hands in the dirt, doing chores, praying to God and getting into mischief with his brothers and sisters.
After he graduated from high school he was drafted into the Army. I remember a few years ago he showed me his draft letter. I couldn’t believe he still had it after all those years, but I guess something as significant as that really had an impact on him. He went on to serve in the Army for two and a half years, spending a year in Korea and the remaining time in Fort Carson, Colorado. It was not his first choice in careers, but I know he made some amazing, life-long friends and had many good times while in the Army. Like commandeering a raft to go down the river in Colorado on those hot summer days. Like all who serve, Mike is one of the reasons we’re blessed enough to live in the land of the free, because he was one of the brave.
Mike came back from his time serving, went to college, held various jobs, had his wonderful children, but life didn’t go quite the way he’d expected. I think it turned out okay for him though because on a cold winter day in January 1996 he met Nan on their first date. While their journey together wasn’t always easy; I’m sure all of us kids may have even added a few pebbles (okay maybe boulders) onto their path, they continued to journey the road together and made us all a family. Over 25 years, I got to watch their love blossom into one of the strongest I have ever seen.
While Mike held many jobs throughout the years - farming, rural water, carpentry - I think the ones he enjoyed the most were becoming a real estate agent and most certainly his time as a crop adjuster with RCIS. These both played to his greatest strength - talking and connecting with people. Mike had a knack for talking to people, he’d help them to feel at ease and always found some connection, usually about the outdoors or North Dakota or how they happened to know someone in common. Mike seemed to know someone everywhere he went, and yes, that even included an airport in Paris, France. And if he didn’t know anyone he always found the one person that had some sort of tie to North Dakota. It was a real gift.
Mike enjoyed many activities over the years and into retirement including hunting and fishing trips with his dad, brothers, uncles and cousins, being involved with the church, traveling to new places, watching NDSU Bison football, and most importantly to him, spending all the time he could with his family.
Mike passed from this world on Saturday, September 2, 2023 in Fargo, ND comforted by many who loved him. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bill & Lorraine; his brother, Terry; and many others who greeted him with open arms upon his passing. Mike is survived by his loving wife, Nan, and their beautiful children - Donita Davenport, Jared (Patricia), Kristen (Josiah) Rauser and Lucas (Ashley) Erickson. Along with 7 grandchildren, 11 nieces & nephews and so many of his beloved family & friends.
The family would like to extend a very special thank you to the volunteers of ND/MN Honor Flight, the staff at the Fargo VA and everyone at Sanford & the Roger Maris Cancer Center who supported Mike through the last journey of his life.
Please join us in remembering Mike and celebrating his life. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to ND/MN Honor Flight.
Visitation: Friday, September 15, 2023 from 9:30 AM until 10:30 AM at West Funeral Home, West Fargo, ND.
Memorial Service: Friday, September 15, 2023 at 10:30 AM at West Funeral Home, West Fargo, ND.
Committal along with Military Rites: Friday, September 15, 2023 at 1:00 pm at Fargo National Cemetery, Harwood, ND.
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center