Diane Ihrke Bread and Jam Dash
April 27, 2019 | 7am packet pick-up - 9am Start

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Remembering Diane

Nearly 100 people lined the hallways of Essentia Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota on Sunday, March 19th. Diane Ihrke experienced health complications during the night and was transported to an intensive care unit before Hillcrest families woke for church. After Sunday’s sermon, families and students ventured from Hillcrest to spend time with Diane’s family, notably her two teenage sons, Sam and Zeke.

Over the proceeding 96 hours, friends from far and wide walked into Diane’s hospital room to hold her hand, sing praise songs, and say tear-filled goodbyes. With hymns playing in the background, drowning out the sound of breathing machines, Diane breathed her last breath in the company of friends and family on March 21, 2017.

Diane was a Hillcrest cheerleader who never wore the uniform. During her days in Bible School she nursed football players back to health and mentored high school students to see that God has a sense of humor, and desperately cares for their needs. 

Later in life Diane adopted two boys, Sam and Zeke. From the time the boys were brought home they were surrounded by Hillcrest students. Diane would have the athletes over for bread and jam, watching Sam and Zeke play nerf basketball and wrestle with the Comets. She would eventually join the resident life staff, taking on the role of head dean. Her sons followed her to the dorms, instantly gaining siblings in Hillcrest students who spent cherished times with Sam and Zeke as Diane built a strong semblance of home in the dormitories.

As the boys grew, Diane took other positions in the community, moving into a house that was often filled with Hillcrest students seeking fresh bread and jam. Diane would later find time to mentor Hillcrest girls, often hosting baking parties as she used food to break the ice and drive students to a deeper understanding of God’s love.

Diane led Hillcrest’s baking club this past year, winning first prize with her team in the first annual Hillcrest dessert competition. She baked bread periodically for Sunday meals at the dorm, drawing boys and girls into the kitchen to laugh and learn as bread dough was kneaded, rolled, and baked around friendship. 

When Diane passed away Sam and Zeke transitioned to the home of Kate and Josh Haus. Kate worked in the dormitory with Diane in 2005. Kate and Josh have three kids of their own, all in grade school. Through some quick remodel projects while Sam was on choir tour, Kate and Josh have set up a bedroom for the boys in their home, working through the legal process to transfer their adoption. 

It is the desire of Sam and Zeke to graduate from Hillcrest, the school at which their mom continually worked to build a family-oriented community. In honoring of Sam and Zeke’s wishes, and knowing it was the desire of Diane for the boys to continue at Hillcrest, the Board of Directors at Hillcrest has established a special account to pay for Sam and Zeke’s tuition. Their 2017 school year has been paid in full thanks to generous donors. We invite you to consider supporting Sam and Zeke as they carry on their mother’s legacy, building community at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy.

The Bread and Jam Dash is a fundraiser inspired by the memory of Diane Ihrke. Diane was a Hillcrest parent and supporter. Her sacrifices to enable her children to attend Hillcrest inspired her boys, Sam and Zeke, to want to raise funds for other families to attend Hillcrest. Diane found Hillcrest a place where transformation can take place for high school students. She created a warm and loving home where many students enjoyed fresh baked bread and strawberry freezer jam while receiving mentorship. After her passing in March her legacy continues. Sam and Zeke want to create a memorial endowment, using the Bread and Jam Dash to fund the account, for other students to experience the love and joy of being in community, something that continues at Hillcrest and something that Diane partnered with Hillcrest staff to create.

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Bread and Jam details:

Packet pick up begins at 7:00 am, April 27, 2019

Packet pick up will be held in the Student Union (Building behind the castle and down the hill.)

Parking is available in the Bethel Church lot and the Hillcrest lot behind the football field.  Additional parking available on side streets.

Race begins at 9:00am

This is a family friendly event.  Lots of entertainment and inflatables for kids.  Strollers welcome in the race too!

The Passion for the Race

Sam and Zeke are the children of Diane Ihrke. The two are very proud of the sacrifices their mother made to enable them to attend Hillcrest. In her memory, they are forming the endowment to enable more students to attend Hillcrest. Hear Sam's testimony below, given in a Chapel service at Hillcrest.

Corporate Sponsors


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Donovan Rogness




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Thrivent Financial -
Julius Stender

Rogness Development - LaWayne Rogness

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Bronze Sponsors

Aasness Farms
RD Construction
Security INSURANCE AND Investments
Synstelien Community Services
Nut Hutte
Fergus Falls Chiropractic - Jill Iverson
Nelson Auto Center


OtterTail Glass
M&R Sign
Security Bank