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Tuesday, January 04, 2011    Obituary

In memoriam: Former Red River Valley & Western President Tom Kotnour

Tom Kotnour, who served as the Red River Valley & Western Railroad Co.'s president and chief operating officer from 1987 to 1989, died Dec. 26 in Mesa, Ariz., according to the Daily News in Wahpeton, N.D. He was 85.

Kotnour began his railroading career at the Great Northern Railroad in 1946, where he held various positions until he retired in 1981. He then formed a consulting company in 1982 that developed contacts in the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Australia.

In 1986, Kotnour served as a consultant in the formation of the Washington Central Railroad, which later merged with Burlington Northern Railroad. A year later, he began his Red River Valley & Western stint.

In 2002, Kotnour formed a corporation and purchased the Minnesota Northern Railroad. He retired in 2006 after working in the rail industry for 60 years.

Kotnour is survived by his wife, Sharon, two sons, four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, three step-children and six step-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to River Edge Hospice in Breckenridge, Minn., and Bethel Lutheran Church in Wahpeton.

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