Robert Allen Neff

October 23, 2014

July 8, 1933 – Oct. 8, 2014

obit Bob Neff

Memorial services for Bob Neff, age 81 of Plains, Mont., formerly of Hendricks, will be held Friday, Oct. 24, 1 p.m. at Grace U.M.C. in Hendricks. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m.
Robert Allen Neff was born at home to Martha (Schindler) Neff and Charles Neff on July 8, 1933. He grew up in McClusky, N.D. and started working at the young age of 11, delivering telegrams during WWII. Church was an important part of the lives of this family. After graduation he joined the U.S. Navy and proudly served his country during the Korean War as a radio technician.
Upon completing his Navy days, he continued his education at N.D. University where he met his future wife Bonnie Ungerecht. They were married June 9, 1957 and made their first home in Fresno, Calif. where Bob completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Education. His first teaching job was in Victorville, Calif. In 1966 they moved to Plains, Mont., to another teaching job. Bob also completed his studies for administration and in 1969 moved to Melstone, Mont. where he was superintendent of a small-town school. In 1974 they moved to Northome, where Bonnie had grown up. Bob was high school principal there. At the various locations he coached boys and girls basketball, girls volleyball, and track. He was a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts, active in the American Legion, the Lions Club in Plains and later Kiwanis in Hendricks.
In 1986 Bob was inspired go into the ministry, attended Garrett Seminary and was a pastor for most of his remaining years. After serving the United Methodist Church in Northome, he and Bonnie moved to Hendricks. He served churches in Hendricks, Ivanhoe, Lake Benton and Walnut Grove, until he was diagnosed with cancer in June 2012. He continued preaching for another year, then he and Bonnie moved back to Plains, Mont. to be near their daughter.
Bob and Bonnie actively enjoyed each place where they lived. Bob was devoted to his family, helping the people around him, and serving his Lord. He enjoyed joshing with his friends, working for Hospice, doing community work and having his children and grandchildren around him. He had a passion for the people of Haiti and made several mission trips there, so in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Haiti Solar Oven Project (HSOP). Thank you.
Bob left his old, worn-out body on Oct. 8 at the age of 81¼ years to receive a new body and share with old friends in praising their Lord. He will be missed by family and friends on this earth.
Surviving Bob is Bonnie, his wife of 57 years; children, Kevin (Carol) of St. Paul, Sandra Jirasko of Paradise, Mont., and Robert J. (Toni) Neff of Lake Zurich, Ill.; three brothers, LaVerne of Williston, N.D., Harold of Bismarck, N.D., and Richard of Spokane, Wash.
Preceding him in death were his parents, two sisters, Dorothy and Janet, and one brother, Don

Darrell Apelgrain

October 17, 2014

Sept. 12, 1942 – Oct. 3, 2014

Darrell Apelgrain, age 72 of Marshall, passed away Friday, Oct. 3 at Prairie Home Hospice House in Marshall.
Funeral services were Wednesday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Marshall. Visitation was held one hour prior to the service on Wednesday at the church.
Arrangements were provided by the Hamilton Funeral Home in Marshall. Online obituaries and guest book available at
Darrell Eugene Apelgrain was born Sept. 12, 1942 in Long Prairie to Vernon and Emma (Bangert) Apelgrain. He was baptized as an infant and confirmed in his youth in the Lutheran faith. He attended Long Prairie schools, graduating with the Long Prairie High School Class of 1960. He went on to get an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota. On May 4, 1963 Darrell was united in marriage to Caroline Pederson at Faith Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. The couple made their homes in Minneapolis, then Marshall.
Darrell worked for the Minnesota Highway Department while living in Minneapolis for 13 years. In 1979 the couple moved to Marshall, where they had lived since. He worked for the Area II River Basin Project, engineering flood and runoff waters around Marshall until his retirement.
His enjoyments in life included working on engines and cars, fixing up the house, crossword puzzles and reading. He truly enjoyed learning about his family genealogy and spending time with his grandchildren.
Darrell is survived by his wife Caroline of Marshall; daughter Lori (Mark) Thooft of Hendricks; four grandchildren—Anthony (Kristi), Janelle (Kyle), Derrick and Shawn; sister Bonnie Radtke of Blaine and nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Darrell was preceded in death by his parents Vernon and Emma Apelgrain.
Blessed be his memory.

Erma Ochocki

October 17, 2014

obit Erma Ochocki picDec. 31, 1918 – Oct. 4, 2014

Erma Ochocki, age 95 of Canby, passed away Saturday, Oct. 4 at the Sylvan Court Nursing Home in Canby.
Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Canby with Father Craig Timmerman as the Celebrant.Visitation was 5-7 p.m. on Friday at Birk Funeral Home with a prayer service at 7 p.m. and a Rosary following. Visitation continued from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Birk Funeral Home, followed by procession to the church for Mass. Burial was in St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery.
Erma Lillian Ochocki was born Dec. 31, 1918 to Otto and Mary (Hemish) Schwartz in Hansonville Township, Lincoln County. As a young girl she attended country school in District 36 in Hansonville Township. Erma married Michael B. Ochocki on Sept. 17, 1940 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Canby and to this union they were blessed with four children. They farmed together until Michael passed away on Sept. 2, 1969. She lived her entire life in Hansonville Township until she moved to Canby in 1974. After moving to Canby she received her GED, while she was in her 60s. For many years she was a cook and housekeeper for Father Guetter. On Feb. 19, 2007, she moved to the Sylvan Court Nursing Home.
She loved her bingo trips with her friends and an occasional trip to the casino. Erma was a real pro with her crossword puzzles. In her younger years she enjoyed playing the piano. She also enjoyed playing games and cards with her family and friends. After moving to the nursing home, she spent a lot of time putting together jigsaw puzzles. The more pieces it had just meant it took her a couple extra days to finish. Erma put over 100 puzzles together for family and friends and they are hanging all over the nursing home and in many homes.
Erma was a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, where she served on the CCW group and the Quilting Ladies. She was also a member of the ZCBJ Lodge. She was active with the mission sewing group.
Erma is survived by her four children, Michael J. (Louise) Ochocki of Elk River, Ralph (Kathy) Ochocki of Hendricks, Monica (Ed) English of Kingsville, Mo., and Kevin (Deb) Ochocki of Canby; 11 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; four step-great-grandchildren; five great-great grandchildren; one step-great-great-grandchild and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, grandsons Leon and Danny Ochocki, sisters Emily Ochocki and Mildred Vernlund and brother Otto Schwartz, Jr.
Blessed be her memory.

Kiar Nielsen

October 17, 2014

obit Nielsen, Kiar - photoJune 27, 1929 – Oct. 9, 2014

Funeral service for Kiar Nielsen, age 85 of Tyler, was Monday, Oct. 13 at 10:30 a.m. at Danebod Lutheran Church in Tyler.
Visitation with viewing was Sunday from 3-6 p.m. with a prayer service at 5 p.m., all at Danebod Lutheran Church. Burial will be at a later date.
He died Thursday, Oct. 9 at Tyler Healthcare Center in Tyler.
Arrangements were provided by Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft-Johansen Chapel in Tyler. Send online condolences and view a video tribute at
Niels Kiar Nielsen was born June 27, 1929 to Niels and Mary (Jensen) Nielsen in Tyler. He was baptized on Aug. 11, 1929 at Danebod Lutheran Church in Tyler and confirmed there on May 2, 1943. He grew up on the family farm and attended eight years of country school. For his high school education he attended West Central School of Agriculture in Morris, returning to the farm after graduation. On Sept. 30, 1951 Kiar married Corlene Johnson at Calvary Lutheran Church in Hendricks. Their union was blessed with three sons and 63 years of life together. He started farming with his father, a profession he continued until he retired on Oct. 9. Kiar was briefly hospitalized at Tyler Healthcare Center, where, on Thursday, Oct. 9, he died at the age of 85. Kiar was a lifetime member of Danebod Lutheran Church. He served on the Tyler Elevator Board for many years and was a member of the Masons. He was a farmer through and through, who especially enjoyed working with his cattle. In 2009 he accomplished his life goal of traveling to Denmark to visit his relatives. He also liked to garden and he treasured the time spent with his family.
Kiar is lovingly remembered by his wife Corlene; his sons, Gary, Randy and his wife Diana, and Richard, all of Tyler; three granddaughters, Kristy (Brandon) Gifford of Ivanhoe, Tammi (Neil) Hennen of Brooklyn Park, and Leanna Eastman of Sioux Falls, S.D.; eight great-grandchildren—Kira, Cody and Brady Gifford, Drew, Ryan and Isaiah Hennen, and Violet and Isaac Eastman; a sister, Lillian (Frank) Miller of Hemet, Calif.; and many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Werner and his half-brother Richard Jensen.
Blessed be his memory.

Donald Sneen

October 2, 2014

obit Sneen 1393011_profile_picJuly 5, 1930 – Sept. 5, 2014

Funeral services for Dr. Donald J. Sneen, age 84 of Sioux Falls, S.D., were Saturday, Sept. 13, at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. Visitation was 5-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12 at Miller Funeral Home, Sioux Falls. He passed away Friday, Sept. 5.
Donald Sneen was born in Eau Claire, Wisc. on July 5, 1930, the youngest of six children. The family lived on a farm near Elk Mound, Wisc. He graduated from high school in Menomonie, Wisc. and went to college at Eau Claire State for three years before transferring to St. Olaf College, where he graduated in 1952. He then attended Luther Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary where he received his Doctorate of Theology.
Don and Jean (Jensen) were married on Aug. 28, 1954 and recently celebrated their 60th anniversary. After graduation, they accepted a call to the parish of North Valley Lutheran in Milltown, Wisc. and Laketown Lutheran in Cushing, Wisc. In 1960 they moved to Yardley, Pa. while he attended Princeton Seminary. After graduation, they moved to Sioux Falls, S.D., where he served as an assistant pastor at Hope Lutheran Church for four years and taught religion at Augustana College for 33 years. His expertise was on the New Testament with an emphasis on the Paulian Epistles. He especially enjoyed teaching Capstone courses with professors from other disciplines. He led six trips to Israel and spent a sabbatical semester there studying with scholars from around the world. After retirement in 1995, he served as interim pastor for several churches and did hospital and nursing home visitation. He authored four books, two on the book of Revelation, one on the early Lutheran faith in South Dakota and another on the history of Augustana College.
Don was a quiet, gentle soul who demonstrated his faith by living it daily. His close friends and family enjoyed his quirky sense of humor. He enjoyed spending time at the family cabin and going to the nearby town of Hendricks to speak Norwegian with the locals in the coffee shop.
Don is survived by his wife Jean; his children David (Kathy), Cathy (Cary) and Beth (Robert), all of Sioux Falls, S.D.; eight grandchildren—Melissa (Ryan) Burke of Roseville and Sarabeth (Joe) Kelly of Shoreview, Stephanie and Mallory Wencil and Chris, Katie, Anna and Michael Vroman of Sioux Falls, S.D.; four great-grandchildren—Lyla and Kieran Burke and Izziahna and Ayvalyn Anderson. He was preceded in death by his parents Joe and Betsy Sneen and five siblings—Adrian, Evelyn, Gladys, Philip and Florence.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Augustana College, Lutheran World Relief or First Lutheran Board of Outreach.

Gwendolyn Clausen

September 26, 2014

obit Clausen GwendolynOct. 10, 1920 – Sept. 21, 2014

Gwendolyn Clausen, age 93 of Hendricks, passed away Sunday, Sept. 21 at the Hendricks Community Hospital.
Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at Birk Funeral Home in Hendricks with Rev. Dr. David Christenson officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Hendricks. Online guestbook at Arrangements are with Birk Funeral Home of Hendricks.
Gwendolyn Beatrice Hinsverk was born Oct. 10, 1920 in Hendricks, the daughter of Peter and Louise (Sagmoe) Hinsverk. She was baptized and confirmed at Calvary Lutheran Church in Hendricks. She graduated from Hendricks High School with the Class of 1938. She attended Deaconess School of Nursing and worked as a Registered Nurse in the Hendricks Hospital and for the Brookings School District before entering the US Army.
On July 5, 1947, she married Warren Vincent Clausen. After living in North Dakota for a short time, they made their home at the Belmont Apartment Hotel in Minneapolis. This became her home for the last 67 years. She was employed as a special duty nurse by the Franklin Nursing Home, which later became the Ebenezer Nursing Home, in Minneapolis for many years. She and Warren built a cabin on Lake Hendricks in 1968 and after their retirement enjoyed spending many summers at the lake. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was always full of fun and laughter. Her many enjoyments included traveling, going to concerts, casinos, playing cards and dice games and watching television. Before failing eyesight due to macular degeneration, she enjoyed crossword puzzles, embroidery and crocheting.
She will be lovingly remembered by her daughters, Linda (Russell) Pitzl, Vicki Clausen and Bonnie (Al) Haines; son Wayne Clausen (special friend, Debra Gunnes); grandchildren Eric (Leann) Pitzl, Jason Pitzl and Danielle (Dave) Wagner; great-grandchildren Emma Pitzl, Kimberly Wagner and Erin Wagner, and a host of family and friends from Hendricks and the Belmont Apartments.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sister and brother-in-law Eda and Teddy Mathison, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law Lester and Audrey Clausen.
Blessed be her memory.

Brett Kurth

September 12, 2014

obit Brett Kurth picDec. 9, 1970 – Sept. 5, 2014

Brett Kurth, age 43 of Minneapolis, formerly of Hendricks, passed away at his residence on Friday, Sept. 5.

Funeral service was at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 12 at Grace United Methodist Church in Hendricks with Pastor Cynthia Hopp officiating. Visitation was prior to the service at the church from 9:30-11 a.m. Burial will be at a later date. Birk Funeral Home of Hendricks was entrusted with the arrangements.

Brett Davis Kurth was born on Dec. 9, 1970 in Hendricks to David and Sylvia (Nielsen) Kurth. He was baptized and confirmed at Grace United Methodist Church in Hendricks. He graduated from Hendricks High School in 1989. Following graduation, he attended South Dakota State University and obtained his Bachelors of Science degree in computer science. Brett was currently employed by Wells Fargo in Minneapolis, designing their web pages.

Brett was united in marriage to Tonia Swenson in 1998 and they were blessed with two children, Dylan and Aspen. Over the years Brett lived and worked in Brookings and Sioux Falls, S.D. and Marshall, and was currently in Minneapolis.

He enjoyed scuba diving and all sorts of water sports. Hunting, fishing, cooking, photography and riding motorcycle were also things Brett enjoyed. He liked to volunteer helping the elderly, animal shelters and for Lifelight. Most cherished times were spent with his family and friends, especially with his children.

Brett was a member of Volunteers of America and he was active in 4-H.

Grateful for having shared Brett’s life are his children Dylan and Aspen Kurth and their mother Tonia Kurth of Shakopee; his parents David and Sylvia Kurth of Lake Benton; his sister Karla (Tim) Howard of Brookings, S.D. and brother Todd (Amy) Kurth of Marshall; five nieces and nephews—TJ (Aly) Howard and Taylor, Austin, Jenna and Beau Kurth; his grandmother Bernice Kurth of Hendricks; his uncle Blaine (Donna) Kurth; his aunts Marcy McCarthy, Linda Nielsen and Shirley Nielsen, and numerous cousins and friends.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents Norma and Rudy Nielsen and Wesley Kurth, and three uncles, Richard and LeRoy Nielsen and John McCarthy.

Blessed be his memory.

Mark Schultz

September 12, 2014

obit Mark Schultz picNov. 21, 1961 – Sept. 7, 2014

Mark Schultz, age 52 of Sleepy Eye, died Sunday, Sept. 7, along with his brother Steve in an airplane accident involving one of their airplanes near Montevideo.

Funeral service was at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Canby. Visitation was 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. Visitation resumed one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial was in St. Stephen’s Cemetery. Online guestbook at Arrangements were with Birk Funeral Home of Canby.

Mark Orville Schultz was born in Canby to Orville and Helen (Bergh) Schultz on Nov. 21, 1961. He graduated from Canby High School and Winona State University. In 1984 Mark married Jane Myers and to this union they were blessed with two children, Ashley and Nicholas. Mark was employed by Farmers National as a farm manager, overseeing many farms while living in Salem, S.D. then in Rochester. Mark was in Ag lending in the bank at Preston and was an Ag loan officer at the Citizens State Bank in Hayfield for 18 years. He worked one year at Minn-West Bank in Ortonville. Mark was currently vice-president of the First Security Bank in Sleepy Eye. Mark loved life and especially enjoyed travelling to Korea and China with his dad to visit his son Nicholas, in the Army. Mark had many mechanical abilities and determination in accomplishing his goals, including refinishing and painting the 150 Cessna he owned with Steven, his brother. Fishing, hunting, motorcycling and flying his airplanes were favorite pastimes.

Mourning Mark’s passing are his daughter Ashley (Dana) Kinsella, son Nicholas, grandson Apollo, parents Orville and Helen Schultz, significant other Cheryl Kack, sisters Sherri (Dr. Jeffery) Brindle and Dawn (Armand) Johnson, and many nieces, nephews and close friends.

He was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents.

Blessed be his memory.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Mark and Steve Schultz Scholarship Endowment Fund. Scholarship memorials can be sent to First Security Bank, PO Box 70, Canby, MN 56220.

Steven Schultz

September 12, 2014

obit Steve Schultz picJuly 5, 1963 – Sept. 7, 2014

Steven Schultz, age 51 of Brooklyn Center, died Sunday, Sept. 7, along with his brother Mark in an airplane accident involving one of their airplanes near Montevideo.

Funeral service was at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Canby. Visitation was 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Canby with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. Visitation resumed one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial was in St. Stephen’s Cemetery. Online guestbook at Arrangements were with Birk Funeral Home of Canby.

Steven John Schultz was born in Canby to Orville and Helen (Bergh) Schultz on July 5, 1963. He graduated from Canby High School, attended Waseca College for Agriculture and was a graduate of World Wide College of Auctioneering. Steven was married to Catherine Bidwell and they were blessed with a son, Taylor. Steven was very diversified in his occupations—custom hay baling, farming and auctioneering, and he owned a used car business, Schultz Auto Sales. He was employed in Minneapolis at a plastics business, at in-floor heating, and was currently employed by Medtronic, where he had worked over 20 years and was a senior engineer. He traveled extensively while working in the pacemaker division, setting up machines. He invented a new case for pacemakers. After several years he moved to defibrillator manufacturing and currently was working in the neuromodulation department.

Steven travelled in many countries for his vacations—Thailand 20 times— and motorcycled all over Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, the Philippines and Mexico. A highlight in Thailand was deep-sea fishing with his dad. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, motorcycling and airplane flying.

Mourning Steven’s passing are his son Taylor (Maria), grandsons Zachary and Conner, parents Orville and Helen Schultz, significant other Pal Phimsirrivano, sisters Sherri (Dr. Jeffery) Brindle and Dawn (Armand) Johnson, and many nieces, nephews and close friends.

Blessed be his memory.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Mark and Steve Schultz Scholarship Endowment Fund. Scholarship memorials can be sent to First Security Bank, PO Box 70, Canby, MN 56220.


Evangeline Nelson

September 12, 2014

Evangeline Nelson pic1May 5, 1927 – Sept. 5, 2014

Evangeline Nelson, age 87 of Ivanhoe, passed away peacefully at her home on Sept. 5.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church with Father Ron Huberty as the Celebrant. Visitation was 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday at Birk Funeral Home in Ivanhoe with a Rosary at 5 p.m. and a prayer service at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue on Wednesday one hour prior to Mass at the church. Burial will be in Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church or donor’s choice. Online guestbook at
Evangeline “Vangie” Marie Kusnierek was born on May 5, 1927 in Arco, the daughter of Simon and Marie (Behnke) Kusnierek. As a young girl, Vangie attended country school and after completion, she stayed at home to help her family. Later in life she did complete the courses and received her GED. Vangie was married to Clayton Dobrenski and to this union two children were born, Curtis and Karen. After Clayton’s death, Vangie moved to Ivanhoe to be closer to her family. In 1965 she married Roger Nelson.
She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, always full of fun and laughter. One could find Vangie on Halloween night dressed up like Big Bird and she would go out with her sister Irene. They spent many joyous times together. She was an excellent dancer and attended many dances in the area over the years. Vangie was also an excellent cook and enjoyed making different recipes. She loved traveling to other countries and to almost every state with her sister Irene and later with Roger. Occasionally, Vangie would visit the casino and try her luck.
She was a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church for many years, where she served in many capacities. Vangie had many passions, her first passion was going to church and her second was being the CCW historian for many years. All her life she said the Rosary every night. Years ago she provided her home for CCW students and later taught a few years. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and a Den Mother for the Cub Scouts.
Vangie will be lovingly remembered by her husband of almost 50 years, Roger of Ivanhoe; daughter Karen Mattson (special friend, Mike Nicolai) of Eau Claire, Wisc.; daughter-in-law Paula (David) Belaen of Minneota (was married to the late Curtis L. Dobrenski); three grandchildren, Jason (Shawn) Dobrenski, Christie Mattson and Eric (Shayla) Mattson, and three great-grandchildren, Savannah, Jaden and Curtis Lee Dobrenski.
She was preceded by her parents, son Curtis, son-in-law Don Mattson, brother Leonard and sisters Ceil VanOverbeke and Irene Rogge.
Blessed be her memory.