Douglas Arthur Conger, 77, Frazee, MN, passed away on Friday, August 16th, 2019 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.
Doug was born at home February 28, 1942 to Clifford and Violet (Urbach) Conger in Hobart Township, rural Frazee. Throughout his youth, Doug trapped gophers and other wildlife to sell the animal pelts (which also put dinner on the table). He also dug fence post holes and did other odd jobs for income. By the age of 17, he had the $250 needed to purchase the 67 acres of property that adjoined his parent’s land. To legally own property he had to be 21, so he gave the money to his father for the purchase. When the time came to transfer the property into Doug’s name, they put a purchase price of $1 on the deed, which he kept his whole life.
To homestead the land, he made a deal with a man in Menahga, MN to clear pine trees in exchange to keep the logs for himself. He brought the logs back to his homestead and used a draw knife to strip the bark by hand. The logs were used to build his 3-bedroom house on the property. He also built Conger’s Greenhouse, a commercial greenhouse on his land to sell plants.
He started his excavating business as the sole owner/operator of Conger Earthmoving and Landclearing. He began by hauling gravel, which he sold for driveways and road grading. He purchased a 2-ton Caterpillar and used it to drag trees, and then hauled them with a trailer to Menahga Fence Company to be used for fence lath. He purchased larger and more expensive equipment in succession, going bigger and better with each acquisition.
In 1980, he constructed the residential housing subdivision in Detroit Lakes by the middle school, around Laura Ave. He rebuilt township roads, including the road on the South side of Lake Ida, Kerbs Lake road by Little MacDonald Lake up to Highway 34, and several others. In 1985, he helped build the Forest Hills Golf Course, west of Detroit Lakes.
Due to the nature of his business, he quickly became a skilled welder. Working with heavy machinery, he would know right away if a weld wouldn’t hold. His welds would look like the metal had grown together, like a surgical scar. He made a gear case for a tractor look like new. He would use bits and pieces of scrap iron to make something new and useful.
When Doug retired his business after 46 years, he sold firewood and did other odd jobs to maintain an income, until his Alzheimer’s progressed.
Doug was goofy and playful his whole life. He would do anything to make you smile, even if it was just a smile or goofy face from himself. He also had the gift of gab. Just a simple trip to the grocery store, you could bet at least 20 minutes was spent talking in the parking lot.
Doug was preceded in death by his wife Barbara Conger; his parents Clifford and Violet Conger; sister Gwen Stengl; and brother Ronald “Ron” Conger.
Doug is survived by his five children and nine grandchildren Laura (Steve) Mootz (Aubrey, Evelyn) of Fargo, ND, Wayne Conger (Rowan, Joseph, McCayle) of Moorhead, MN, Melissa (Brad) Weatherhead (Anna, Abel) of Perham, MN, Amanda (Josiah) Johnson (Everly) of Wadena, MN, and Aaron (Hilary) Conger (Odette) of Vining, MN; his sister Mary Flath of New York Mills, MN; as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Visitation will be 1:00-2:00 p.m. followed by the memorial service at 2:00 on Saturday, August 24, 2019 at Schoeneberger Funeral & Cremation Service in Perham, MN. Pastor Jared Nies will officiate. Burial will be in St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery in Perham.
Schoeneberger Funeral & Cremation Service, Perham, MN (218) 346-5175 www.schoenebergerfh.com