by Jim Boyle
Despite the assistance of an impromptu and highly qualified roadside medical team on Feb. 20 in Elk River, Almond Dale Drone has died.
The 53-year-old Otsego man passed away Saturday, March 4, at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. today (March 10) at Assembly of God Church in Staples.
Drone went into cardiac arrest on President’s Day while driving home from Cub Foods. By the time his car had gone off the road on Freeport Avenue that day, he had drawn the attention of several motorists in the area, including three nurses in three separate vehicles who came to his aid. They were able to revive him before he was transported by Elk River Ambulance to the hospitals.
News of Drone’s death saddened those who saved him. “It’s frustrating,” said Megahn Hollenbeck, a 32-year-old Blaine woman and one of the three nurses.
The same day Hollenbeck had learned of his death, she read that only 5 to 10 percent of people who go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive. “We knew the odds were stacked against him,” Hollenbeck said.
Hollenbeck and others take solace in knowing that their efforts gave Drone and his family members more time together.
He was born July 7, 1958, in Wadena to Almond and Ethel (Lilly) Drone. He graduated from Staples High School and Staples Vo-Tech School, where he trained to become a machine operator.
He worked for Cornelius in Anoka for 23 years. He enjoyed gardening, hunting, fishing, cars, motorcycles, and going to car shows. Drone also loved spending time with his family, being active in the church, and reading the Bible.
Survivors include his step-mother, Betty Drone of Staples; siblings, Gary West of Brainerd, Kerry (Margaret) West of Wadena, Bruce of Staples, Norman (Shawna) of Verndale, Starr (Larry) Botzet of Hutchinson, Dale (Kathy) Self of Pillager, Ramona Self of Brainerd, and Jesse (KaAnn) of Staples; brother-in-law, Wilbur Self of Elk River; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Almond and Ethel; sister, Lois; and brother, Joey West.