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Flood battle claims life

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Neighbor Dave Anderson, left, and family member Jocie Nelson filled sandbags Thursday to help protect the home of Quentin Goehring who died Wednesday while sandbagging his Oakport home.2 / 3
Volunteers Mike Miller, left, and Paul Tronsgard answered a radio call for volunteers Thursday at the home of in Quentin Goehring who died Wednesday while sandbagging his Oakport home.3 / 3

OAKPORT, Minn. - Volunteers filled and stacked sandbags at the Goehring family farm here Thursday, but it was chaotic without Quentin Goehring - a former Brandon resident - manning the operation.

The 73-year-old described by his family as a workaholic died last Wednesday night after sandbagging for 14 hours to protect the 70-acre ranch.

Son Karl Goehring said Quentin collapsed around 8 p.m. near the sand pile as the family was about to take a break. He died of a heart attack.

Quentin Goehring and his wife, Caryl, moved their family to Brandon in 1966 where he managed a fertilizer plant. He was promoted to general manager of Brandon Ag Service in 1980. He moved out of the area a few years later and managed other grain elevators.

On Thursday, more than 50 friends, family and strangers answered a call for volunteers to finish the sandbagging so the Goehrings can deal with funeral arrangements.

Family members said the volunteer turnout would have made Quentin proud.

"He would be happy," said Karl, who also lives at the acreage with his wife, Julie. "But he would be shoulder to shoulder with all the kids. He wouldn't be sitting and watching. He'd be right in the mix."

Although the Goehring family is active, with many current and former military members, Quentin could outwork them all, relatives said.

"For being 73, he'd be out here doing jump shots with the kids," Karl said.

Quentin did 70 percent of the work to maintain the ranch, his son said.

People often compared the massive lawn to a national park thanks to Quentin's meticulous care for the grass and flowers, Julie said.

Quentin, who spent at least 40 years managing grain elevators in North Dakota, Minnesota and Montana, didn't completely retire until last year. He continued to help the Chaffee Lynchburg elevator in North Dakota in the spring and fall.

"They loved him," Julie said. "They kept calling him back."

He quickly filled those hours by starting a vegetable garden.

"Nobody could match his work ethic," Julie said.

When he wasn't working outdoors, Quentin was an avid sports fan.

"He was one of the few people that was a Sioux and Bison fan," Karl said.

Quentin and Caryl would have celebrated 50 years of marriage in September.

Quentin is also survived by three children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Many of those relatives were there Thursday filling and stacking sandbags. But they missed Quentin's leadership.

"It's less organized without Quentin, that's for sure," said Alicia Goehring, who is married to his grandson Seth.

Mike Miller of Fargo was among the volunteers who didn't know the family but heard about the need for help.

"It's good to see people turning out to help," Miller said.

Jeff Schaumann, chairman of the township of about 1,800 residents north of Moorhead, said the community is coming together to help out the Goehring family.

"It's certainly difficult enough to lose a loved one, but also to have to continue on and protect your home," Schaumann said.