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Official Obituary of

Douglas Bultman

October 16, 1937 ~ May 24, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old

Douglas Bultman Obituary

Douglas F. Bultman, 85, of Spicer, died Wednesday, May 24th at Bethesda Grand in Willmar. His funeral service will be at 11:00 am, Wednesday, May 31st at Faith Lutheran Church in Spicer. Visitation will be one hour prior to his service. Burial will be at 11:00 am, Thursday, June 1st at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Fulda. Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar,

Under the staid charcoal and navy suits -- the uniform of Douglas Fred Bultman's 50-plus years in banking -- beat the heart of a leader, a servant, a teacher, a learner, an advocate, a promoter, a jokester, an artist, and a poet. A lover of small Minnesota towns and big ideas, Doug's overarching mission was to give every regional citizen a chance at his or her best life. He accomplished that and more with his signature optimism, irrepressible work ethic, and dancing blue eyes. Doug, 85, passed away on May 24 after an improbable and resilient nine-year battle with leukemia.

Doug's banking career was deeply interwoven with the dark Minnesota soil and the farmers who coaxed from it corn, soybeans, oats, and sugar beets to export around the world. Doug retired in 2003 after 21 years as president of the Redwood Falls Minnwest Bank, which during his tenure grew from $62 million to over $200 million with the development of six branches. He served on the Minnwest board of directors until 2013 and was president of the Minnesota Bankers Association in 1994-95.

Doug began his banking career in 1966 at the First National Bank in Marshall after serving as an associate Lyon County extension agent for three years. At First National, he started as an ag rep and eventually headed every department. During that era -- marked by his omnipresent Stetson hat -- he also served on the Marshall City Council, taught ag finance and bank management at Southwest State University (now SMSU), and hosted a weekly agricultural program on KMHL radio, where he ended every broadcast with a corny "Old Philosopher" joke. The jokes became so popular that listeners began sending material to Doug at the bank in hope of getting airtime.

To Doug, banking was never about interest rates, prices, percentages, graphs, or pie charts. It was about the people. Although most of the 1970s were boom years for small family farmers, the late 1970s and early '80s brough a sharp decline in exports and land values, rising production costs, and higher interest rates on loans, leading to an alarming number of foreclosures. Doug shepherded many a farmer through heartache and despair while simultaneously striving for creative solutions. He appeared before the state and U.S. legislatures to advocate for policies that would bring some relief. He also was a strong proponent of regional economic development that would give farmers and their families an opportunity to earn an income other than farming. Doug served in leadership positions for the Southwest Initiative Foundation and was instrumental in the founding of the Redwood Area Development Corporation.

Doug was a passionate nurturer of the communities in which he lived and worked. Wherever he was, new schools, libraries, cultural centers, sports complexes, and care facilities popped up, and that was no coincidence. Doug was a key player in seeing these projects through from inception to fruition.

He proved wrong the idea that small Midwestern towns must be mere husks of their former selves.

To Doug, a thriving downtown was symbolic of a healthy community, and he used the bank as a catalyst. Said Loni, his wife of 63 years, "He had a talent for making things happen that weren't there before."

Dan Koster, current division leader at Minnwest and a prized protege of Doug's, said, "We didn't have a marketing department at the bank. Doug WAS the marketing department."

Cases in point: Redwood Falls Minnwest's cow-chip throwing contests and the annual Prettiest Pig contest, when Doug got farmers to bring their pigs to parade around the lobby to themes such as "Squeal of Fortune." The crowning moment of every year was Doug kissing the pig.

"He got the whole town involved," Loni recalled.

From the very beginning, Doug's life was rooted in family and strong community ties. He entered the world on Oct. 16, 1937, the first of four children born to Fred and Esther (Beckman) Bultman who lived and farmed in rural Fulda, Minn. The family raised championship livestock and faithfully attended Immanuel Lutheran Church, known to them as the "Pfingsten Church." It was named after their ancestor, August Pfingsten, who founded the church in the 19th century.

Doug graduated from Fulda High School in 1955 and played catcher for the local semi-pro baseball team before enrolling at South Dakota State University, where he graduated in 1963 with a degree in ag education. He received his masters in banking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976.

Doug and Loni (Uhlken) Bultman were married on Dec. 6, 1959, at the Pfingsten Church, and they never stopped playfully bickering until he drew his last breath. They had two children, Dayna and Jon. As busy as he was, Doug always made time to throw a ball, play a game of cards, or guide a 4-H project.

Doug enjoyed gardening, watching Twins and Vikings games on TV, and traveling with Loni all over the world. In his retirement years on Green Lake in Spicer, he became an unexpected artist, filling sketchbooks with colored-pencil drawings of fanciful creatures. He also wrote poems -- always rhyming -- about everything from baseball to shopping to getting old. But his favorite pastime of all was golf. He was proud of his hole-in-one at Little Crow Resort in Spicer.

"Doug was never speechless," said his cousin Brian Bultmann, who witnessed the feat. "But he was so shocked he couldn't say a word!"

Doug is survived by his wife, Loni of Spicer; daughter Dayna and son-in-law, Mike Dunteman of Tacoma, Wa.; daughter-in-law, Jody Bultman of Santee, S.C.; four grandchildren: Jack, Jordan, Alexi (Carter), and Keller; as well as sister, Julie (Al) Schafer; and brother-in-law, Dean Greenfield; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Dianne Greenfield, brother, Roger, infant son, Brent, and son, Jon.

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May 31, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Faith Lutheran Church (Spicer)
310 Medayto Drive
Spicer, MN 56288

Funeral Service
May 31, 2023

11:00 AM
Faith Lutheran Church (Spicer)
310 Medayto Drive
Spicer, MN 56288


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