Roger Best, longtime business and civic leader in the Brainerd Lakes Area, died Wednesday, November 3, 2021, at his Baxter home after a short battle with cancer. He was 84.
The son of Elder “James” and Myrtle (Cargo) Best, he was born February 10, 1937, in Rugby, ND.
He spent his boyhood on the family ranch in Towner, ND, where he graduated from Towner High School in 1955. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a business degree.
He started a career in the insurance industry in the Twin Cities. Moving to Brainerd in 1968 he joined the Casey Insurance Agency. In time he acquired an interest in the firm that became Casey – Best Insurance. He married Mary Peck Best and they raised Becky, Jason, and Mitchell in Brainerd. They later were divorced.
He married Mary Jo Teiken on October 3, 1992. They enjoyed golfing, biking, traveling, camping, and listening to classic country music. Roger worked out almost daily in a health club right up until the diagnosis of cancer earlier this year.
He was president of the Brainerd Chamber of Commerce in 1977-78, a founding partner of Brainerd radio station, WJJY, past president of the Kiwanis Club, and longtime member of First Congregational Church where he was on the trustees and foundation boards. He was an active volunteer for many years for Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity. He chaired a fund drive for St. Joseph’s Medical Center and was a member of the American Legion. He served in the Army National Guard.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Jo Best; daughter, Rebecca Ann Best (Roy), Brainerd; two sons, Jason Roger Best (Sonya), Columbus, OH and Mitchell James Best (Jennifer), Edina; seven grandchildren, Ryan Rudbeck of Brainerd, Jack Best, Nathan Best, and Margaret Best, all of Columbus, Oh, Samuel Best, Natalie Best, and Cameron Best, all of Edina; sister, Karen Ford, Lenexa, KS; nephew, Mark Ford, Lenexa, KS, niece, Sarah Choban, Carptentersville, IL; and step-brother, Pat Fisher, Milwaukee, WI.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Myrtle Best Fisher, father, Elder Best; stepfather, Alton Fisher; sister, Sharon Lee Best; grandson, Maxwell Best; and step-brother, Jim Fisher.
A Celebration of Roger’s Life will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Brainerd with Reverend Leslie Moughty officiating. Interment will follow at Baxter City Cemetery. All are invited to a luncheon at Northland Arboretum to conclude the services. Family and friends are invited to gather from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Monday evening at the Nelson – Doran Funeral Home in Brainerd, and for one hour prior to the service at the church on Tuesday.
Memorials are preferred to Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity.
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