by Nathan Warner
Nineteen-year-old Carlie Deilke from Elk River was killed Friday Dec. 2, when she lost control of her car and it rolled near Bluffton in Otter Tail County.
Deilke is the daughter of Shawn and Carmella Deilke who currently live in Livonia Township. Carlie was born in Minneapolis on Dec. 17, 1991, but spent her childhood in Elk River and graduated from Elk River High School in 2010. The second oldest child in the family, Carlie grew up with three brothers in a neighborhood of mostly boys.
“She was an adrenaline junkie,” her father, Shawn, said. “She loved adventure whether it was camping, trail-riding, or monster trucks and she really wanted to take up skydiving.”
Both parents recalled one of Carlie’s favorite things to do since she was little was the “Slug Bug,” a popular car-game where participants punch each other on the arm at the first sight of a Volkswagen Beetle while calling out, “Slug Bug!”
“She hit hard,” Shawn smiled, rubbing his arm in memory. “She didn’t play easy and she was always seeing Beetles.”
“She always kept up with the boys, but she was also a girl,” Carmella added. “She liked cosmetology and always had her nails done, but she was the first one to jump out of the car and sling mud when we went trail-riding or camping.”
Carlie loved to dance and took classes from the time she was 4 years old until she was in 11th grade. After graduating high school, she began taking cosmetology classes in Wadena but decided she wanted to change schools, so she moved to Las Vegas to attend Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School.
Carmella says Carlie grew uncertain about cosmetology as her future and thought about joining the National Guard or becoming a crime scene investigator.
“Carlie was at that age when many young people try something and aren’t sure they want to spend the rest of their lives doing it,” Shawn said.
With this hesitation, Carlie came back to Elk River for a visit in July and decided not to return to Las Vegas. Her old job at Pizza Ranch in Wadena offered to hire her again, so she lived part-time in Wadena with a farming family while she earned money for her future, working 60–70 hours per week.
Carmella says Carlie decided she wanted to attend a dance school in New York with the dream of opening her own dance studio one day.
It was on her way home from her job at Pizza Ranch when Carlie lost control of her vehicle on a gravel road just north of Bluffton, near Wadena, and was killed when the vehicle rolled.
She is survived by her siblings, Brenden, Gunnar, and Wyatt; great-grandmother, Juanita Carlson; grandparents, Judy Lovaasen, John (Michele) Deilke, and Sandra (Gerald) Anderson; and by many aunts, uncles, other relatives and friends.
Carmella says Carlie’s younger brother, Wyatt, was “her world.” “They had a very special connection,” she adds, “and although there were six years between them, they did everything together.” Carlie would often go to parent teacher conferences for her brother when her mother couldn’t make it.
She picked him up from school, took him shopping, took him to see movies, and spent much of her time with him. “They talked daily while Carlie was in Las Vegas,” Carmella said, “and she was listed simply as ‘sister’ on his phone.”
Shawn added that Carlie was also well known in the community because of her compassionate spirit. “You couldn’t spend two minutes with her without falling in love with her,” he said. “She was a child-magnet and was always volunteering, especially at food shelves.”
Shawn and Carmella said they were overwhelmed by the number of people who came to Carlie’s funeral from the area. “She touched so many people,” they said. “Everyone seemed to know her from somewhere and wanted to share what a compassionate and caring woman Carlie was in life.”
Carlie was interred at Orono Cemetery in Elk River.