Weather Forecast


Ottertail family leans on God after fatal plane crash

Adam Menze lives on through his six beautiful children, from 10-year-old Ella down to 6-month-old Anna. Here, the family speaks to WDAY reporter Kevin Wallevand during a recent interview at St. John’s Church. Forum News Service

Those living in and around the community of Ottertail take care of their own.

And so when 41-year-old Adam Menze died tragically in a plane crash near Parkers Prairie recently, friends and strangers alike rallied around his young family – a wife and six little children.

This past Saturday in Ottertail, a carnival, dinner and silent auction was held to help the Menzes, who are trying to move on from the loss.

One thing is for sure: Adam Menze lives on through the six beautiful children who knew him as Dad. From 10-year-old Ella all the way down to the new baby, 6-month-old Anna.

“He was thrilled every time we were expecting, every time one of the kids was born,” said Rhonda Menze, Adam’s wife. “He loved them all.”

Adam was a brilliant man. He was a mechanical engineer who had his own company, often flying around the Midwest for work so his children could grow up in Lakes Country.

“He was a fabulous dad,” said Rhonda. “Loved being a dad from the moment Ella was born.”

Rhonda, speaking to WDAY reporter Kevin Wallevand last week from the Menze’s church, St. John’s, said her husband was a man of great faith.

“Though we miss Dad, the goal now is to point the children to the heavenly father,” she said.

Adam left his mark on St. John’s Church. He was baptized and confirmed there, but as an adult he became a leader, actively involved in Sunday School, Mission and one last project – getting the church to return Christ to the cross on the altar.

“It was important,” said Rhonda. “Christ is center, center for Adam and for those who believe.”

Rhonda is now left to care for the six kids, even home schooling them all. She said daily strength to move forward comes from her faith.

“People say I am strong,” she said. “They say that after people go through something like this.

And I smile at that, and you don’t have a choice and God is strong and I am weak, and when you are weak you are lifted up.”

Adam did not let obstacles get in the way of success and happiness. In fact, it made him more driven, this Norman Rockwell kind of a man who, after his first baby was born, told his wife, “Let’s have ten.”

Dozens of volunteers from the area worked for weeks to plan the Carnival for the Menze family.

The Ottertail Community Center was swarming with kids and adults there for the event.

“And how shocking it was to come out of nowhere,” said Lori Field, who helped plan the benefit. “I had a sign-up sheet for a couple of weeks and I had not looked at it, and I looked at it and it shocked me that the whole page was full of people wanting to volunteer for the day.”

Kevin Wallevand, Forum News Service

Forum News Service

The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, including the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to breaking and enterprise news, we offer a wide variety of sports, features, business, agriculture, outdoors and opinion content. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.