Richard H. “Dick” Alger, 89, of Austin went to heaven at Methodist Hospital in Rochester on Tuesday evening, Jan. 25, 2022, after a 17-month battle with cancer.
Dick was born on February 24, 1932, to Floyd Erwin and Rachel Clare (Hanson) Alger in Bemidji, Minnesota. He spent his childhood in several small towns including Mason City, IA, Sauk Center, MN and Washburn, ND. The family eventually settled in Bismarck, ND, which Dick will always proudly claim as his hometown. He spent many hours hunting pheasant and other game on the North Dakota prairie with his father. He combined his love of music and his need to fund his education by performing in several dance groups beginning in his sophomore year in high school with the Li’l Acorns along with good friends Bob Brown, Art Wanke and Oscar Will. Dick graduated in 1950 from Bismarck High School as class president and a member of the North Dakota State High School Championship football team in 1949. He graduated from Bismarck Junior College where he served as president of the University of North Dakota Student and Business School Association.
After college, Dick served his country as a sergeant and member of the 8th Army Band stationed in Korea. While in Korea, he formed the dance group “Bombers” which played at officers’ clubs on Fridays and broadcast on Armed Forces Radio on Saturdays. After returning to the United States, he took a job in Minneapolis as a salesman with McKesson and Robbins Pharmaceuticals. His first sales territory after training took him to Austin where he met his “Sunshine” Bernice “Bernie” Brown. The farmer’s daughter and the traveling salesman were married on June 25, 1960, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Rose Creek. They continued to move with his career to Marshall, MN, Edina, MN and Madison, WI. Wanting to put down roots for his family, he moved back to Austin and began his 30-year career as a hardware dealer.
He was the ever devoted husband and father, but with everything else in life he was always looking for the next big thing. Dick’s business started as Coast-to-Coast and over the years has been Hank Hardware, True Value and finally Alger Ace Hardware. He has belonged to many organizations over the years, including the Chamber of Commerce, Lions and Rotary. Dick has performed in many local dance groups, Austin Symphony and Miss Minnesota Orchestras. Besides his family and his music, his greatest passion was his vehicles. Her mother noted in her baby book that her first word was “car”. Bernie always said she never knew if it was a business coming down the aisle or just Dick with his latest car trade. He proudly earned his pilot’s license and enjoyed flying in his younger years. Dick also loved his RVs, boats and motorcycles, especially Harley Davidson. He and Bernie went to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for many years after becoming empty nests. He enjoyed his fishing trips to Canada with his son and other friends. Dick was a loyal Viking fan who tracked all scouting reports, trips to watch Mankato’s training camp, and watched every game. As the store was open on Sundays, he recorded the matches and hoped that a customer would not tell him the result before he could watch. Dick loved his morning coffee at Kenny’s Oak Grill. His friends and staff were his second family. The highlight of his week was Saturday night watching Lawrence Welk with a cocktail and his family.
Dick will always be remembered for his sense of humor, big smile and warm eyes.
Dick is predeceased by his parents, Floyd and Clare Alger; brother, David Alger.
Survivors include his wife, Bernie, Austin, MN; daughter, Caroline Marie (James) Just, New Hope, MN; son, Jay Richard (Colette) Algiers, Lakeville, MN; grandchildren, Logan Jay, Landon Carl and Riley Clare Alger, Lakeville, MN; sister, Marion Volk, Huntington Beach, CA.
A funeral mass and interment will be held in the spring when motorcycles can accompany him from the church to his final resting place.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be made to the Hormel Institute for Cancer Research in Dick’s honor.
Condolences can be left online at www.mayerfh.com