David Crothers


David J. Crothers, 66, of Bismarck passed away on April 22, 2022, in Fargo.  A private burial service will take place in Elgin, ND, followed by gathering of friends from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, 2022, at the Bismarck Funeral Home, 3723 Lockport Street, Bismarck.

David was born in Dixon, IL to Donald and Marion Crothers. He grew up in West Fargo, American Samoa and Albuquerque.  He was a fourth generation North Dakotan. David received his undergraduate and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and worked in some form of governmental affairs his entire adult life.

David is survived by daughter Riley Crothers (Grand Forks) and her siblings Ryan, Daniel and Caitlin, mother Marion Crothers (Bismarck), brother Daniel Crothers (Bismarck), nephew Taylor & Emily Crothers (Grand Forks), niece Danielle (Fargo), cousin Dawn Jackson & Neva Paulson (Bonita Springs, FL), cousin, Lance and Carmen Jackson (Glenwood, IA), and numerous treasured friends, most specially Pam Mohl. David was preceded him in death by his father, Don.

While a person’s work life may tend to define them, David was happiest when at his Lake Melissa Lake home with Riley and their family and friends, or on a golf course anywhere tee stands and greens could be found. David also had a passion for his farm and ranch land south of Elgin, ND, which was previously owned and cared for by his mother and aunt, grandparents, and great-grand parents. It was there that David and Don oversaw planting more than 10,000 trees and shrubs, placing considerable acres in the Conservation Reserve Program, and annually cultivating animal food plots.

Since December of 1988, David was the chief executive officer of the statewide telecommunications association now called The Broadband Association of North Dakota, previously known as the North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives. There he represented the interests of independent telephone companies before the United States Congress, the North Dakota legislature, the executive branch, regulatory bodies, state and federal regulatory commissions, and the media.

David testified before houses of Congress on behalf of the independent telecommunications industry.  David was nationally recognized for his knowledge of the industry and the ability to convey the impact of specific issues affecting independent telephone companies, their employees, and subscribers.  He regularly spoke to audiences of state, regional and national telecommunications associations throughout the United States on industry issues such as universal service funding, spectrum management and taxation policy. He was an advocate before state and multi-state groups seeking to establish effective political action committees and expand their government affairs and public policy initiatives.

From February 1987 to December 1988, David was the Confidential Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, Office of Government and Public Affairs at the United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. He was appointed to that position by President Ronald Reagan to be a liaison between the Department of Agriculture and the nation’s Governors, state departments of agriculture, state legislators, county officials and the associations that represent them. He represented the USDA on agricultural issues of concern to bipartisan state leaders, authored the USDA’s Office of Governmental and Public Affairs weekly report to the White House, wrote briefing papers for the Administration on agricultural issues in the states, and apprised the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs on developing agricultural issues and analyzed them for impact on USDA policies.

Before joining the USDA, David worked for United States Senator Mark Andrews, in Washington, D.C. and Fargo. There he served as a legislative assistant to Senator Andrews in Washington, D.C. and returned to North Dakota as the director of the Senator’s statewide offices.

David’s family profoundly appreciates the outpouring of support to them and David. It has been a true testament to a life well lived and a man deeply loved.


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David was one of the most caring kind sweet gentlemen I was privileged to know from golf tournaments. He was full of smiles and compliments and will be missed.

I first met David over 30 years ago. He was a true friend for many years. Always smiling! Rest In Peace♥️

I first met David as a new board member for Red River Communications over 10 years ago at an NDTCA meeting, knowing less than nothing about him or what i had gotten myself into. He talked with me and respected me like someone he had worked with for years. I had no idea that eventually I would work with him as a BAND board member and call him a friend. He was a great asset to his state and especially the telecommunications/broadband industry. Whenever we would chat, especially over the phone, he always asked how things were going with my farm but i am convinced it was a way for him to start talking about tractors, his farm, planting trees and taking care of it all. A place i know he loved.

The loss of him will be felt far and wide. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

David helped bring the benefit of modern communication to families throughout the state, what a blessing. He might be checking be checking the quality of fiber optics in heaven right now! Senator Tim Mathern

Dave was a true friend and great person. Working with him was a great pleasure in my life. His friendship is something that will never be forgotten and ever appreciated. RIP my friend.

David was an amazing person, a leader in the telecommunications movement
and was a public relations expert with all types of people.

David was always a pleasure to be around and I loved his sense of humor and dry wit. His passion for the outdoors in Elgin and love of golf were always present. Had the pleasure to spend some holidays with he and his family and found those times quite enjoyable.

David was a giant in the world of rural Telecommunicaitons. He will be missed greatly by his friends and colleagues, including myself.

RIP, old friend.

I was a good friend of David’s when he lived in West Fargo. Spent many days at his house playing anything that had to do with sports. I remember making rafts with him at their lake Sallie cabin and floating in the Chanel to lake Melissa. His Dad and Mom where both so kind to me and patient with two boys that where always on an adventure.
Rest In Peace my friend, your family can be very proud of your accomplishments

David was always such a friendly and professional person. I really enjoyed all the time we spent working on broadband issues. His “speeches” at the annual meetings were iconic! We’ll all miss a great friend.

David was a true North Dakota friend (all weather!) … we discovered our shared passions for international politics, trivial pursuit and Fighting Sioux hockey after running into one another as freshmen in the basement of the Journalism department … in front of David’s favorite hangout – the teletype machines! He was always seemed to be in a good mood (even when battling cancer) … no matter how much time passed between meetings David would pick up the conversation as if we had just spoken the day before … so special!!! I will miss you friend!

David will be missed. He took the time to visit not just about politics but golf where was a good restaurant ha. When it came to a communication issues David was one to talk to.. I am thankful to have known him.

David was a gentlemen. I always enjoyed conversations shared with him whether discussing broadband or just visiting casually. I am saddened to hear of his passing. His expertise and presence will be missed at the capital. May your sadness be relieved by wonderful tender memories.

David, the definition of a true gentleman, caring , sincere, and true. Trustworthy. A smile and kind word always spoken. Rest In Peace my friend.

David was a great guy. I always enjoyed running into him. I first met him when I served in the legislature. He will be missed.

My sincere sympathies to David’s daughter, Marion, Dan and family…..many good memories over the years with the Crothers family! Peace to you all, Cate Uglem Pladson

I was fortunate to know David professionally since 1992 and personally as his next-door neighbor since 1998. During our many driveway conversations – with him sitting in his “mobile” office (Chevy Suburban) with a large cup of iced-down Diet Coke and a lit cigarette – I always found him to be smart and insightful, with an equally clever sense of humor. Most importantly, he was uncommonly thoughtful. From the bouquet of flowers when we first moved in, to a beautifully embroidered collar for our first dog, to the annual box of Chippers at Christmas, it’s no surprise he found favor among the many politicians, lobbyists, and friends who were blessed with his presence over the years. He was a true gentleman.

Dear Crothers family… I got to know David through my dental office in Jamestown. What a FUN laugh he had!! I enjoyed our visits when he came to see me. My many heartfelt prayers of comfort for each of you. The ”empty chair” will be as such, but knowing the memories David left, let them fill your hearts.

Riley and family — My sincere condolences on the loss of your wonderful Father. David was one of the most sincere men both my husband Tony & I have had the pleasure of knowing for 30 years. He had genuine kind words for me after Tony’s death 3 years ago. I was amazed at his ability to retain faces & names of his numerous constituents even after a casual meeting. David was well respected in his Role on ND Association of Rural Telephone Coop. We were fortunate to include social venues with him as we shared yourself and your classmate, our granddaughter Paige Keller thru grade school & then HS at Centennial. We consistently talked about our ‘Kids”. Our final time together was a quick passing at your graduation. David will be well remembered by many.

As known by everyone who came in contact with him, David was, simply put, a gentlemen. I am thankful for knowing David, and cherish the memories. I will always smile when I think of David’s Diet Coke spilling in my shoes while we road in a golf cart; David buying and reading multiple newspapers on golf trips; David giving Travis Dunn yardage in meters vs. yards because Travis is from Canada and therefore on the metric system; and, as we teed off before the 9th hole at the DL Country Club David yelling “diet coke hole”, which meant whoever had the highest score on that hole [me] had to buy David a Diet Coke. Rest in peace my friend.

David was a wonderful, kind, soft spoken man. A true gentleman. Our paths didn’t cross nearly often enough but I will always look back fondly at the times that they did. My best to the Crothers family. I will take you up on the request to plant a tree in David’s honor. I have the perfect spot in our clearing on Fish Lake Road.

So sad to hear David passed. He had a great sense of humor. and an infectious laugh. Enjoyed knowing him and working with him. May he Rest In Peace.

David was a valued member of the Detroit Lakes golfing community and participant in the popular Pine to Palm tournament every August. He was always interested in the operations of Detroit Country Club, both in course conditions and services/experiences to be provided to other golfers. He often had that “regular” 7am tee time for his many-times-a-week games. He will be missed around Lake Melissa. A donation has been made in his memory to the Detroit Country Club Beautification Fund, created to enhance the course. Rest in peace David.

It is with heartfelt sadness that I learned of David’s passing. What an impact he has made in the telecommunications industry. I recall the day of my interview for NTCA group Health Trustee to be completed by the NTCA board. As I was waiting my turn outside the door my heart was just pounding. Here comes David, sat down beside me and visited! I just felt reassured. I think that is the way his life was, showing up with knowledge and support in a timely manner. He gave our organization insight into local, governmental and national developments. He was a true leader and example to all in the telecommunications and broadband industry. God bless his family

Dave lived on our block. Stan and I still laugh about when he would bring Riley around selling raffle tickets for her school and at Halloween. He was just a wonderful dad and neighbor. We will miss him sitting in his driveway talking on his phone

It is with gratitude we honor David’s memory and service to the Rural Telephone Cooperatives of North Dakota. He served us well.

I worked down the hall from David for 11 years during my treasured time with the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives. My favorite memory of David worth sharing: He used to bet me $5 that I would have another child. I told him that would never happen. $5 bills were taped to my door on a regular basis. And then one day, $5 was taped to HIS door … and several months later, we welcomed our third (and unexpected) gift … a son. That was the end of my door fund. Rest In Peace, and thank you for many talks and laughs, David!

David was a smooth operator–and I mean that in the most positive sense. He was superior in his abilities as a government affairs representative. I always enjoyed his visits and in between laughter, stories and political gossip, learned a lot from our discussions. RIP, my friend.

David was a kind man, positive and encouraging, whom I got to know through BAND. He loved to visit about farming, trees and conservation – something we had in common 🙂 . He always asked about my kids and would gush about how proud he was of his daughter. I will miss our visits, rest in peace my friend.

David was a very caring and loving person. It was great to work with him down at the farm. He will be greatly missed. All of you will be on our prayers.

David will be greatly missed here at Lake Melissa. We will plant trees in memory of David here at our lake place this summer. Our sincere sympathies to Riley and family for your loss!

I’m so saddened to learn of David’s passing. I have fun memories of our younger days in Elgin spending time at the Triple H and in Uncle Fritz’s basement listening to Pink Floyd. He had so much enthusiasm for life and golf. David had a wonderful sense of humor and was so entertaining. My condolences to his family,

I will miss you a lot, you were a true friend!

David was a good friend of mine. We went to high school together and reconnected about 3 years ago. He shared his stories with me and many pictures of his family and his amazing daughter Riley. David was excited for the future and plans for the farm and his life going forward. I am beyond devastated I won’t get anymore dry witty jokes or pictures to brighten my life. I’m
In disbelief he has passed. His warmth, wit and kindness will be so missed. I’m so very sorry for your loss
Mitzi Guice