BISMARCK, ND — David Crothers, an advocate for bringing high-speed internet to the more rural areas of North Dakota, is fondly remembered as someone who could make you feel special just by returning his phone call.
Seth Arndorfer credits Crothers with much of the success of the Dakota Carrier Network, which Arndorfer has run since 2013.
“He knew more than me, in most cases, but he always said, ‘I so appreciate it, Seth, that you share your wisdom with me,’ when I knew full well he had more wisdom. than me,” Arndorfer said.
Crothers, 66, of Bismarck, died April 22 in Fargo.
Crothers has spent a career in government affairs. Since 1988, he had been the general manager of the Broadband Association of North Dakota, formerly known as the North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives.
Crothers was the longtime chairman of the Government Affairs Committee of the National Rural Broadband Association (NTCA).
Crothers was often asked to share his wisdom, testifying before Congress.
“He was point-to-person on legislation that had anything to do with broadband,” said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of the NTCA.
She said her testimony was compelling because it wasn’t just about facts and statistics to paint a picture of rural North Dakota.
“How did it impact this farmer, how did it impact this businesswoman, how did it impact Elgin,” Bloomfield said, referring to the town in southwestern North Dakota where Crothers and his family had farmland.
He has represented telecommunications cooperatives in North Dakota.
Lorena Lambrecht of Tioga is president of the Broadband Association of North Dakota and credits Crothers with helping North Dakota build one of the best fiber optic networks in the country.
“He’s always been a state and federal attorney,” Lambrecht said. “He’s definitely going to be a tough man to replace.”
Randy Houdek is the CEO of Venture Communications Cooperative, of Highmore, South Dakota, and has worked with Crothers through the Rural Broadband Association.
“He came through his practical knowledge working closely with the people he represented,” Houdek said. “And when it came time to plead, he knew his stuff.”
Crothers was also known for dressing well, always having a Diet Coke handy, and enjoying a round of golf, often with lawmakers, policy makers, or others he deemed necessary to hear his speech. on the need for broadband service.
“One of the things that was unique about David was his ability to articulate so eloquently how important it is for every North Dakota to have access to reliable, affordable broadband,” Arndorfer said.
A private funeral service will be held in Elgin, followed by a gathering from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, 2022 at Bismarck Funeral Home, 3723 Lockport Street, Bismarck.