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Erwin N. "Cactus" Warner

Mar 19, 2017 - From staff reports

Erwin N. "Cactus" Warner of Mesquite, Nevada, father of Brianna Watson of Riverton, died Monday, Feb. 27, 2017, at Sanford Health in Fargo, N.D. He was 72.

He was born Oct. 10, 1944, to Erwin and Madelyn Warner in Halstad, Minnesota. He grew up and attended Halstad High School, excelling in sports. He was known as a dynamic football, basketball and baseball player, earning several All-Conference awards and leading the Halstad Pirates to the regional tournament in 1961.

In college, at Moorhead State University, he played basketball and baseball and was captain for both teams, earning an All-Conference award in his senior year. He graduated from MSU in 1967 with degrees in physical education and business administration.

As a high school business teacher and coach in Terry, Montana, he met Kathleen Lange, the fourth-grade teacher in Terry, and the two were married June 14, 1969, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Forsyth, Montana.

He undertook graduate work at the University of Montana at Missoula and over the course of several summers earned his master of business ddministration and a master's in physical education.

He finished his tenure in Terry coaching the Terriers in three state basketball tournaments. Later, while living in Glasgow, Montana, he coached the Glasgow Scotties to a state basketball appearance.

In 1978 he went home to Halstad to run the family grocery store after the untimely death of his sister and brother-in-law. He began farming sugar beets on the North Dakota side of the river near Hillsboro. He was a board member of American Crystal Sugar Company for several years, serving as chairman in 1993.

Mr. Warner returned to coaching basketball in the fall of 1980, eventually taking the Norman County West Panthers to state tournaments in 1986, 1987 and 1997, with a championship win 1987. He retired from coaching with a 208-70 record in Halstad and more than 400 wins across his career.

He loved sports - playing and watching. He was an avid golfer, playing as much as he was able. He also loved traveling with his wife, spending time with his grandchildren, and going to Halstad to help his brother with harvest in the fall.

Cactus Warner is survived by his wife, Kathy; daughters Brianna (Daryl) Watson of Riverton and Annette (Rick) Salyer of Henderson, Nevada; son Nathan (Glenna) Warner of Mesquite, Nevada; grandchildren Derek and Shelby Watson, and Regan and Aric Salyer; brother Scott Warner of Halstad, Minnesota; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister Janice Melting; brother-in-law John A. Melting; and nephew, Jay Melting.

A memorial mass was held March 2 in Halstad. Burial was in the Halstad North Cemetery.

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