Archived Story

DeTienne devoted life to loved ones

Published 5:29am Monday, June 10, 2013 Updated 7:30am Monday, June 10, 2013

Heating and cooling technician Glen DeTienne showed up at Valerie Sohl’s house a few years ago for a routine furnace inspection. But there seemed to be some sparks in the house that day, though they weren’t from the furnace.

“Everything’s checking out just fine.”

And with that line from DeTienne, Sohl told him to ask her out. Since she was recently widowed, DeTienne told her to wait. He called her one year later to the day, and they were together for the past seven years.

“We were both happy,” Sohl said. “Loving our careers, and living a simple life.”

DeTienne, 54, died Thursday after the van he was repairing in the driveway of his Fergus Falls home rolled forward and pinned him.

He was a handyman who’d fixed vehicles before. Sohl and her children, Megan Hatfield and Theodore Tiede, said DeTienne was “Mr. Safety.”

“He’s very, very safe,” Tiede said. “Which is why this is kind of ironic.”

DeTienne worked for Ugstad Plumbing and Heating in Fergus Falls for more than 20 years. He loved being able to travel the countryside and really get to know his customers, Sohl said.

“He said he was the luckiest guy in the world with his job,” Sohl said.

He was a good worker who wanted to do his job right and really look out for the customer, said John Ugstad, owner of Ugstad Plumbing and Heating.

“He was just always there when you needed him,” Ugstad said. “He just cared about people a lot.”

Outside of his job, Detienne had a fondness of nature and the outdoors. He loved animals, especially his dog Chance. Hatfield and Tiede described him as genuine, modest, honest, dependable and a great teacher.

“He kind of took our family as his own,” Hatfield said. “Which is kind of cool. He didn’t have to do that.”

Detienne was a Marine Corps veteran, and he passed on helpful tidbits of advice to Tiede when he joined the Marines. They’d also go hunting and just spend time together. Detienne was especially good with Tiede’s son Sonny, who’s not quite 2 years old.

“He just loved him so much,” Tiede said. “Never seen that guy happier than when he was playing with this kid right here.”

They weren’t the only ones Detienne cared about. He was a people person. Everywhere he went he seemed to know somebody, Tiede said. Detienne would go out of his way to help anybody at any time, and he didn’t need recognition for it, Sohl said.

“It was just him,” she said. “And he was very humble about that.”

They enjoyed the simple pleasures in life, Sohl said, like taking walks, playing music together, grilling and sitting by the campfire.

He had another passion, too.

“He was a closet guitar player,” Sohl said. “But he never played in front of people. It was his little secret hobby.”

Just recently, Detienne purchased a customized, handmade guitar from Ireland. Music is one of the things that Sohl said she will turn to in the days to come.

It’s the little things and the simple pleasures that Sohl will miss most about her significant other.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do without him,” Sohl said. “He’s always been here.”

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