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Sheriff remembers Mike Fonder

A tearful sheriff remembered Grand Forks County's chief deputy Thursday as the hardworking hub of his department. "It just seemed like everything that happened here revolved around Major Fonder," Sheriff Dan Hill said at a news conference paying ...

Dan Hill
Grand Forks County Sheriff Dan Hill is not expected to run for re-election. Herald photo by Eric Hylden.

A tearful sheriff remembered Grand Forks County's chief deputy Thursday as the hardworking hub of his department.

"It just seemed like everything that happened here revolved around Major Fonder," Sheriff Dan Hill said at a news conference paying tribute to Maj. Mike Fonder.

The 31-year veteran of the department died Wednesday at 56. Until recently, he continued to work as he battled esophageal and stomach cancer.

"This guy, he was all sheriff's department," Hill said. "I think if he could have worked 24/7, he would have."

"Whether it would be flood, fire, homicide, Mike was there to give direction to everybody that was involved in it," the sheriff said. "He was just excellent at taking care of any situation that would pop up."

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In addition to being the department's spokesman and grant writer, Fonder served on the board of the county's emergency dispatch center and started the department's reserve program and its water-rescue and K-9 units.

Hill recalled a time he visited Fonder in the hospital and found him working on his computer.

"Mike, don't you ever just quit and relax?" Hill asked him. "That just wasn't in his blood."

Hill, who started in 1991, said Fonder and others showed him how the department operated. "He was definitely my right-hand man," the sheriff said. "To fill Mike's shoes, it's going to take some doing."

A visitation is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Gregory J. Norman Funeral Chapel in Grand Forks; a vigil service is planned for 5 p.m.

A burial Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday in St. Michael's Catholic C­hurch in Grand Forks.

Related Topics: GRAND FORKS COUNTY
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