David Allen Niskanen passed away due to complications from Covid-19 on December 11, 2020, at St. Joesph’s Hospital in Brainerd, MN. He was born in the same hospital on October 28, 1937, to August and Anna Niskanen, of Pequot Lakes, MN.
David grew up on his parents’ dairy farm three miles west of Pequot Lakes, with older brothers Jack and Ted, and younger brother, Tom. He graduated Pequot Lakes High School in 1955, with people who remained lifelong friends. After high school he enlisted in the Army Corps of Engineers and was stationed in Whittier, Alaska, which sparked a lifelong love of the state. After the army, he worked as a draftsman, a surveyor and joined his father in running the family dairy farm, eventually taking over and expanding it. In 1969 he married Annette Pederson, a schoolteacher from Fertile, MN, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Brainerd, MN. They moved into a house he built down the road from the family farm with a beagle, Pups and welcomed daughter Sarah in 1977.
David and Annette sold the cow herd at the turn of the 21st century. This shift gave them a chance to follow David’s sense of adventure, taking them around the United States, Alaska, Canada and every Minnesota state park, with their beagle, Buddy. David remained active by taking care of the farm, serving in the Pequot Lakes American Legion Color Guard, catching up on his reading, collecting coins and building model ships. He was known for being a dependable neighbor, an independent individual and one of the toughest people around. Underneath his stubborn and gruff exterior was a kind heart and generous soul, who was a devoted husband to Annette and a doting father to Sarah, always making sure her car was running well, like any good Midwestern father would.
David was preceded in death by his parents, August and Anna Niskanen, his brothers Jack, Harold and Ted, his nieces Judy Hovey and Lynn Niskanen, along with several cousins and friends. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Annette, his daughter, Sarah, his brother, Tom, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews. A memorial service will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes on January 5, 2021; unfortunately, due to the pandemic it will only be open to family. However, his remains will be interred at a later date, this summer, at Pequot Lakes Cemetery, among family, neighbors and friends.