Fulkerson - Stevenson Funeral Home It Is Our Privilege And Purpose To Serve You Springan - Stevenson Funeral Home
Fulkerson - Stevenson Funeral Home
Springan - Stevenson Funeral Home
It Is Our Privilege And Purpose To Serve You
Stanley "Stan" J. Vachal
March 2, 1922 - March 20, 2023

Place of Birth: Rural Ross, North Dakota
Residence: Watertown, SD (formerly of Stanley, ND)
Age: 101

Stanley J. Vachal a long-time resident of Stanley, ND, and recently Watertown, SD, passed away on March 20, 2023 after a short illness. He was 101 years old.

Stan was born March 2, 1922 to John and Agnes (Franek) Vachal in rural Ross, ND. He attended a country school first then eventually moved to Stanley, ND where he graduated high school in 1940.

Stan moved to California the summer after graduation landing a job in aircraft manufacturing. There he witnessed the mayhem on the West Coast resulting from Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. On Oct. 24, 1942, Stan enlisted in the Army Air Corp. He proudly served his country during World War II as a flight engineer on a B-29 bomber flight crew stationed in the Pacific theater.

After his discharge in 1945, Stan was able to pursue his dream of attending college thanks to the GI Bill. He graduated from the University of Montana at Missoula with a degree in Forestry and an interest in Range Management. During his college years, summers were spent working for the US Forestry service in wilderness fire prevention. He used a horse and pack mule in the mountains of Montana to be a fire lookout and cleared timber to create fire lines. It was lonely work but fueled a love for the mountains which continued throughout his life.

During one of these summer assignments he met Joyce Fitz a secretary with the Corp of Engineers at the historic Fork Peck reservoir and dam project. After a brief courtship of about one month they were wed in Harlem, MT and embarked on what would become a 74 year marriage odyssey.

Stan and Joyce briefly lived in Missoula and Malta, MT where Stan took a job with the Bureau of Land Management and their eldest son, John, was born during that time. In 1951, they moved to Minot, ND and finally to Stanley, ND where Stan settled in as the District Soil Conservationist for his beloved Mountrail County. He served the farmers and ranchers there for the bulk of his 40 year career with many years spent focused on water preservation projects and tree planting to alleviate wind erosion. Stan was a very accomplished arborist and was responsible for literally thousands of the trees protecting farmsteads and wind-blown topsoil. He loved the people and the natural resources of Mountrail County with his whole heart.

He instilled that love for nature in his six sons with many hunting, fishing and camping adventures. His knowledge of the homesteads, backroads and prairie trails of Mountrail County was legendary and his gregarious, authentic personality opened doors and gates few others were allowed to pass. That same personality served him well in community life at Stanley. Through the years Stan took an active role in Boy Scouting, Park Board, Lions Club, American Legion and the American Lutheran Church in Stanley, ND. Stan was instrumental in the building of the Church parsonage and the development of the Stanley swimming pool where three of his sons worked as lifeguards and managers. Later in life, Stan was appointed and served on the ND State Water Board. He was proud of his bohemian heritage and was caretaker of the historic Bohemian Cemetery in rural Mountrail County for several years.

Stan is survived by his wife, Joyce Vachal of Watertown, SD; Sons, John (Kay) Dayton, WA, Jim (Tonia) Watertown, SD, Joe (Jackie) Eugene, OR, Jeff (Julie) Bozeman, MT and Jay of St. Cloud, MN; Fourteen grandchildren and Fifteen great grandchildren; In addition, Stan had a very close and special relationship to his first cousins who are all still connected to the Vachal homestead in rural Ross, ND.

Stan was proceeded in death by one son, Jerry and two grandchildren, Samantha and R.C. In addition, his parents, John and Agnes Vachal and sisters, Gladys and Margie.

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