Daris Bittner

Daris Daniel Bittner, 88, of Carrington, ND, died on Sunday, February 18, 2018, at Golden Acres Nursing Home, Carrington, ND.

Daris was the eldest child of Alfred and Elizabeth Bittner, and was born on August 27, 1929. He attended school at the Cathay Public School. After school, Daris began farming on his home place, ultimately marrying Mabel Gladys Gussiaas on November 7, 1952, where they farmed and ranched, until moving to Carrington.

Daris loved farming and ranching. He and Mabel worked tirelessly as a team in their work . . . it was their true passion. Daris was particularly passionate about his beef cattle, his purebred quarter horses, and even his beloved chickens that he continued to nurture for several months, even after moving to Carrington. Each of his animals found a special place in his heart, bringing him a great measure of joy.

Sunday afternoons would often find Daris and Mabel taking a drive out to the pastures, with Daris getting out walking among the cattle that would typically come running from the far corners of the pasture to greet him. It was during those interactions that he could assess which ones needed to be medicated later for a touch of foot rot, or a different malady that needed to be addressed with a horse and a rope, within the next day or so.

Those were times of studied reflection that he most seemed to relish. It was in those moments, that he transcended place and time . . . minutes could easily become hours. For years, he would gear up for the annual cattle run with family and friends joining in to herd the cattle back home from the respective pastures, to winter at the home place.

Daris was in his element when afforded the opportunity to talk about, or to study the lineage and pedigrees of his beloved cattle and horses. It was not merely his own cattle that he enjoyed. He loved nothing more than going to another ranch, to get a tour from another enthusiastic herdsman, whose expertise he admired, The Bar 5 ranch in Canada, was just one such ranch he delighted in visiting and cultivating relationships.

As busy as Daris was, he always made time to visit a neighbor, friend, or total stranger. He was never too busy to lend a helping hand to one who may find need of it. He virtually never met a stranger, always willing to share a smile, a warm greeting, or swap a story. Whether with a neighbor, or a new friend, whose name he had simply not yet learned, in Minot, Fargo, or a Minneapolis airport, he engaged each with his own brand of characteristic warmth.

Daris was actively involved in his community through the years. He served several terms as a County Commissioner for Wells County, always enjoying the many county fair acts he helped arrange, including Performer, Leroy Van Dyke, a fellow rancher and performer, who had become a personal friend of his, with whom he maintained close contact through the years. He cherished the lifelong friendships made through those encounters.

In conjunction with the fair, heal so served one of the least favorite jobs – Racing Secretary, a job that called for a measure of toughness and diplomacy. It was in those moments that he came to know and appreciate so many of his Native American friends, who were involved in horse racing, from Dunseith, and Belcourt. He stayed in touch with a number of them over the years. He also served as a 4-H Club leader for many years. Additionally, he served several terms on the Cathay Township board. He was also a Brand Inspector for a number of years, for the state of ND.

Daris and Mabel always retained a strong commitment to their church, attending faithfully. In earlier years, they attended Stavanger Lutheran Church, located in rural Cathay. After that, they attended First Lutheran Church, in Fessenden. Later, when they moved to Carrington, they became active members of Trinity Lutheran Church. Their children, while a tad impatient at times, ultimately grew accustomed to being among the last to leave church most Sundays, given Daris and Mabel's tendency to love visiting with any who elected to stay after.

Daris is survived by his wife, Mabel, of Carrington, ND; one son, Mark (Sherri) Bittner, and one daughter, Tamra Kost of Fessenden, ND; one grandson, Dusty (Melissa) Kost and their 3 daughters, Kadence, McKenzie and Madison of Cathay, ND; two sisters, Verna (Fred) Freeman, of Carrington, and Delores Scherr of Minnewauken, ND; as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Alfred and Elizabeth Bittner; brother Vernon; son-in-law Ross Kost.



A Celebration of Life for Daris's Family and Close Friends will be held

Thursday, March 1, 2018, from 2PM-4PM in Trinity Lutheran Church Carrington.

Posted Condolences:
(Scroll down to send condolence)


Name: Blake and Kathy Vander Vorst

Date: 2/28/2018

Message: Mabel, Mark and Tami,  Kathy and I are send our condolences on Daris's passing. We really appreciated the Bittner's as neighbors for the 2 years we lived just a mile away. I know Daris had a great and hardy laugh and he used it when I came over one spring to take that roan quarter horse for its first spring ride. He bucked all the way to the road before I was able to get the reins back in my hand. God Bless you and we will see him in heaven and have a big party. Blake



Name: James Miller

Date: 02/27/18

Message: Mabel and Family, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Although we didn't see that much of each other through the years, I was always so happy to bump into you, you and Daris made me feel like we were the best of old buddies, and I always enjoyed that.

I totally understand your feelings of loss, as I lost my spouse a short while back as well. I will not be able to attend your service as our memorial service for my wife is at the same time here in Bismarck, but meanwhile you are in my thoughts and prayers. May the good Lord be with you.


Name: Evelyn Hansen Family

Date: 2-27-18

Message: Our thoughts and prayers to your family Mable. We remember sharing  special times with Daris and family years ago on your farm in Cathay, cattle picnic, and times with Vernon and his family. Gods Blessings to you.



Name: Aaron Woehl

Date: 2/26/2018

Message: Sorry for your loss. Daris was a great man and prayers to all the family. I enjoyed talking to him every time i seen him he will be missed greatly. Wish i could be there for the funeral. My thoughts and prayers will be with you all. Thanks for all the great memories.



Name: Becky (Silkey) Klein

Date: 02/26/2018

Message: Thinking of you Mabel and your family at the passing of Daris. What a wonderful write up in the paper. Even tho we didn't see each other very much, Daris was always so welcoming and inviting. Once he recognized who I was when we did meet, the conversation was on! What joy to know he is walking the fields and pastures  with our Jesus Christ!


Name: Alvin Dietz

Date: Feb. 28,2018

Message: Mabel so sorry to hear of Daris passing.  He was such a good friend of mine all the way from grade school where he acted as my protector several times. I looked forward to visiting with him each time we met especially at the school reunions.  God bless your family at this sad time.

 Al Dietz  



Name: Brenda Goodman

Date: 02/22/18

Message: I was sorry to read about Daris. But now he is home to hear well done.

I always enjoyed visiting with him when our paths crossed.

Our thought and prayers are with you.

Steven and Brenda Goodman


Name: Sandra Maine

Date: 2/22/18

Message: To the family of Daris,  Richard and I extend our sympathy to you at this time of loss. I, especially, enjoyed chatting with Daris at the gas station when he and Mabel would come in.  He was a very nice man. Sincerely, Sandra Maine


Name: Mark Beithon

Date: 2/22/2018

Message: Daris was always someone I especially looked forward to visiting with when Sharla and we visited Carrington.  He was so interesting, but also so interested in what others had to say.  I didn't know he was friends with Leroy Van Dyke.  I love playing the Auctioneer Song even though Sharla gets annoyed when I do. That's typical of Daris... not to brag about himself. Many great memories of Daris and Mabel.

So sorry for your loss.


Name: John Wright

Date: 2/21/2018

Message: Rosemary and I were two of those befriended by Daris and Mabel. We would look forward to their Sunday visits at our house.

We share your loss.