Obituaries 06/06/19

Donald Benz, 88

Donald E. Benz, 88, of Norwood Young America (NYA), passed away on May 31, 2019 at Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Howard Lake.

He was born September 21, 1930 near Melvin, IL to Albert and Dorothy Benz (Frank). Don moved with his family to Onamia, Minn. in 1946 where he graduated from high school. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1954.

Don married Maureen Tice on April 25th, 1953. After discharge from the Navy, they moved to St. Paul, where Don attended the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1959. He then joined Honeywell, Inc., working there for nearly 31 years. Don and Maureen lived in St. Louis Park and Minnetonka, before moving to a hobby farm near Young America, in 1968, where they lived for 25 years. After retiring, they lived in Buffalo and Elk River. They returned to Norwood Young America in 2007.

Don is survived by: his son, Brad Benz, of Buffalo; daughter-in-law, Teresa Benz, of Zimmerman; daughter, Mary (Mark) Stockman of NYA; daughter, Sue (Tom) Fritz of Lester Prairie; grandchildren, Miranda Benz, Jake (Ani), Joey, and Leah Benz, Ross Stockman, Chad (Ashley) Stockman, Jayme Fritz, Josh (Jo) Fritz, Katelyn (Cody) Storms; great-grandchildren, Carter Fritz and Emery Webb, Brinley and Levi Stockman, and Kyler and Klay Storms; brother, Richard (Peggy) Benz; brother, Harold Benz.

Don was preceded in death by: his parents; his wife; son, Mark Benz; sister, Viola Burns; sisters-in-law, Kay Benz and Beverly VanderEyk; and brother-in-law, Merlin Tice.

A Memorial Mass was held at Catholic Church of the Ascension in Norwood Young America at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 5. Visitation was one hour prior to Mass.


Kelly Bergesch, 62

Kelly E. Bergesch, age 62, of Annandale, died of complications due to neuroendocrine cancer on May 25, 2019, at Quiet Oaks Hospice House in St. Augusta, Minnesota.

Memorial Mass will be held 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Annandale with Fr. John Meyer as the Celebrant. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.

Kelly Ellen Bergesch was born January 6, 1957 in Minneapolis to Robert and Martha (Kelash) Greene. She grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from Patrick Henry High School with the Class of 1975. While in high school, she met Steven Bergesch; they were married on January 3, 1976 at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Minneapolis. They were blessed with three children. She worked multiple part-time jobs in order to accommodate caring for her young family; later, she had a career with Target in Buffalo.

Kelly enjoyed helping in her kids’ activities, including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. In her social life, Kelly liked to play golf and Texas Hold ‘em, help the local Lions Club run raffles and pull-tabs and volunteering at various community functions. She loved to spend time in the garden and play with her grandchildren.

Kelly was diagnosed in the spring of 2017 with neuroendocrine cancer. She sought frequent treatments at Buffalo Hospital and with specialists of this rare cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She lived her final days at Quiet Oaks Hospice House in St. Augusta. Kelly continued her care and concern for others even after her death by donating her body to the University of Minnesota.

The family would like to extend their gratitude toward the staff at Buffalo Hospital, Mayo Clinic and Quiet Oaks Hospice House for their expertise and care during her journey with cancer. All of the support from family and friends during the hard times was greatly appreciated.

Kelly is survived by: her husband, Steve Bergesch of Annandale; her children, Robert of Brooklyn Park, Katie (Rick) Rabenort of Annandale and Krystal (Ben) Oeth of St. Louis Park; grandchildren, Weston, William and Greysen; siblings, Robert Greene, Tracy Greene (Martin Cornell) and Guy Greene; and many other aunts, uncles and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents.

Music for the service will be provided by St. Ignatius Music Ministry.

Arrangements are entrusted with Dingmann Funeral Care Burial & Cremation Services of Annandale.


Esther Blesi, 100

Esther M. Blesi, age 100, of Buffalo, formerly of Rockford.

Esther was preceded in death by: husband, Milo; daughter, Darlene.

She is survived by: children, Dennis, Roger, Linda, Charlene (Darrell Larson) Vail, Miles (Kathy), Harley; 11 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; sister, Mardelle Porter.

Visitation will be held 4:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 7 at Evans-Nordby Funeral Home, 34 2nd Street NE, Osseo. Funeral service will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, June 8 at Evans-Nordby Funeral Home in Osseo, with a visitation one hour prior to the service. Internment will be at St. Fridolin’s Cemetery.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Evans-Nordby Funeral Home.




Eleanor Buttenhoff, 95

Eleanor M. Buttenhoff, age 95, of Monticello, passed away on June 2, 2019.

Memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 10, 2019 at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran, 413-3rd St E, Monticello, with visitation starting at 9:30 a.m. 

Arrangements entrusted to Peterson-Grimsmo Chapel.






James Holmstrom, 89

James F. Holmstrom, age 89, of Buffalo, passed away on June 2, 2019 at the Buffalo Hospital surrounded by his family.

Jim “Jim the Barber” was born the son of Martin and Hulda (Paulson) Holmstrom on July 29, 1929 in Minneapolis.

On July 5, 1952, Jim and June (Nelson) were joined in marriage in Watertown.  God blessed their marriage with five children.

Jim and June moved from Crystal, out to Buffalo in 1965. He and June began raising their family on a farm on Washington Lake. After 50 years of enjoying the farm, the lake and the numerous gatherings with family and friends, the couple moved to Park Terrace Assisted Living, then Park View Care Center in Buffalo.

Jim, known as “Jim the Barber” cut hair for 45 years; cutting hair in St. Michael for 38 of those years. Jim was well known for a haircut and great conversation.  He also took up Real Estate for many of those years. Jim loved to fish and putz around his farm, but in later years, loved to share stories, tell jokes and make people laugh.

Jim is survived by: his wife of 67 years, June (Nelson); children, Barb (Ed) VanVleet, Rick Holmstrom, Nancy (Brian) Varner and Kim (Scott) Heinecke; nine grandchildren, Jeremy (Onna) Carlson, Mike (Miranda) VanVleet, Missy Conavatti, Steven (Allie) VanVleet, Josh (Lin) Varner, Nicki (Nick) Varner, Dareck Heinecke, Sara (Kevin) Heinecke and Meranda Heinecke; seven great-grandchildren Austin, Carter, Emily, Liam, Ryker, Gannon and Nora.

He was preceded in death his parents, one brother; one sister and a son, Steven Holmstrom.

Memorial service for Jim will be Saturday, June 8, at 11:00 a.m. with visitation one hour prior to the service all at the Park View Care Center Chapel of Buffalo. Officiating will be Chaplain Paul Kling. Private family interment at Swedish Mission Cemetery in Buffalo at a later date.

Serving the family is The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo.


Thomas Johnson, 70

Thomas Lynn Johnson, age 70, of Buffalo, formerly of Dassel, died Sunday, May 26, 2019, at his farm near Cokato. 

A funeral service was held on Saturday, June 1, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel with Rev. Laurie O’Shea officiating. There was a visitation on Friday, May 31, 2019, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel.  There was a one-hour visitation prior to the service on Saturday at the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel.

Thomas Lynn Johnson, the son of Richard and Kathryn (Kildaw) Johnson was born on March 15, 1949, in Litchfield.  Thomas grew up in the Dassel area where he was baptized and confirmed at the First Lutheran Church in Dassel. Thomas graduated from Dassel High School in 1967, he then proceeded to attend Willmar Technical College before completing his education at Mankato State University with a degree in Civil Engineering. 

Thomas had a very successful, professional career, that started at with Meeker county Parks. Tom held other positions with various county parks before he started his career as a highway engineer working for the Minnesota Department of transportation.  He was also employed by Metro Transit, Smith Parker, and Hay Dobbs, where he was a project manager and provided consulting services. He loved a challenge and dedicated his life to making transportation and urban design work seamlessly. He had been involved with many important transportation projects in the metro area. He had the ability to make a complex concept understandable to everyone.  He was a dedicated public servant who loved his job and the people he worked with.

He enjoyed spending time on his farm where he raised brown swiss cattle. He loved the land and enjoyed mentoring the young men that worked on his farm, and he was dearly loved in return.  He believed in doing a good day’s work and doing it the best way possible.

Family was important to Tom, and he would always attend his grandchildren’s sporting events, concerts and dance recitals. He also enjoyed spending time attending family events, and holiday gatherings.  He was very proud of his children and all their accomplishments. He was a devoted father, grandfather, brother and friend.  He always had time to have a quick conversation with someone. He could walk into a room knowing no one and walk out of the room having made the acquaintance of half the room. He will be missed by his family and his friends.

He is survived by: his significant other, Diana Korpela, of Buffalo; daughters, Melanie (Peter) Fox of New Brighton, Sarah (Scott) Shewmake of New Brighton; Diana’s children, Katie (Kyle) Golby of Maple Lake, Kelli Fehn of Monticello; grandchildren, Corbin, Mitchell, Sawyer, Sadler, Kelsey, Ellie, and Eli; and his brother, Rick (Marcia) Johnson of Dassel; sister-in-law, Kim Benson-Johnson of Roseville. He is also survived by several nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by: his parents, Richard and Kathryn Johnson; and a brother, David Johnson.


Charlotte Langanki, 84

Charlotte Rose Langanki, age 84, of Monticello, passed away peacefully at her home on Friday, May 31, 2019. 

She was preceded in death by: her husband of 51 years, Harold; and daughter, Mary.  Charlotte is survived by: sons, Mark (Debra), of Warba, MN, Alan (Faye), of Cokato, Daniel (Kathleen) and Steven (Jackie), both of Monticello; daughters, Barbara Larson, of Elk River, and Bonnie (Dan) Rapinchuk, of Gilbert, AZ; 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Charlotte loved her monthly meetings with her longtime girlfriends, playing games, her grandchildren, and a good argument.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 7, 2019 at St. Henry Catholic Church, 1001 7th Street East in Monticello. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at the Peterson-Grimsmo Chapel, 250 East Broadway in Monticello and beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday at the church. Burial will be at St. Henry Catholic Cemetery.




Brooks Martin, 76

Brooks Martin, age 76, of Center Township died on June 1, 2019 at Golden Horizon’s Assisted Living in Cross Lake. 

He was born in Minneapolis on August 28, 1942 to Maurice and Gladys (Johnson) Martin.  Brooks married Shirley Lutjen on September 11, 1961 in Navarre, Minn.

He was a retired law enforcement officer serving Orono, Howard Lake and Maple Lake Police Departments and the Wright County Sheriff’s office with 30 years of service.  He was a U.S. Navy veteran.  Brooks was a life member of the NRA and was an avid outdoorsman.

Brooks is survived by: his wife, Shirley; one son, Cullen Martin of Merrifield; three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Preceding Brooks in death are: his parents; and one brother, William Martin.

A Memorial Service will be at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at the Koop Funeral Home in Crosby. Visitation will be one hour prior to the services on Saturday.



Elaine Maurer, 88

Elaine F. Maurer, age 88, of Annandale took her heavenly flight and went into the arms of her beloved Savior on Saturday, June 1, 2019. She joined her beloved husband, Donald, in heaven who preceded her in death on April 11, 1982.

Funeral Services were held 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at Heartland Evangelical Free Church, Annandale with Pastor Denny Johnson officiating. Burial followed at Fairhaven Cemetery. Visitation began at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the church. Memorials are preferred to Heartland Evangelical Free Church.

Elaine Frances Merrill was born March 5, 1931 in Little Falls, Minnesota to Murvale and Frances (Vouk) Merrill. She attended school in Little Falls and graduated with the Class of 1949 (The 49ers).

She married Donald F. Maurer on June 18, 1955 at Calvary Baptist Church in St. Cloud, Minnesota, two sons were born to the union, Randy and Tim. They made their home in Fairhaven. Elaine worked at the Little Falls Bakery, Honeywell, Northland Canning Co in Cokato, and National Connections in Cokato for 23 years.

In 1991, she moved to the Goldendale Apartments in Annandale. That same year Elaine then became a foster grandparent at Bendix Elementary. She nurtured many children over the years and in turn the kindergarten kids became her extended family and played an important part of her life. This also resulted in many graduation party invitations over the years. She went by many names, Mom, Grandma Frannie, Grandma Elaine, Nana, Auntie, friend, sister, and most of all, A child of the King Jesus. Elaine was a former member of the Maple Lake Baptist Church and in later years, Annandale Evangelical Free Church, now Heartland Evangelical Free Church. She loved bible studies, liked to read, and embroider dish towels that she gave away as gifts. She loved to play Yahtzee, cribbage, and other board games, and games on the internet but only in Christian game rooms.

Although she couldn’t sing, she loved music and, especially, the old hymns and southern gospel quartets. She was a babysitter to many nieces, nephews, neighborhood kids, and most of all her precious grandchildren: Jason, Brendan, and Taylor. She cherished family get-togethers, her 4th of July gatherings, and the annual family reunions. Elaine would like to be remembered as one forgiven for her sins by her precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And, her love for God, Jesus, her country, and her love and loyalty to her friends and family.

Elaine is survived by: her two sons, Randy (Linda) Maurer, of Buffalo, and Tim (Trudy) Maurer, of Kimball; the loves of her life, her grandchildren, Jason (Kelly), Brendan, and Taylor; two brothers-in-law, Arnie (Marlis), of Texas, and Dick (Eleanor), of Fairhaven; and many nieces, nephews, and other family members and friends.

She was preceded in death by: her husband, Donald; parents, Murvale and Frances Merrill; sisters, Alverna Thole and Marlyn Merrill; brothers, LeRoy, Jerome, and Gene Merrill; and parents-in-law, Emil and Caroline Maurer.

Jim Lahr, Jim Demarais, Don Grant, Mike Grant, John Merrill, and Dick Maurer served as pallbearers, and Jason, Kelly, Brendan and Taylor Maurer as honorary pallbearers. Music was provided by the Jean and Roy Kassel Family.

Arrangements entrusted to Dingmann Funeral Care Burial & Cremation Services of Annandale.

Obituary, Guestbook, Video Tribute, & Funeral Webcast online at www.dingmannfu


Vernetta Schmidt, 92

Vernetta Lorraine Schmidt, 92, formerly of Buffalo, passed away on March 23, 2019.

Please join us for her Celebration of Life, Sunday, June 9, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Huikko’s Bowling & Entertainment Center, 1207 Hwy 25 North, Buffalo.

Private Burial to be held at Fort Snelling Cemetery.






Dorothy Tessmer, 92

Dorothy A. Tessmer (nee Haar) passed away on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at the age of 92 years.

Beloved wife of the late Glenard. Loving mother of Mark (Rosanne), Cynthia (Martin) Moldenhauer, Gretchen (David) Habeck, Juliet (Daniel) Garbow, Karna (Kevin) Naker and Katherine (William) Staab. Also survived by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, three sisters, one brother, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral Service 3 p.m. Sunday, June 16, 2019, at Salem Lutheran Church, 9655 Pioneer Trail, Greenfield. Fellowship to follow. 

If so desired, memorials to Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Elk River appreciated.

Arrangements entrusted to Heritage Funeral Homes.


Merle Winterhalter, 79

Merle Francis Winterhalter went to be with his family in heaven on March 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV.

Merle was born January 4, 1940 to Louis and Catherine Winterhalter in Fletcher, Minn.

He spent his school years in the St. Peter & Paul School District of Loretto. After high school, Merle worked in the automotive trade for 36 years and the wood working at Haugen Lumber in Hanover.

Merle was united in marriage to Betty Millam on July 18, 1964; this union was blessed with three children, Lorie, Timothy and Bradley.

Retirement was spent traveling and camping in Yuma, AZ and ending in Pahrump, NV. Merle was a board member for six years at Preferred RV and purchased a home there where he lived until his death. He was an ambassador at Valley Electric, member of Pahrump Rock Hounds where he enjoyed cutting and polishing rocks. He was also a faithful member at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church.

Merle is survived by: his wife, Betty; children, Timothy Winterhalter, of Monticello, and Bradley Winterhalter, of Buffalo; sister, Faye (Greg) Bakeberg, of Waverly; sisters-in-law Rosie Winterhalter, of Delano, June (Jerry) DeLong, Myrtle (Gary) Robinson, Virginia Robinson and Lori Millam; brothers-in-law Lester (Barb) Millam and Gary Anderson; also many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by: his daughter, Lorie Marie; parents, Louis and Catherine; brother, Ron; and also many more relatives.

Visitation for Merle will be held Friday, June 7, 2019 from 5-8 p.m. at The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo. Mass of Christian Burial for Merle will be Saturday, June 8 at 11:00 a.m. with visitation continuing one hour prior to the mass at the Church of Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Parish of Loretto. Celebrant will be Father Glen Jenson. Interment to be held in the church cemetery following the mass. Luncheon to follow at church.

In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred to the church.


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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