In Memorium – September 2012

Dick Endres founded Confidence Learning Center Dick Endres, a longtime state employee and founder of Confidence Learning Center, died Aug. […]

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Dick Endres founded Confidence Learning Center

Dick Endres, a longtime state employee and founder of Confidence Learning Center, died Aug. 13.

He was 84 years old and lived in Brainerd. Endres’ wife Jeanne died in July and he recently made the decision to end kidney dialysis. The Brainerd Dispatch interviewed him prior to his death. He also made one last trip to the camp in early August with some of his children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.

He said that as he looked back on the progress that was made at Confidence Learning Center he wasn’t really surprised at all.

“I always felt the camp could grow to this point,” he said.

Endres’ career spanned a time when people with developmental disabilities were described as “inmates.” He began his career at Faribault State Hospital in 1960. In the interview with the Dispatch, Endres credited Gov. Luther Youngdahl’s administration with encouraging new staff methods that kept residents active with songs, games, marching and outdoor activities.

In 1967 Endres and a group of friends formed a nonprofit corporation that bought 140 acres on Sylvan Lake. The land was cleared in 1969. Tents were used in the early years to house Camp Confidence, later Confidence Learning Center. For its first 25 years it was the state’s only year-round, free recreational camp for people with developmental disabilities. The center grew and expanded thanks to many donations and many fundraisers. Family members and friends helped out at the camp in the early years, so that counselors didn’t have to be hired.

Camp activities included fishing, canoeing and beach activities in the summer. In the winter campers took part in cross-country skiing, tubing and ice skating. Endres said his philosophy was to emphasize the campers’ abilities not their disabilities.

Endres worked for many years as camp director, while he still worked for the state. By encouraging family members and visiting staff to participate with the campers and to bring their own food, Confidence Learning Center was able to operate without the expense of hiring counselors.

Endres received the Crow Wing County Human Rights Award in 2009 and was Brainerd’s Citizen of the Year in 1991.

Services have been held. 


Miracle-Ear founder is remembered

Miracle-Ear founder Kenneth H. Dahlberg was remembered at a moving ceremony in late July at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Dahlberg not only was founder of Minneapolis-based Miracle-Ear Inc., he also was a decorated World War II flying ace. Dahlberg passed away in October 2011 passed away at the age of 94. Close family members and friends gathered for an intimate service that included a military tribute and flag folding ceremony.

Select Miracle-Ear franchisees attended as well to pay tribute to someone who they respected and admired. Dahlberg touched the lives of many throughout his years, but his impact on the hearing industry leaves many Miracle-Ear franchise owners remembering a man of great talent and character. In 1948, his entrepreneurial drive led him to create Dahlberg Electronics, a hearing aid manufacturer.

By 1955 Dahlberg Electronics introduced a revolutionary product and is accredited for the development of the industry’s first all-in-the-ear hearing aid. Dahlberg Electronics evolved throughout the decades and today is identified as Miracle-Ear Inc., a franchised hearing solutions retailer. More than 60 years later, his entrepreneurial spirit is still present among the 180-plus nationwide Miracle-Ear franchisees who work day in and day out to share the gift of hearing with others.

“Kenneth made an impact on many and his passion for hearing innovation has changed the world around him,” said Diana Beaufils, Senior Vice President of Miracle-Ear. “Speaking on behalf of the entire Miracle-Ear system, we honor the man who evolved the hearing industry into what it is today. He will continue to inspire us to make a difference in the lives of the hearing impaired.”

Miracle-Ear uses state-of-the-art technology to remove the barriers of hearing loss. The Plymouth-based company specializes in customizable hearing solutions that feature discreet, comfortable products designed to meet each individual’s hearing loss needs.


Wayne Brown championed the mentally ill

Wayne R. “Bumps” Brown, founder of Brown Printing Company, Waseca, and a pioneer of web offset printing, died of complications of a stroke at his home in Indian Wells, CA on July 23. He was 87.

The Waseca native went to work for his family’s printing company after college. He led the growth of Brown Printing Company. The company is now the third largest magazine printer and fifth largest catalog printer in the US.

Brown employs more than 2,200 employees in three web offset printing facilities that produce over 1,000 different magazines and catalogs, including Time, Sports Illustrated, People, Elle, Esquire, PC World and MAC World.

Brown donated much time and effort to the Minnesota mental health community. One of his sons was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1971, and Brown served on the board of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Minnesota (NAMI-MN) and helped with their publications for many years. His family would like memorials to go to NAMIMN, 800 Transfer Road, #31, St. Paul, MN 55114.

Services have been held

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