Obituaries 5/2/19

Jeraldine Vetsch, 96

Jeraldine Clara Vetsch, age 96, of Albertville, passed away Monday, April 22, 2019. She was born October 6, 1922, in Maple Lake, the daughter of Francis and Anne (Otten) Lemieux.

Jeraldine was raised in Maple Lake and later farmed in Albertville with her husband, Harold.

On September 4, 1946, Jeraldine Lemieux and Harold Vetsch were united in marriage at the Church of St. Timothy in Maple Lake.

Jeraldine enjoyed playing bingo, quilting, gardening, and spending time with her family. She was a faithful member of St. Albert’s Catholic Church in Albertville and was a member of the CCW.

She was preceded in death by: her husband, Harold Vetsch; son, Stanley Vetsch; two infant sons; infant daughter; and siblings, Maggie, Ardell and Jude.

Jeraldine is survived by: her children, Lyle (Nancy) Vetsch, Kevin (Theresa) Vetsch, Gary Vetsch, Denise Eull; daughter-in-law, Sandi Vetsch; 10 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; and many loving family and friends.

Visitation was held Sunday, April 28, 2019 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., a prayer service was at 7:00 p.m., at St. Albert’s Catholic Church in Albertville. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Monday, April 29, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. with visitation one hour prior, at St. Albert’s Catholic Church in Albertville with Father Joe Zabinski as Celebrant. Burial followed at St. Albert’s Cemetery in Albertville.

Serving the family was The Peterson Chapel St. Michael-Albertville Funeral Home.


Mildred Pipal, 92

Mildred Adeline Pipal, was born in Howard Lake, Minnesota on February 26, 1927, to William and Adaline Tuey.  She grew up in Cokato and was baptized at the First Baptist Church.  She graduated from Cokato High School in 1945.

On May 6, 1949 Mildred married Donald Pipal at the First Baptist Church officiated by Rev. A.E. Appelquist.  They made their home first in Cokato but soon moved to Mound.  There they raised their family.  Mildred worked as secretary at the Maple Plain Community Church for many years. After she retired, she spent much of her time enjoying her grandchildren.  She loved knitting, baking, fishing and laughing with her family.

Mildred went to be with her Savior on April 26, 2019.  She had reached the age of 92 years, and 2 months. Her love of life, wisdom and humor will be dearly missed.

Survivors include her 3 children: Vicki Pipal of Howard Lake, Doug (Teresa) of Buffalo, and Dennis (Sara) of Montrose.  Grandchildren: Adam Pipal and Adison Pipal. Sister: Grace Nelson.

She was preceded in death by her parents William and Adaline Tuey, husband Donald, sisters: Bonnie Johnson, Helen Harms, Betty Ring, and brother Denton Tuey.

Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Cokato and Howard Lake, 320-286-2534.


Harriet Otten, 97

Harriet Elizabeth Otten, 97, of Buffalo, passed away Thursday, April 25, 2019.

She was born on February 8, 1922 on the family farm in Frankford Township. The daughter of Frank and Phyllis Niesen Blake. Harriet was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith.

On May 6, 1943, she married Canute Otten in St. Michael at the Catholic Church. She was a faithful member of St. Francis Catholic Church.

Harriet is survived by: son, David (Donna); daughters, Karen (Rod) Cavalier, Judy Collins, Patty Wirgau, Lisa (Perry) Marquette; grandsons, Aaron (Nicole) Marquette, Craig (Jolee) Marquette, granddaughters, Teresa (Glenn) Kaminski, Sara (David) Berning and Amy (Braden) French; great-grandchildren Isaac, Samuel, Elizabeth and Hannah Marquette, Natalee and John Marquette, Dana Berning and Elijah Kaminski; brother, Franklin Blake.

She was preceded in death by: husband, Canute Otten; grandson, Jason Marquette; son-in-laws, Lynn Collins and Cecil Wirgau; parents, Frank and Phyllis; sisters, Delsie Kobs, Equina Eicher, Esther Marquette, Pearl Otten; brothers, Alvin, Jerome and Vernon; sister-in-laws, Bernice Robasse, Virginia Arquette; brother-in-laws, Cuthbert, Egedious and Adrian.

Graveside service will be at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, Buffalo, on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.


Jean Olson, 87

Jean M (Abel) Olson passed away peacefully April 22 at the age of 87. 

On August 25th, 1931 she along with her twin brother James Abel, were born to Florence (Wren) and Ivory Abel in Buffalo. Jean has been a tough little cookie since the day she was born; a miracle child weighing less than 3 pounds. They brought her home and kept her in a shoe box close to the wood stove to keep her warm and she lived a long and healthy life. 

She married her high school sweetheart Murley Olson and they were together for over 63 years. They had two daughters, Karen and Diane, and worked side by side for many years. They farmed, owned and operated the Gambles Hardware Store in Buffalo and later owned and operated Gas Repair Service. She also worked for Wright County, ASCS, FHA and retired from Federal Land Bank.  Together they enjoyed fishing, and had a great time with many friends.  Jean loved to sew and do counted cross stitch.  She sewed and donated 64 baby quilts in 2018.

She is survived by: her daughters, Karen Sargent (Patrick Wheeler) and Diane Gapinski (Al); grandchildren, Nicole Sargent and Jacob Gapinski; great-grandson, Alex Sargent; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Harriet (Olson) and Edward Ivers; one niece; five nephews; and former son-in-law, Jim Sargent. 

She was preceded in death by: her husband, Murley Olson; parents; brother and sister-in-law, James and Jeanette Abel; and grandson, Jason Sargent.

Memorial Service was held Saturday, April 27, at 11 a.m. Visitation was two hours prior at Buffalo United Methodist Church. Interment followed at Pelican Lake Methodist Cemetery in Buffalo.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo. Online condolences for the family may be directed to


Byron Oistad, 82

Byron “Bob” J. Oistad, age 82 of Buffalo, passed away April 24, 2019 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was born on March 12, 1937 in Karlstad, MN to Loyal and Berenice (Swanson) Oistad. Bob graduated from high school in Karlstad with the class of 1955, and continued his education at the prestigious United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the Academy in 1959.

Bob met his future wife Irene Fraser in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1958. The two corresponded before being united in marriage on May 3, 1962 at the San Diego Naval Air Station. Bob served as a U.S. Naval Aviator for 10 years including two cruises supporting Vietnam combat operations.  He was extremely proud to serve his country for over 10 years.  In 1969 he began flying for Northwest Airlines, retiring in 1995.

After retirement Bob was able to spend more time enjoying his favorite activities, golfing, hunting, fishing, and spending time with his family and close friends.

Bob is preceded in death by his parents, Loyal and Berenice; and three brothers, James, Dean, and Leon.

He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Irene; children, Eric (Lori), Bruce (Dawn), Kristin, and Peter; grandchildren, Trevor, Olivia, Veronica, James “Jack,” Xavier, and Sophia; sister, LaVonne (Curt) Lundeen; and many other relatives and friends.

A celebration of life will be held to honor Bob’s life on May 5 from 1 to 3 p.m., with a brief service at 2:30 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, and in Karlstad, MN later this summer.

Interment will take place at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to the Salvation Army, Red Cross, USO or the donor’s choice of charity.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo. Online condolences for the family may be directed to


Robert Melcher, 97

Robert Russell Melcher was born Feb. 24, 1922, in Sioux City, Iowa. He was the eldest of three sons. The family moved to Ashton, Iowa where he grew up in the house his grandfather, John Melcher, had built by hand. His Aunts, Helen and Susan, kept an eye on Bob and his brother, JD, while Bob’s dad, Tony Melcher, was on the road as a salesman of plumbing supplies. During summers, Bob often traveled with his dad throughout his territory, which stretched from Montana to Wisconsin. After attending St. Mary’s grade school in Ashton, he graduated from Ashton High School in 1939.

Bob attended St. Thomas College in St. Paul, Minnesota, for freshman year and then transferred to the U of M where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering in 1943. He worked for Pratt and Whitney Aircraft for a year before entering the US Navy, where he became a Radioman Second Class and served in the South Pacific theater. Upon discharge in 1946, he returned home to work as a salesman for Layne Drilling Company in Minneapolis.

A redhead, Lorraine Bigelow, caught Bob’s eye at an Annunciation Parish spring dance. He introduced himself, and they had a marvelous evening. Weeks went by before she heard from him again. In fact, she had concluded he was not interested. Easter Sunday, he called at the Bigelow house and asked Lorraine out again. Only then did he reveal that he was sure Lorraine was the kind of girl who would not date during Lent. Before long, Bob wanted to marry her. Lorraine said “yes, but first, I need to complete my St. Catherine’s degree”. A week after graduation, they were married, June 11, 1949.

In July 1950, their first child was born, followed by eight more children over the next 12 years. Bob seldom missed the opportunity to say how proud he was of this family. He was present to them as provider, teacher, man of faith, and barber.

In 1955, he and friends, Wayne Riethmiller, Ralph Eisele and Clarence Berthiaume, founded Tri-State Drilling Company in Hamel, Minnesota.  Over the years it has grown to over 70 employees, including members of the various families, working from Alaska to Florida. He treasured the many friends he made during his professional career, finally retiring at the age of 94. 

One of Bob’s loves was music. He combined his music with his faith life, singing in Our Lady of Grace choir (1953-1960) and St. Francis Xavier choir (1960-2011). He also shared the gift of his resounding bass voice as lector at St. Francis Xavier. He and Lorraine taught CCD religious education classes to teen members of St. Francis Parish. Bob was also active in Serra Club.

Bob’s community involvement included serving on the Buffalo school board, being a founding member of Buffalo Heights Golf Course, and bass voice in the Buffalo Bisonaire’s men’s chorus.

Bob’s life was built on the foundations of family, faith, fidelity and professionalism. Bob treasured all his relationships, and his generosity improved the lives of many whom he encountered. 

Bob was born into eternal life on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019.

He is survived by: Lorraine, his wife of 69-3/4 years; his children, John (Liz) Melcher, Kathy (Randy) Mummert, Mary Kay (Tom) Mans, Greg (Claire) Melcher, Anne (Jim) Leuthner, Steve (Mary) Melcher, Jim (Ruth) Melcher, Charlie (Karen) Melcher, Rich (Sandra) Melcher; twenty grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Ginny (Greg) DiNovis; and brother Tom (Diane) Melcher, and many nieces and nephews.

Bob was preceded in death by: his parents, Tony and Nell; step mother, Edwina; his brothers, Sen. John D. Melcher and Patrick; his nephew, David; and grandson, Jesse.

Visitation was held on Monday, April 29, 2019, 4 to 8 p.m., at St. Francis Church- 300 1st Ave. NW Buffalo. Funeral Mass was on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 11 a.m., at St. Francis Church, with visitation one hour prior to the funeral. Interment immediately followed, at St. Francis Cemetery. Funeral lunch was served in St. Francis Social Hall followed after the internment.

Memorials in lieu of flowers to Red Cloud Indian Mission, 100 Mission Drive, Red Cloud SD 57770.

Serving the family was The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo.


Crystal Mathews, 64

Crystal Mathews was born Crystal Lynnae Imsdahl on November 23, 1954, in Duluth, Minnesota, to Montelle J. and Shirley W. Imsdahl. The family later moved to Buffalo in 1964 where Crystal attended the Buffalo school system. She graduated from Buffalo Senior High in 1973. Over the years Crystal worked as a radio DJ, a waitress, a Mary Kay beauty consultant, and a truck driver. She has been co-owner of Trans-Cargo Logistics since 2006.

Crystal married Greg Mathews on October 18th, 1997.

Crystal was an animal lover. Over the years, she owned horses, rabbits, dogs, cats, a raccoon, and a goat. At one time she owned a hobby farm in Milaca Minnesota. She also enjoyed riding her Harley motorcycle with her husband Greg. They traveled together and liked to camp with friends at biker events. They often attended motorcycle rallies at Sturgis in South Dakota. She was outgoing with a heart of gold, had a good sense of humor, and always had a big smile. She loved her husband Greg and their dogs Maggie, Moji, and Tessa, and her cat Gypsy.

Crystal died peacefully in her sleep on April 26, 2019 at her home after a short fight with cancer. Crystal Mathews is survived by her husband Greg Mathews of Buffalo, father Montelle (Margaret) Imsdahl of Buffalo, brother Bradley (Susan) Imsdahl of Becker, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles. She was preceded in death by her mother Shirley W. Moe.

A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 10, 2019 at Zion Lutheran Church, 1200 Highway 25 S., Buffalo, Minnesota. Visitation will be from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the church. A dinner will be served at the church following the service.

The family would like to thank the health care workers from the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute, the Allina Health Hospice care workers, and her cousin Monica for taking such good care of Crystal in her final days.

The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo is serving the family. Online condolences may be made to www.thepeterson


Totten Jewett, 85

Totten Truman Jewett, age 85, of rural Buffalo passed away on Monday, April 22, 2019 at St. Mary’s Care Center in Winsted.

He was born on February 25, 1934 in Marysville Township, Wright County, the son of Henry & Rose (Lambert) Jewett.

Totten honorably served his Country in The United States Army.

On September 19, 1959, Totten T. Jewett and Joyce M. Sink were joined in holy marriage at the Clearwater United Methodist Church.  God blessed their marriage with three children.

Totten engaged in farming in Chatham Township, Wright County for many years.

He enjoyed deer hunting, fishing, playing cards and playing the accordion.

Totten is survived by: his children, Allen Jewett and fiancé Billie of Buffalo, Paul (Kate) Jewett and Kimberly (Steve) Koosman all of Howard Lake; six grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren; a sister, Daisy Russ; many other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by: his wife, Joyce M. Jewett on October 23, 1987; his parents; brothers, Wesley Jewett and Vernon “Sonny” Jewett; sisters, Veretta Jewett, Ione Jewett and Dolly Grangroth.

Funeral services for Totten Jewett were held on Monday, April 29th, 2019 at 12 noon at The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo. Pastor Jack Heidenreich officiated. Interment with military rites followed at Lakeview Cemetery in Buffalo. A visitation was held on Monday, April 29th from 10:00 a.m. until time of service at the funeral home.

Casket Bearers were Totten’s six grandchildren: Jamie Remer, Matthew Hausladen, Bradly Koosman, Andrew Truman Koosman, Henry Jewett and Ashley Nowak.

The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo served the family.  Online condolences may be made to


Diane Asfeld, 53

Diane Kay Peterson Asfeld, age 53, of Watertown passed away on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at Delano Estates.

She was born on October 11, 1965 in Watertown the daughter of Glen & Adelle C. (Swanson) Peterson.

Diane was baptized on October 24, 1965 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown.   She was instructed in the Lutheran Catechism and confirmed in the Christian faith on April 26, 1981 at Trinity Lutheran Church.           

She gave birth to Brianna Kay Peterson on May 7, 1989 at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale.

Diane graduated from Watertown High School in 1984 and later attended  Mankato State University for two years.

On September 7, 2002, Diane K. Peterson and Gordan P. Asfeld were joined in holy marriage at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown. 

Diane was formerly employed as an Insurance Adjustor.

She enjoyed sewing, especially making quilts, reading, garage sales and collecting antiques.

Diane was a life-long member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown.

Survived by her loving husband: Gordan P. Asfeld; children: Brianna Kay Peterson, Brandy Marie Asfeld and Gordan Michael Asfeld all of Watertown; grandchildren: Nathan, Collin, Gabriel, Shawn and Brendon; her mother: Adelle Peterson of Delano; siblings: Sandy (Lucian) Vittori, Ronald Peterson, James (Dawn) Peterson, Jerry (Patti) Peterson, Carol Emal and special friend Steve, Nancy Peterson and special friend Leo, Donna (Gary) Anderson and Jeff Peterson; several nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Preceded in death by her father Glen Peterson, father-in-law George Asfeld and a nephew Tyler “Chuck” Peterson.

Funeral services for Diane Peterson Asfeld will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown.  Pastor Jeffrey M. Engholm will officiate.

Interment will be held on Tuesday, May 7 at 1:15 p.m. at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

A visitation will be held on Tuesday, May 7 one hour prior to services at the church.

Casket Bearers will be Mike Peterson, Travis Peterson, Collin Asfeld, Gabriel Misner, Shawn Misner, Tom Jacobs and David Jacobs.

The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo is serving the family.  Online condolences may be made to


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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