Cover photo for Michael Kemnitz's Obituary
Michael Kemnitz Profile Photo
1946 Michael 2023

Michael Kemnitz

October 12, 1946 — November 22, 2023


Michael Kemnitz, age 77, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on November 22, 2023, at his home in Mandan, ND.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, Jan. 3, at Word of Faith Church, 1503 E Divide Ave, Bismarck.

Burial will be held at 1:00 PM at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan.

Michael grew up in Steele, ND. A small town perfectly situated for honing his people skills. From an early age, he made his rounds to places like the local hardware store, the railroad depot, and John Deere Implement, where he crossed paths with colorful local folk that helped shape his young character, much to his mother’s dismay.

Michael graduated from Steele High School, class of ’64 and joined the United States Army. Stationed in Asmara, Ethiopia, he served from 1965 to 1968. Although a qualified sharpshooter, other skills were uncovered, and Mike was channeled into the Signal Corps where he operated and maintained radio equipment. There he worked with a likeminded individual, Gary Field, whose delightful friendship lasted a lifetime. 

When Michael returned from the service, he enrolled at Wahpeton State, but left after a few semesters to accept an offer he couldn’t refuse. A position at Bell Telephone, where he stayed for the next 24 years. In 1969 he married his high school sweetheart, Karen Trudeau, whom he had known since he was seven years old; she was five. They settled in the Fargo area for a time where they expanded their family with a son Christopher and a daughter Stacey. 

The family transferred to Bismarck, in 1976, where Michael finished his career at the telephone company before taking a position as General Manager of the Missouri West Water System. He remained there until his retirement in 2019. The settled nature of Karen’s temperament tamed the gypsy in Mike’s soul. They lived in the same location for 47 years where they could see the sunrise and the sunset. What more could you ask for?

Mike could talk to anyone about anything, and all conversations were laced with laughter. When he attended events in Morton, Burleigh, or Kidder Counties, he knew a good portion of the crowd. On the rare occasion that he would accompany Karen to the Mall, they would get ten feet inside the door and his name would be called. They would stand and chat for the next several minutes, before Karen could nudge him back on track. Ten feet later, same thing. She would guide him to a bench with the loving instructions, “Sit! Stay!” Then she completed the task at hand while Michael did what he did best, hob-knob.

Mike’s fondness of “making the rounds” lasted his entire life. He gathered regularly with elite groups of coffee buddies at Hardee’s, McDonald’s or Ohm’s Cafe in Mandan. Michael lived a life that did not require a vacation. 

Family was the center of Michael’s existence. He stayed in contact with his children, grandchildren and siblings, always keeping his finger on the family pulse. He enjoyed pitching in on his son-in-law’s farm in Kintyre, N.D. He ran equipment for harvest, moved trucks from field to field, mowed ditches, fixed miles of fence, tinkered with his stationary engines or his pet tractor and putzed in his garden. He was an enjoyable part of the operation and will be greatly missed.

Michael is survived by his wife of 54 years, Karen; children, Christopher and his fiancée Kathy Narum, Cheyenne, WY; Stacey (Alan) Svanes Kintyre, ND; seven grandchildren, Kayla (CJ) Long Mandan, ND, Sarah Kemnitz, Jefferson City, MT,  Ella, Levi, Gabriel, Elijah, and Isaac Svanes Kintyre, ND; two great-grandchildren, Kaiyl and Zackri Long, Mandan, ND, and siblings Karen (Larry) Lyson, Bismarck, ND; David (Paula) Kemnitz, Bismarck, ND; Bill (Marlyce) Kemnitz, Dawson, ND.

Special mention of friends who were important bright lights in Mike’s life: Gary Field, Karin Garvie, Gabi Bullinger, Suzie Rousseau, Mya Utter and Nicole Lee. His big heart held all of you!

In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation in Michael's name be made to the South Central Threshing Association, 5855 16th Ave SE, Braddock, ND, 58524.


To order memorial trees in memory of Michael Kemnitz, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)


Click to watch

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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

1:00 - 1:15 pm (Central time)

North Dakota Veteran's Cemetery

, Mandan, ND 58554

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