David J. Heimdahl, 64, died from a sudden illness on June 24, 2013. He was born in Havre, Mont., to Finn and Alice Heimdahl. The family moved to St. Louis Park, Minn., in 1952. David graduated from St. Louis Park High School in 1967 and received his bachelor's degree in business from Moorhead State University in 1971.
After graduating college, David found his true passion working with young people as youth director and director of camp cormorant of the YMCA in Fargo, N.D. While on the job, he had a car accident that would change his life forever.
At age 24, David suffered a severe traumatic brain injury when his car was struck by a drunken driver. After years of rehab and recovery, David not only survived, but thrived. He was known for his iron will to overcome, a mean racquetball game, his kindness, his love of music, especially “oldies,” and his robust (and sick) sense of humor. Sometime after his accident, the family was concerned about his happiness, and sister Merry asked him if there was anything we could do to help him. His response, "Now, Merry, you have to understand that I was in a very serious accident. Each morning when I get up, I thank God that I have one more day." Classic David. David’s perseverance became an inspiration to many people, and his life can only be described as miraculous. His family and friends will miss this sweet, funny man dearly.
David was preceded in death by his parents, Finn T. and Alice Lien Heimdahl; nephew, Matthew Finn Andersen; and David’s faithful, loving dog, Smokey.
David is survived by his siblings, Shelley (Gary) Grant of Havre; Annie Heimdahl, Alexandria, Minn.; Merry McIntyre, Los Alamos, N.M.; Lori (Robert) Heimdahl Gibson, Los Alamos, and Peter L. Heimdahl, Los Alamos; seven nephews; five nieces; seven grand-nephews; five grand-nieces; and one great-grand-nephew.
A very special thanks to sister; Annie, who lived with and cared for David in the last few years, and to Annie's daughter Traci Harding, who has earned her angel wings in this lifetime. We were fortunate to have David as long as we did but, of course, it wasn't long enough.
The extended Heimdahl family would like to express heartfelt gratitude for the outstanding support and love shown at this time of profound loss and sadness. A memorial service for David will be held in the near future in Fargo.
Memorials can be sent to any YMCA, not only because of the great work Y’s do, but because the YMCA in Fargo was David’s “second home” for decades after his accident.