Dewey Charles Forsness was born Nov. 24, 1931, in Grand Forks, N.D., to Cora Lillian Haugland Rusche Forsness and Arthur Dewey Forsness. Dewey joined older siblings June and Robert Rusche and was followed by two sisters, Arlene and Shirley. In 1933 the family moved from Grand Forks, N.D., to north of Wolf Point, Mont., to work the family homestead. Dewey attended schools in Wolf Point where he was active in band (drums), school plays and football.
Dewey lost his father in a farming accident in 1945, a trauma that stayed with Dewey to the end. At the age of 15, he and his brother Bob became the men of the family, keeping the farm going.
Dewey graduated in 1949 from Wolf Point High School and attended college in Havre, Mont., to learn farm tradesmanship.
After college, Dewey returned to Wolf Point where he met the love of his life, JoAnn Lyons Russell, at a dance in Oswego, Mont., at George's place. Dewey fondly recalled dancing with JoAnn in his arms to Bonaparte's
Retreat, a moment in time indelibly etched in his memory. After a whirlwind courtship, they married on Jan. 25, 1953, in Wolf Point. A month-long “honeymoon of a lifetime” ensued.
To avoid the draft, Dewey enlisted in the Army and became part of the Signal Corps. While in the Army in Georgia, JoAnn became pregnant but it was not to be. She suffered a hydatidiform mole. Ignoring the recommendations of Army doctors to never become pregnant again, their first born Layne Arthur entered the world in 1955.
After Dewey was discharged from the Army, the couple returned to Wolf Point and added a daughter, Penny Jo, to the family in 1956. A new home on family land soon followed as did another daughter, Cindy Sue, in 1958. Longing for a second son, Dewey convinced JoAnn to give birth yet again and picked out the name “Scott Dewey” for his second boy. Instead of a second boy, Kitty Aletha arrived in 1963.
Dewey loved to farm and ranch and realizing that most of the work was on their place along the Missouri River, the couple began house hunting for a home they could move to the river bottom. They fell in love with the home James Larpenter Long (Author:
Land of Nakoda) built in Oswego, Mont., and purchased it from the Rosenbaum’s. In short order, a new foundation was poured among the trees along the river and Slatts Lowe’s moving company sat the house down in its new location. Dewey and JoAnn enjoyed many years in the timber along the Missouri, watching the growth of their organic crops, livestock and family.
Dewey's greatest loves in life were his wife, JoAnn, and her cooking; his cow dog, “Tippy;” his roan mare, “Strawberry;” trips on the river; hunting with family; winters in Arizona; and flying. Even after his plane was long gone, Dewey continued to reminisce about flying his airplane and he’d light up discussing the subject with anyone who was willing. Dewey was also fascinated by Native culture and fondly recounted stories told to him by friends Bernard Sr. and Jeannette Standing, regarding area history.
Dewey left this earth on July 18, 2022. Dewey was preceded in death by his parents, Art and Lil Forsness; his brother, Bob Rusche; and sisters, June Mcintyre Thompson, Arlene Franklin and Shirley Johnson and their spouses.
He is survived by a brother, Mike Mull of Central Point, Ore.; children, Layne Forsness of Dickinson, N.D., Penny Vossler of Boone, Iowa, Cindy Hanks and Kitty Kolden, both of Wolf Point, Mont., and numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place and, in accordance with Dewey, s wishes, no funeral services will be held. Memorials may be made to your charity of choice in Dewey’s honor.