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Commission mourns death of Attorney Neugebauer

Brian Neugebauer, a longtime municipal attorney here and in the metro area, died Saturday after a short battle with melanoma.

The 62-year-old was diagnosed in August.

On Monday night, West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern asked all in attendance at the City Commission’s first 2014 meeting to stand and bow their heads in a moment of silence to honor Neugebauer.

“We will miss him a lot,” Mattern said as he wiped tears from his eyes and began the meeting.

Neugebauer, a Fargo native, joined the Ohnstad Twichell law firm in 1978. The Concordia and University of North Dakota law school graduate specialized in municipal law and bond counsel, and served as senior partner of the firm for many years.

“The firm has really grown under his leadership over those years,” said Marshall McCullough, attorney at Ohnstad Twichell.

While known for helping cities secure funding for needed projects and for helping them deal with complicated water and financial issues, one of Neugebauer’s greatest roles was helping West Fargo to successfully complete the Sheyenne Diversion, McCullough said.

Neugebauer had the ability to bring all sides to the table and his openness to varied views made him an extraordinary attorney and person, Mattern and West Fargo City Administrator Jim Brownlee said.

“He wasn’t always your typical attorney,” Mattern said. “He could talk to virtually anybody and calm them down, hear them out.”

Although Neugebauer was fluent in legalese and complicated negotiations, he openly shared his quick wit and dry humor.

In his final speech to shareholders as president of the Ohnstad Twichell firm in 2013, Neugebauer likened the job of heading a successful law firm to the job of “herding cats.” McCullough said the analogy fit the multitude of personalities under one firm, but it also showed Neugebauer’s ease at working with everyone.

Neugebauer kept the humor both at work and at home, said his wife, retired West Fargo teacher Kathy Neugebauer.

The couple met on a blind date and were married in 1978 before moving to West Fargo, where she taught and he worked at Ohnstad Twichell.

They raised three sons, Karl, Mark and John.

A memorial service is planned for Neugebauer at 11 a.m. Thursday at Lutheran Church of Cross in West Fargo.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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