A Warroad family of Good Samaritans with unusual spellings

 

by Jeff Olsen

Meet the de Molées or the DeMolees - like in Dan DeMolee and his late brother Frederick Edgar de Molée, an Army veteran who died from pancreatic cancer in November 2020.

Maybe as kids, one of the reasons for a good donnybrook was which spelling of their surname was top shelf.

Dan and Fred were typical brothers.

"We had differences of opinion over things and had some knockdown, dragged-out fights," said Dan.

So, he was just the right guy to do Fred’s eulogy.

"I always felt I was a good father, but Fred was an exceptional father. He really was. He worked with his kids in 4-H. He was unbelievable," he said as part of his brother's eulogy.

Dan will be 70 in November. Fred was a year and a half younger.

Not all siblings have knockdown fights.

For instance, Bryce and Krysta - DeMolee and de Molee respectively - are very special.

This past June, they ran Grandma's Marathon to raise money for pancreatic cancer while representing the Project Purple Team in memory of their late father.

For Uncle Dan, there was no growing old with Fred. Pancreatic cancer ensured that.

"Once it was diagnosed, he went quick. He'd had some back pain and had been treated for that at the Fargo VA. I found out afterwards that back pain can manifest itself as a condition of pancreatic cancer."

Fred entered the service after he graduated from Warroad High School in 1973 and served 10 years of active duty.

"He later joined an Army reserve unit, and we both ended up over in Afghanistan," said Dan, who saluted his niece and nephew for entering Grandma's Marathon to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.

Just recently Bryce DeMolee was asked about his surname's spelling.

"It's all just for fun. It doesn't really matter at the end of the day."

Run many marathons?

"This was my first traditional 26.2 mile marathon. The rest of the long runs that I've done, whether they were 26 miles or 20 or 30 miles, were when I was in the Army."

He and his sister completed Grandma's at exactly the same second.

Big Bro didn't send Little Sis flying with a timely elbow just as they neared the finish line.

"Before we started, we decided it wasn't about setting a personal record. It was about us going step-by-step together and finishing at the same time," he said.

Their dad was known as Fast Freddie.

"Dan was Air Force, my dad was Army and he was an E-7.”

Bryce, 36, served as an infantryman from 2010 to 2018.

"I loved it," said the former Army sergeant.

And he loved doing something very special with his sister at Grandma's Marathon.

"We raised $3,600 for Project Purple. It was much more than we had set a goal for. We're very proud and happy."

Add they're appreciative.

"My mom and family were there to cheer us on. So, it was a good family event, and we got to see all that money raised."

Hurt much afterwards?

He laughed.

"Fortunately, the only thing that hurt were my feet. It took about a week before there wasn't some soreness. I'm fortunate that everything else was in fine shape. Good enough shape for a beer afterwards."

He complimented his sister.

"Krysta is younger and the baby of the group. I can't say enough good things about her. She amazes me whatever she does. She's a woman of morals and values and knows exactly what she wants to do in life."

He added that she has lived in Australia for a number of years. "She wants to live and explore life and see different cultures. I'm a big, big proud brother. It's awesome to see what kind of woman she's become over the years."

For the two siblings, it was an opportunity contribute to Project Purple.

"They said we had to raise 750 bucks total. We said that's not enough. So, then we set our goal at $2,500 and ended up raising $3,600."

Bryce credits their wide reach of friends both locally and internationally.

"We had a lot of locals and from around the Roseau County area. Krysta had people from around the world who donated."

He was amazed with the overseas donors. They were required to convert their currency to U.S. dollars.

"It was amazing. The thing is, people were donating from countries where their money doesn't match U.S. dollars, but they still had to match the amount. If they put up 50 bucks in U.S. dollars, they donated even more in their own currency."

Do it again in 2024?

That's up to my sister. She's the planner. If she says we're doing it, then I'm in. She's the motor. She gets everything moving and grooving. I follow her lead."

It's pretty unique when a big brother follows the little sister.

"She's the smart one. I know my limitations. I know when to follow and when to lead. I let her lead."

The 2005 Warroad High School graduate was a four-sport athlete and now teaches in West Fargo.

The last weekend in July, he will serve as the crew chief for the American Legion State Tournament in Roseau. He will be doing the championship game.

Bryce is impressed with the many improvements at Gilbertson Field.

"It's looking amazing out there. They should be proud of what they have done. Even as a Warroad boy, I'm super proud of what they've accomplished. It's amazing and so cool to see."

He credits the community involvement in Roseau.

Little Sister

Krysta de Molee didn't require any prompting to sing the praises of her late father.

"He's the best dad anyone could dream of having. He really was. He made you think but also encouraged you to keep trying and to be better in life and accept everyone."

Her late father developed her curiosity.

"He'd tell me different stories when I was little about the world. It made me wonder what was out there."

She's spending the summer in Warroad and was asked if she plans to return to Australia.

"There are several avenues ahead. I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing. Yes, she and her brother had fantastic support prior to Grandma's.

"Everyone was out spreading the word getting people to fundraise. It's nice because the money is going for research but is also going to help families in need. They won't have to worry about paying for hotels or gas. It's all the stress someone shouldn't have when their family is going through chemo or the diagnosis."

She emphasized that pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers.

"It's not very well known because it's such a short diagnosis."

It was Krysta's first official marathon. They finished at exactly the same time and ran a little slower than they expected.

"We enjoyed it. We felt really good the first 15 miles and were having a great time."

Then came the awareness that they still had many more miles to run.

"I was tired at the end, but my body actually felt pretty good. The longest I had run was 20 miles before the race. It was more physical exhaustion on my end," she said.

The half-marathon might be her cup of tea if she runs Grandma's some other time.

"We've already talked about going back and doing Grandma's. I can hopefully convince the rest of the family to enter the 5K.

For the lady with a hankering for travel, she isn't tied down punching a time clock.

"It's a bit of everything. I'm more into the agricultural sector, and I do seasonal work and then travel a bit and enjoy life. That's what I've been doing since I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Crookston in Animal Science."

There's a method to her travels.

"I try to avoid winters. So, I come here in the summer and then go back to Australia in their summers."

 

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