Obituaries 5/23/19

Thomas Armstrong, 57

Thomas Hugh Armstrong, of Spring Park, born on November 3, 1961, passed from this life on May 13, 2019 at the age of 57.

Whether you knew him as Tom, Tommy, Thomas, Army, Dad, Brother, Nephew, Uncle, Co-Worker or Friend - he has left this world and moved on to a much better place.

Preceded in death by: his parents, Hugh Eldon Armstrong and Rose Lynn Armstrong (Germscheid). 

He is survived by: his daughter, Deanna Rose Armstrong; son, Ryan Thomas Armstrong, both of Buffalo. He is also survived by: brothers, Stephen and Paul; sisters, Karen Armstrong and Amy Roelofs (David); several nieces and nephews.

Tom was an avid collector of Royal Doulton mugs and other items to one day pass along to his children. He was a dedicated and loyal employee, working for over 30 years at Honeywell. Tom will be missed by many.

The family wishes to thank everyone for their love and support during this very difficult time.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the family are preferred.

Mass of Christian Burial was held on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Visitation 10:00 a.m., Mass 11:00 a.m. at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church (OLL), 2385 Commerce Boulevard, Mound. Interment immediately followed at the OLL Cemetery. A light lunch was served in the Church Pace Center immediately after the service.

The Rettinger Funeral Home, Long Lake-Orono served the family.


Annette Berg, 61

Annette (Steele) Berg, age 61, of Maple Lake, passed away peacefully May 16, 2019 surrounded by family and friends. Annette was born in Minneapolis on November 12, 1957.

Annette was preceded in death by: her parents; sister, Eileen; and infant daughter Katie Jo. She is survived by: her husband, John; daughter, Nicole (Nathen) Sanner of St. Cloud. Also survived by: her brother, Slim; sisters, Gail (Jim) and Clarice; as well as many other loving relatives and friends.

Our gratitude to the staff at Methodist Hospital many of whom knew her by name from Annette’s many stays over the last few years.

A Celebration of Annette’s Life will be forthcoming

Peterson Chapel, Buffalo,  is serving the family.


Kathleen Bjorklund, 87

Kathleen Frances “Kate” (Rogers) Bjorklund was a middle child born at home three days before Christmas in 1931. Her parents, William and Frances, gave Kate four siblings, Patrick, Rosann, Marvin, and Jane.

Kathleen graduated in the Buffalo High School class of 1949.

In September of 1949, Kathleen married Paul Bjorklund, and they had six children: Judy Bjorklund, Joyce (Tom) Stocke, Jan (Steve) Heyerdahl, Larry (Judy) Bjorklund, Deb (Jim) Shadduck, and Tammy (Dave) Jacobs.

Paul and Kate were blessed with fifteen grandchildren: Christine (Mike) Mortenson, Paul (Steph) Heyerdahl, Jennifer (Curt) Roehrich, Martin (Brittany) Stocke, Danielle (Mike) Goettelman, Michelle Stocke (Caleb Truax), Lisabeth (Joel) Rebney,  Nicoleen (Ross) Meyer, Jessie Bjorklund (Hannes Koenig), Cody Bjorklund, Weston Bjorklund, Michayla Bjorklund, Rebekah Bjorklund, Katie (Dave) Olson and Laura Shadduck.

The grandchildren crowned Paul and Kate with 27 great-grandchildren…so far!

Kate confirmed her reservation in Heaven and checked in on May 15, 2019.

Kate is also survived by: siblings Marvin (Betty) Rogers and Jane Filek.

She was preceded in death by: her husband, Paul L. Bjorklund on June 21, 2015; granddaughter, Laura Shadduck; son-in-law, Thomas Stocke; parents William and Frances Rogers; siblings Rosann Bjorklund and Patrick Rogers.

A Memorial service for Kathleen “Kate” Bjorklund was held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at The United Methodist Church in Buffalo. Pastor Bill Reinhart officiated. Laurie Schroeder provided special music for the service. Inurnment Swedish Mission Cemetery in Buffalo. A visitation was held at the church, Monday, May 20 from 4-8 p.m. Further visitation was held on Tuesday morning, May 21 one hour prior to services at the church.

Honorary Urn Bearers were Kate’s grandchildren.

Urn Bearer was Bruce Bjorklund.

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


Joan Epple, 74

Joan “Joni” Patricia Epple, age 74, of Montrose, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, May 13, 2019. She was born July 9, 1944 in Minneapolis, the daughter of John and Lillie (Anderson) Johnson.

Joni graduated from Buffalo High School and received her nursing degree at Denver Nursing School in Colorado. She worked as a receptionist at Washington Scientific in Long Lake, as a nurse at Ebenezer Nursing Home in Buffalo, with the United States Postal Service in local offices, and as a special aid at MASECO.

On August 18, 1967, Joan Johnson and Herman Epple were united in marriage at Montrose United Methodist Church.

Joni was a faithful member of Montrose United Methodist Church where she was part of the funeral committee, secretary, on the trustee board, and worked many other church activities. She also volunteered with the American Cross Blood Drive, and with the Woodland Community Chest for 39 years.

Joni enjoyed walking, exercising, cross country skiing, playing tennis with the girls, and spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by: her parents, John and Lillie Johnson; infant brother, Harry David Johnson; brother, John M. Johnson; brothers-in-law, Ray Secora, Jim Rassatt; and sister-in-law, Martha Mielke.

Joni is survived by: her loving husband, Herman Epple; daughters, Janelle (Mike) Peart, Annette (Tony) Hafla, Colette (Cristian) Blanco; grandchildren, Nikki and Lexy Peart, Mahri and Nate Hafla, Agustin, Amanda and Antonio Blanco; siblings, Dolly Secora, Lloyd (Orle) Johnson, Roger (Donna) Johnson, Janice (Joe) Kieser, Evelyn Rassatt, Kenny (friend, Nancy) Johnson; sisters-in-law, Mary Lou Johnson, Clara (Harold) Iverson; and many nieces, nephews, family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred in Joni’s name to Montrose United Methodist Church.

A memorial service was held Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 1:00 p.m., with visitation one hour prior, at Montrose United Methodist Church, 230 Center Ave SW, Montrose. Interment at Cassel Cemetery.

Serving the family is The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo.


Harriet Exley, 72

Harriet Marie (Pederson) Exley, age 72, of Buffalo, passed away on May 15, 2019 at the Lake Ridge Care Center.

She grew up in Bemidji and was active in the community, demonstrated by her involvement with First Lutheran Church, Job’s Daughters International and the Girl Scouts.  Her annual summer highlight was attending Blackduck Bible Camp.  Harriet would say, “I looked forward to Bible Camp on the ride home from Bible Camp.”

She attended Bemidji High School and then the Minneapolis School of Business.  This prepared her for a long career in various office support roles.  Prior to retirement, she worked at the local Hallmark and Walmart stores in Buffalo.  

She loved her family dearly and was obsessed by the desire to give “the perfect Christmas present.” This was a year-round endeavor of searching for penny-wise gifts for her beloved three sons, six grandchildren, siblings, family and Lake Ridge Staff. We all knew, “be careful what you say around mom because she is making a list.”

The family would like to thank the staff at Lake Ridge Care Center and the Lakeside Oasis Hospice for their care and attention to Harriet.

She was preceded in death by: husband, Peter Exley; parents, Howard and Shirley Pederson; and brother Bob Pederson.

She is survived by: her three sons, Scott (Kate) Exley, Chris (Heidi) Exley and Jason (Kelly) Exley; grandchildren, Danielle, Christina, Nathan, Nikolas, Analise and Claramae; sisters, Ann (Ray) Farwell and Nell (Mike) Rearick.

Funeral services for Harriet were held on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. with visitation one hour prior to the service all at The Friendship Center at Lake Ridge Care Center of Buffalo. There was desserts and refreshments served following the service at The Friendship Center at Lake Ridge. Casual Graveside were held on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at 2 p.m., Calvary Cemetery, Bemidji. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to family.

Serving the family is The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo.


Jennavieve LeLoup, 42

In loving memory of Jennavieve Ann Brausen LeLoup.

She will be greatly missed by her family and friends. She went to be with our Lord on April 5, 2019.

Jenna attended Annandale schools, and later moved to Buffalo where she lived until her passing. She loved her family, and especially enjoyed spending time with her nieces and nephews. Her dog, Gracie, held a special place in her heart.

She is survived by: her mother, Carol Graunke Brausen of Buffalo; sisters, Julie (Terry) Morrow of Buffalo, Jill Schrupp of Hibbing; brother, James (Kris) Brausen of Annandale; nephews and nieces, Mitch Olson, Matt Olson,, Brooke Olson, Kyle Erickson, Ryan Schrupp, Jade Schrupp, Jordan Brausen, Logan Brausen; special great-niece, Aeverie Erickson; other great-nieces and nephews; and many other relatives.

Jenna was preceded in death by: her father, Garry Brausen; and her grandparents.

A funeral mass will be held Friday, May 31 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Francis Catholic Church in Buffalo.





Raymond Provo, 60

Raymond (Ray) A. Provo, age 60, of Montrose, and formerly of Minneapolis, passed away suddenly from a stroke on May 7, 2019.

Ray was born to Lavonne Bruneau and Phillip Provo on December 18, 1958 in Minneapolis.  Phillip was remarried to Lois who raised him.

Ray worked for 30 plus years at Metal Matic in Minneapolis. When Ray wasn’t fishing or at the casino, he enjoyed spending time with his grandkids at the park or watching “their shows” together. He graduated from Edison high school in 1977. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Ray is survived by: his daughter, Ashley Provo (fiance Nathan Hott) of Montrose; the light of his life, his grandchildren, Damien Wingard (8) and Jackquelyn Britton (5); his brothers, Anthony Provo of Sauk Rapids and Paul Provo of Minneapolis; his sister, Susan Hembree and step-mom, Lois Card both of Washington state; also many nieces, nephews, cousins, and all who called him DAD and many friends.

He was preceded in death by: his parents; sister, Shelia Benson; cousin, Dale Provo; and 2nd cousin Daniel Provo.

Visitation for Ray will be held Thursday, May 16 from 4-7 p.m. with a time of sharing at 7:00 p.m. all at the Peterson Funeral Chapel of Buffalo. Private family interment in Elmwood Cemetery of Rockford to be held at a later date.

Serving the family is The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo.


Joan Schaust, 88

Joan Mary Schaust, age 88, of Delano, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 17, 2019 at her home of 67 years. She was born on August 15, 1930, in Buffalo, to Wilfred and Helen (Reintjes) Hance.

Joan was a graduate of the Buffalo class of 1947 and never missed a reunion. She married George Schaust in 1952, and they had seven children. Aside from being a homemaker, Joan was a leader of a Homemaker Extension group and active with her children in the Willing Workers 4-H Club. 

Joan will be remembered for her love of beautiful sunsets and full moons, but mostly she will be remembered for the love she had for her family. She also enjoyed reading, cooking, baking, flower gardening, spending time at the lake, and dancing to Polkas and Waltzes.

 Joan was preceded in death by: her parents; sister, Kathy Gnitka, and sister-in-law Janet (Bauman) Hance. She is survived by: husband of 67 years, George; children, George Jr. (Gayle) Schaust, Ranee (Rick) Wagner, Lorri (Jeff) Otto, Randy (Dana) Schaust, Steve (Cindy) Schaust, Molly (Brian) Mellgren, Brian (Tammy) Schaust; 15 grandchildren, Heather Daniels, Erica (Seth) Bossert, Andy Schaust, Keith Wagner, Brett Wagner, Ryan (Anne) Otto, Ashley (Adam) Meert, Hannah Schaust, Megan Schaust, Nicholas Mellgren, Kayla (Riley) Dalbey, Scott Mellgren, Allison Schaust, Trevor Schaust, Grace Schaust; nine great-grandchildren, Aurora Daniels, Sam Daniels, Keyton Wagner, Abby Otto, Reese Otto, Liam Young, Kennedy Dalbey, Jackson Dalbey, Carter Mellgren; siblings: Jerry (Dee) Hance, Estelle (Matt) Schaust, Rita (Arnold) Kunkel, Edward (Erva) Hance, Larry (Diane) Hance; and brother-in-law, Ralph Gnitka. 

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at St. Peter Catholic Church in Delano.  Visitation will be Tuesday, 4 to 8 p.m. with a 3:30 p.m. rosary service and 7:45 p.m. prayer service in Martha’s Hall of St. Peter Catholic Church. Visitation will continue Wednesday, 10 to 11 a.m. prior to the Mass, in Martha’s Hall. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery in Delano. 

Arrangements by the Iten Funeral Home in Delano.


Winton Schleif, 91

Winton H. Schleif, age 91 of Buffalo, formerly of Denver, CO and Apache Junction, AZ, passed away peacefully on May 15, 2019.

He was born on August 20, 1927 in Rockford Township, to Edward Schleif and Anna “Minnie” Otterdahl. He attended high school in Buffalo, and graduated with the class of 1945.

Not long after high school, Winton was united in marriage with his high school sweetheart, Joan Peterson, at Buffalo Covenant Church on February 17, 1949. Together they raised three children.

Winton and his family moved several times; they lived in Denver and many other cities in Colorado for quite some time, until finally moving back to Minnesota. He owned and operated his own masonry company, Schleif Masonry, from 1951 until his retirement in 1990. He and Joan moved to Arizona after his retirement.

In his retirement years, he was able to enjoy spending more time hunting, fishing, tending his garden, and collecting rocks. He would polish them and create many unique pieces of jewelry, often selling them or giving them away as gifts to friends. He also made polished canes and walking sticks out of diamond willow wood for family and friends. 

He and Joan were also active in the church; Joan would play the organ, and Winton would sing. He was a member of the Bisonaires and loved singing with the choir.

Winton was preceded in death by: his wife, Joan; parents; one sister; eight brothers; and one great-grandson.

He is survived by: his children, Cyndi (Gary) Bonk, Sandy Cox, and Kevin Schleif; grandchildren, Heidi Annala and Hilary (Jacob) Becker, and Jason (Doreen), Justin (Joy), and Josh (Dawn) Bonk; 13 great-grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; sister, Melba Louisiana; brother, Jim Schleif; and foster daughter and her son, Nikki and Zac Svalberg.

A Memorial Service was held Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 11 a.m. with visitation one hour prior at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Buffalo. Inurnment immediately followed at the Swedish Mission Church in Buffalo.

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


Terese Thielen, 56

Terese (“Teri”) May Thielen, age 56, of Buffalo, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, May 17, 2019 with family and friends by her side, after a six-and-a-half year battle with ovarian cancer.

Teri grew up in Chicago, IL, and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1980. She attended the College of St. Benedict, where she graduated with a degree in Biology in 1984. Starting with her training as a medical technologist through an internship at the then St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center, she worked for nearly 35 years as a laboratory medical technologist and computer analyst at Regions Hospital and HealthPartners.

Teri adored her husband and two sons. Her deep faith in God was exemplified through her daily acts of kindness, generosity, selflessness, and love for others around her. As she courageously found the strength to fight the “beast,” her faith became stronger and deepened. She will always be admired and be an inspiration to many for these qualities. Teri freely give her opinion, but bestowed wisdom and insight that provided a unique perspective. She was sentimental and loved volunteering at church, spending time outdoors, reading, and playing cards or board games with those that she loved. She was also a lifelong, die-hard fan of the Chicago Bears.

Her dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment to her career and co-workers was exceptional. Teri simply loved life and impacted so many lives on so many levels that her legacy will live in the hearts and minds of many for years to come.

Teri is survived by her husband of 23 years, Edward; two sons, Jonathan (22) and Joshua (20); parents, George and Lorraine Swindells of Pueblo West, CO; brothers, Tim and Gary Swindells; sisters, Donna Ondriska and Shari Hayes; mother-in-law, Betty Thielen; many cousins, nieces, and nephews, and countless friends. She was preceded in death by: her father-in-law, Leo Thielen.

Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 11 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Buffalo, with burial following at the St. Francis Xavier Cemetery. A visitation will be held the hour prior to Mass, and the wake will be at St. Francis Xavier the evening prior on Thursday, May 23, from 4 to 9 p.m. The wake will include a prayer service starting at 7 p.m. with Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.

In lieu of flowers, Teri asked that donations be made out to Sharing and Caring Hands ( or Feed My Starving Children (

Arrangements are with the Peterson Chapel in Buffalo.


Beverly Wicks, 80

Beverly Ann Wicks, age 80, of Big Lake, formerly of Buffalo, passed away peacefully on May 17, 2019, with family by her side.

She was born June 5, 1938 in Minneapolis, the daughter of Otto and Viola Glampe. She was united in marriage to Carl Wicks on June 9, 1956. Beverly loved fishing, bowling, dancing and painting.

She was preceded in death by: her parents; her brother, Merle; and her beloved husband, Carl.

She is survived by: sons, John Wicks (Pat) of Howard Lake, Kurt Wicks of Motley; daughter, Cindy Nelson (Brad) of Andover; grandsons, Benjamin Barney (Stacy) and Quinton Wicks (Vanessa); great-grandchildren, Calista, Tyler and Camden; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Beverly will be greatly missed by all. Her life will be honored at a private family service.


Todd Yantes, 57

Todd Michael Yantes, age 57, of Buffalo, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, May 10, 2019. He was born August 2, 1961 in Buffalo.

Todd was a 1979 graduate of Cooper High School in New Hope. He was a dedicated milk man with Kemps and Dairy Fresh for many years.

Todd enjoyed fishing, golfing, and spending time with his family. He was very artistic and a competitive man, and an avid Chicago Bears fan.

Todd was preceded in death by: his grandparents, Eldon “Pat” and Ina Ahlm, Ambrose and Leona Yantes; step-father, Tom Miller; aunt and uncle, Shirley and Kevin Hayes; cousin, Bryan Yantes; and beloved dog, Mickey.

Todd is survived by: his mother, Judy Miller; father, Ralph (Jeanne) Yantes; children, Travis Yantes, Nicole (Jeremy) Yantes-Petersen; sisters, Tawnya (Stephen) Stark, Tami (Dave) Cardinal; Lori Romey; and many other family and friends.

A funeral service for Todd was held Friday, May 17, 2019 at 5:30 p.m., with visitation beginning at 2:30 p.m., at The Peterson Chapel, 300 Main St N, St. Michael.

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


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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