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I was bummed to find out today, Arctic Cat legend, Dean Lawrenz, has passed away. Dean was an integral part of the Service and Technical training department at Arctic Cat for more than 40 years. Like others who had worked with Dean will tell you, it was always a pleasure to talk with him. His demeanor was always pleasant and helpful, and if you ever had a question, he would always get you an answer. If you’d like to know more about Dean’s history with Arctic Cat, CLICK HERE FOR A GREAT INTERVIEW FROM 2012. I’ve said this before about other Arctic Cat employees I’ve worked with, I’m thankful our paths crossed in life. Dean was someone I truly admired and respected. My thoughts and prayers go out to Dean’s family and friends. -Kale


May 28, 1941 – November 5, 2023

Dean (Deano) Lawrenz, age 82, of Thief River Falls passed away on Sunday, November 5, 2023.

Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls with Reverend Kristin Ostercamp officiating.  Visitation will be one hour prior to service.  Burial will be held at a later date at Valle Cemetery rural Trail, MN.  Immediately following the service, please join the family for a celebration of Deans life at the American legion Post in Thief River Falls.  

Dean was born on May 28, 1941 to Adolph & Alma Lawrenz.  He grew up on a farm outside of Walnut Grove, MN with his siblings: Shirley, Ardyce, Charlene and Arlynn.  Dean attended Walnut Grove HS where he played the sports that he loved – basketball & track.  He married the love of his life on July 1, 1961, Janice (Jani) Schwahn.  

They began their family in Walnut Grove, MN.  He was a licensed mechanic and worked on small aircraft.  Daughter Christine was born in 1962 and Kim followed in 1965, then the real fun began.  In 1969 they relocated to Thief River Falls and Dean was hired by Shorty Long where he was a mechanic working on snowmobiles and shortly after that began his career at Arctic Cat Enterprises.  He put his heart and soul into his 40-year career.   He was extremely dedicated to the company where he had the opportunity to travel the world while teaching service schools.  When you do something that you love, a job is never work and he truly loved his profession and the people in it.

Dean had many hobbies, he played fast pitch softball for Schmidt for many years as the pitcher.  He loved the outdoors and spent 100’s of hours in his boat on Clearwater Lake where he and his family built a cabin.  This was a great gathering place for family and friends, where many good memories were made.

Dean and Jan were co-owners of the Lantern Restaurant & Lounge with their friends Don & Connie Omdahl for 23 years.  The friends, stories and memories from the Lantern are too numerous to cover, but it was a very memorable time for all.  

In his retirement, he loved spending time with Jani, his girls, grandkids and friends.  He loved attending his grandkids sporting events.  He was an avid walker and loved waving to everyone he met, but he didn’t like to be lapped or passed.  

Dean is survived by his wife Jan, daughters Chris (Joe) Wavra, Kim (Rory) Nordheim, grandchildren – Kyle (Chelsey) Vettleson, Jordon (Anthony) VonRuden, Hannah (Brett) Gerardy and Chelsea (Alain) Moeller.  There are 7 great grandkids – Olivia, Graham, Will, Lincoln, Sawyer, Jett, and Maizie.   Siblings – Ardyce Strand, Charlene Satter, Arlynn (Marcy) Lawrenz.  Sister in laws – Myra Dallmann, Ellen Gunderson and many nieces & nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Shirley Radel, sister-in-law Milly Dallmann, and son-in-law Kevin Vettleson.  

The family wishes to acknowledge the Hillcrest Nursing Home for the care & compassion shown to Dean in his final days.  We are also very grateful to Hospice of the Red River Valley for their care and support.  



  1. So sad to hear this… I was fortunate enough to work with Dean for 15 years while I was running a Cat dealership in Washington. Him and Ward Brink and Greg Harris were such a great support system. It was a joy to work with Dean and the guys in service. My prayers go out to his family RIP Dean ! You will be missed by us all that got the opportunity to cross your path..

  2. There will never be another Dean. I was fortunate enough to have learned a ton of stuff from him about service parts and customer service down here at the Bucyrus Distribution Center. When I had questions Dean was my go to guy. I have missed him since he retired and now I will miss him a little more.

  3. I met Dean just a couple times years ago , but it did not take much time with him to see what a genuine and great person he was. RIP and prayers for his family

  4. sorry for his passing Imet dean at the factory and worked with him 20 yeaers+ I was service manger
    fora/c dealersuip in connecticut RIP


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