Jennifer Gregoire

November 16, 2012

Jan. 5, 1979 – Nov. 9, 2012

Jennifer “Jen” (Bekaert) Gregoire, age 33 of Ivanhoe, passed away at Tyler Healthcare Center in Tyler on Friday, Nov. 9 after a courageous battle with cancer. Funeral services were at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gary, S.D. with Rev. Bruce Mueller officiating. Visitation was Thursday at the church, 12:30-2 p.m. Burial will be held at a later date. The Birk Funeral Home of Canby was entrusted with the arrangements.
Jennifer Rae (Bekaert) Gregoire was born Jan. 5, 1979 to Gene and Romelle (Volk) Bekaert in Canby. Jen was raised in Gary, S.D. until the family moved to Canby, where she graduated from Canby High School in 1997. While in high school she began working at REM in Canby, where she continued to work following graduation.
Jen was united in marriage to Jim Gregoire on May 1, 2004 at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gary, S.D. Following their marriage they lived in Canby. They moved to Lake Benton and she began working for REM in Tyler and later for Skyview Junction in Elkton, S.D. They were currently living near Ivanhoe. On April 4, 2010 Jen was diagnosed with cancer but continued to work until her health no longer allowed. She entered the Tyler Healthcare Center in Tyler, where she passed away on Friday, Nov. 9 at the age of 33.
She was a member of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gary, S.D. Jen was actively involved with Relay For Life. She enjoyed playing pool and auto racing.
She is lovingly remembered by her husband Jim “Squeak” Gregoire of Ivanhoe; four children— Tanner, Makayla, Logen and Jayden; one stepson, Brandon; parents Gene and Romelle Bekaert of Marshall; siblings Patty (Shayne) Scheler of St. Leo, Lisa Bekaert of Ivanhoe, Shawn Bekaert of Marshall and Stephanie Bekaert of Marshall; grandparents Ray and Marlene Bekaert of Clear Lake, S.D. and Verna Volk of Minneota; father- and mother-in-law Richard and Shirley Gregoire of Russell; sisters-in-law Tammy (Herb) Doody of Adrian, Mo. and Laura (Rick) Wilks of Florence, Ariz.; brother-in-law Rich (Michelle) Gregoire of Russell and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Jen was preceded in death by her grandfather Warner Volk and uncle Ronald Volk.

Kenneth Wambeke

November 9, 2012

Dec. 8, 1955 – Oct. 30, 2012

Funeral services for Kenneth Wambeke, age 56 of Ruthton, were Saturday, Nov. 3 at 10:30 a.m. at Danebod Lutheran Church in Tyler. Visitation was Friday, 5-8 p.m. at Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft- Johansen Chapel in Tyler. Burial was at Danebod Lutheran Church Cemetery in Tyler. Arrangements were provided by Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft-Johansen Chapel in Tyler. On-line registry and condolences may be found at He died Tuesday, Oct. 30 in Minneapolis.
Kenneth Charles Wambeke was born Dec. 8, 1955 to Charles and Genevieve (Swedzinski) Wambeke in Marshall. He was baptized on Dec. 31, 1955 in Taunton. He grew up in Minneota. Following his education he enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in 1976 and was honorably discharged in 1991. Ken was self-employed in carpentry with Ridge Area Remodelers and worked for Vos Trucking. He was united in marriage to Cindy VandenBroecke on Oct. 23, 2009 in Pipestone. While at work on Tuesday, Oct. 30, following a normal truck delivery, Kenneth died in his sleep in Minneapolis at the age of 56 years, 10 months and 22 days.
Ken loved life and would do anything to lend a hand and help others. He was hardworking, had a quick wit and a great sense of humor. He enjoyed motorcycle riding, classic cars, reading, playing board games, vacations and especially enjoyed time spent with his family.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Cindy Wambeke of Ruthton; children— Dustin (and Jill) Mullaney of Rochester, Crystal Wambeke of Florence, Amanda (and Joshua) Crowley of Tyler, Jayda Roberts of Gainesville, Va., Chelsey (and Joe) Robinson of Elk River and Trevor Wambeke of Colorado; his beloved basset hound Jax; grandchildren Savanna, Chyanne, Avery, Sophie, Hayden, Noah,and Chloe; siblings Rosell (Wambeke) Belaen of Canby, James (and Lucy) Wambeke of Taunton and Marcia (Wambeke) Geurts of Sioux Falls, S.D.
He was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Genevieve, grandparents Peter and Marie Wambeke and Mike and Elizabeth Swedzinski and good friend Lyle Rasmussen.
Blessed be his memory!

Rev. Alton Nielsen

November 9, 2012

Dec. 29, 1930 – Aug. 16, 2011

The Rev. Alton Everett “Ev” Nielsen entered eternal life on Aug. 16. Interment was at the San Marcos Lutheran Columbarium.
Everett was born Dec. 29, 1938 in rural Lake Benton, the youngest son of Harold and Alma Nielsen (later Meyer). He was baptized and confirmed at Diamond Lake Lutheran Church in rural Lake Benton. He graduated with honors from Lake Benton High School in 1953. He received an Associates Degree from Grand View College (now University) in Des Moines, Iowa and his Bachelors Degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He received the Candidate to Theology Degree from Grand View Seminary.

Everett was ordained in August 1960 at the American Evangelical Lutheran Church Convention of the Danish Synod in Waterloo, Iowa. Rev. Nielsen served in a variety of ministry settings, beginning with Our Savior and St. Peter Lutheran churches in Connecticut. He also served as Director of Youth Ministry and Camping and Assistant to the Bishop in the Pacific Southwest Synod of the Lutheran Church in America. He served parishes in Los Altos, Calif., San Jose, Calif. and Phoenix, Ariz. After a call to the Pacific Synod as Assistant to the Bishop from 1988 to 1992, Rev. Nielsen served Clairemont Lutheran in San Diego, Calif. and Joy of Christ in Pearl City, Hawaii. He served as chairperson of the Professional Preparation Committee, responsible for guiding and approving candidates for ordination and editing the youth page in a national publication of the church, The Lutheran Tidings. After his retirement he published a novel. Major accents of Ev’s ministry have been pastoral care, solid preaching that people could understand and appreciate and youth, camp and retreat ministry. He was always available, approachable, reliable, trusted, efficient in problem solving and able to help people think outside the box. As a “Happy Dane” he lived his joyous faith with good humor and a deep abiding trust in the inclusive love, mercy and justice of God.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn; two sons, David and Jon; one granddaughter; one stepson and wife; one stepdaughter; one brother, Clayton, and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Richard James “Dick/Spike” Blegen

November 2, 2012


Dec. 18, 1944- Oct. 14, 2012

Richard James “Dick/Spike” Blegen, age 67 of Grand Lake, died unexpectedly on Oct. 14.
A celebration of life was held Thursday, Oct. 18 in the banquet room at Dry Dock Bar and Restaurant, I-35 and Midway Rd., from 3-6 p.m. A gathering of friends was held Sunday, Oct. 21 at the American Legion in Browns Valley from 2-4 p.m.
Richard was born to Raymond and Rosella (Truckenmiller) Blegen in Lake Benton on Dec. 18, 1944. Dick married Patty Johnson in 1971. He was a MN State Trooper and retired in 1999 after 32 years of service. He was involved with Ducks Unlimited and the National Turkey Federation.
Dick is survived by his wife Patty; daughter Tamara (Neil) Daniels; brother David (Peggy) Blegen; sister Beverly Parrish; three grandchildren, Amanda, Danny and Anne, and great-granddaughter Amara. He is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents, mother and father-in-law Mildred and Merlyn Johnson, brother-in-law Larry Parrish and niece Jenna Heck.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.
To leave a memory of Spike or words of support, please visit our website at

Eldon Nordmeyer

November 2, 2012

Nov. 9, 1930 – Oct. 23, 2012

LAKE BENTON— Memorial services for Eldon Nordmeyer, age 81 of Lake Benton, were Friday, Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Lake Benton. Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft-Johansen Chapel in Lake Benton provided the arrangements. Send on-line condolences at
Eldon Earl Nordmeyer was born Nov. 9, 1930 to August and Mabel (Lindemann) Nordmeyer in Tyler. He was baptized and later confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lake Benton. He grew up on the farm north of Lake Benton and graduated from Lake Benton High School. On Oct. 7, 1950 Eldon married Wanda Larson at First English Lutheran Church in Tyler. Their union was blessed with five children and 62 years of life together. The couple farmed near Lake Benton until 1972 when they moved to their Lakeview Street home in Lake Benton. Eldon purchased Jensen Produce and opened Valley Feed and Seed, a Vigorena dealership, and was a feed salesman to the present time. He also worked at Draper Floor Covering, Busselman Construction and Viere’s Station. On Tuesday, Oct. 23 Eldon died at Tyler Healthcare Center at the age of 81 years, 11 months and 14 days.
Eldon was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Lake Benton, where he had served as a deacon and usher. He was a member of the Sportsman’s Club and the Chamber of Commerce, served as a firearms instructor and was a parade organizer for Lake Benton’s Saddle Horse Days. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, dancing and working on the farm.
Eldon is lovingly remembered by his wife Wanda of Lake Benton; his children— Peggy Schwarz of Knoxville, Tenn., Nancy (and Gale) Wilson of Sheridan, Wyo., Jane Nordmeyer of Minneapolis, James (and Sandy) Nordmeyer of Dayton and Joan (and Dan) Koster of Redwood Falls; nine grandchildren— Michelle Scoby, Jennifer Harden, Kelly Krantz, Zachary Krog, Amber Stuart, Brooks Nordmeyer, Jackson Koster, Bailey Koster and Alec Koster; one step-grandson, Jason Wilson; four great-grandchildren— Alex Sensing, Bridgette Schwarz, Brandon Krantz and Louis Stuart; three step-great-grandchildren—Dakota Scoby, Trey Scoby and Brianna Bloomquist; a sister, Betty Dahl of Seal Beach, Calif., and many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Kenneth Nordmeyer and sister Naomi Knudsen.

Edward “Jim” Morehouse

October 26, 2012

June 26, 1926- Oct. 20, 2012

LAKE BENTON— Memorial services for Edward “Jim” Morehouse, age 86 of Lake Benton, will be Thursday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Lake Benton. Visitation will be Thursday from 10–11 a.m. at the church. Burial with military honors will be in the Russell City Cemetery in Russell.
He died Saturday, Oct. 20 at Sunrise Manor Nursing Home in Tyler.
Arrangements are provided by Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft–Johansen Chapel in Lake Benton.
On-line registry and condolences may be found at
Edward “Jim” Howard Morehouse was born on June 25, 1926 to Edwin and Frieda Smith Morehouse in Atlantic City, N.J. Jim attended school in Littleton, Colo. and McGregor. In July 1944, at the age of 18, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He attended basic training at Farragut Naval Station, Idaho and amphibious training at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Jim was assigned to the USS Bland APA134, carrying Marine troops within the South Pacific. He received an honorable discharge in June 1946. After his discharge Jim worked in various positions in South Dakota, Minnesota and Alaska.
Jim married Larraine Greve on March 20, 1953 in Russell. They moved to Bloomington, where their children Brad and Deanne were born. Jim worked at the Ford Motor Company until the family relocated to Lake Benton in 1960. Jim owned and operated Jim’s Market for 35 years and, after selling the business, he worked for Lake Benton Fertilizer, Tyler Golf Club and Tyler Wholesale until he retired in 2005.
Jim was a member of the United Methodist Church in Lake Benton and served as a past-president of the Lake Benton Service Club and Post Commander and Finance Officer for the Henry Sollie Post 10 American Legion. He was an original member and a past chairperson of Lake Benton’s HRA. Jim was extremely proud of his service in the U.S. Navy and his 60-year affiliation with the American Legion. He loved all sports, especially hunting, fly fishing and bowling, but his real passion was golfing. He was named Lake Benton High School’s “Sports Fan of the Year” in 1978.
Jim is lovingly remembered by his wife Larraine; his son Brad and his wife Suzanne of Clifton, Va.; four grandchildren: Gregory McLaughlin of Burnsville, Jennifer McLaughlin (Nick) and Jordan McLaughlin (Kayla) of Prior Lake and Zane Morehouse of Clifton, Va.; two great grandchildren, Maleah and Kylie; sister MaryAnn Thole and her husband Monroe of Prairie du Chien, Wisc. and Patty Morehouse of Canby; nephew and nieces Wendy, Lori and Dan Amundson, Mike and Mitch Morehouse, Brian, Bruce, Brent and Brandon Majerus, Brenda Mahlum and Bridget Petitt, and family friend Pete Hubert. He was preceded in death by his daughter Deanne McLaughlin, brother Jay Morehouse and wife Dolores, sister Betty McGaughey, both parents, Edwin and Frieda, brother-in-law Leo Majerus, in-laws L.F. “Shorty” and Jeane Greve and sister-in-law Ruth Amundson.

Evangeline Gieseke

October 26, 2012

June 2, 1921 – Oct. 20, 2012

Graveside services and burial for Evangeline Gieseke, age 91, formerly of Lake Benton, will be Saturday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. at Memorial Hill Cemetery in Lake Benton. Visitation will be Saturday from 1:30–2 p.m. at the Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft–Johansen Chapel in Lake Benton.
She died Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Glencoe Regional Health Services Long Term Care in Glencoe.
Arrangements are provided by the Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft–Johansen Chapel in Lake Benton.
On-line registry and condolences may be found at
Evangeline Sophia Gieseke was born to Frank and Anna (Willert) Pottratz on June 2, 1921 near Ward, S.D. She was baptized on June 26, 1921 by Pastor Werr at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Verdi. She was confirmed on Feb. 25, 1940 at the English Lutheran Church in Lake Benton by Rev. Vordale. She attended school in Verdi, Lake Benton, Pipestone and Des Plaines, Ill. On July 22, 1940 she was united in marriage to Clifford Luschen in Tyler by Rev. Vordale. Following their marriage, they lived in Lake Benton, Minneapolis and Glencoe. After Clifford’s death on April 29, 1957 she worked at Strutwear in Glencoe and Tonka Toys in Mound. On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1967 she married Walter Gieseke at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Glencoe by Pastor Bogel. Following their marriage they lived in Glencoe. Walter passed away on Jan. 22, 1974. After his death, Evangeline worked at Hands in Hutchinson until her retirement in 1983. In 1985 she moved to Lake Benton and resided there until May 2010, when she became a resident at the Good Samaritan Communities in Pipestone. In November 2010 Evangeline moved closer to her family and became a resident at the Glencoe Regional Health Services Long Term Care in Glencoe, where, on Saturday, Oct. 20 she died peacefully at the age of 91 years, four months and 18 days.
Evangeline was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lake Benton. She enjoyed spending her time sewing and doing ceramics.
She is survived by her stepdaughter Donna Stepien and her husband Larry of Glencoe; her step-son-in-law Jack Noga of Glencoe; seven step-grandchildren; 10 step-great-grandchildren; four step-great-great-grandchildren; numerous cousins and other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband Clifford Luschen, her husband Walter Gieseke, her step-daughter Betty Noga, her parents, her stepfather Henry Nybo, one stepsister, Deloris Jarzombek, and one stepbrother, Robert Nybo.

Leo L. Alexander

October 26, 2012

MULVANE, Kan.— Leo L. Alexander, age 72, retired SBA Loan Specialist, died Sunday, Oct. 14. Visitation was from 1-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, with family present 4-5:30 p.m., at Senter-Smith Mortuary, Mulvane, Kan. Rosary was at 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Michael Catholic Church in Mulvane. Funeral Mass was at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 at St. Michael Catholic Church.
Leo’s parents Vincent and Evelyn Alexander once owned Alexander’s Cafe in Lake Benton. Survivors include his wife Joleen; son Dammon Alexander and daughter Tara Alexander; sisters Sharon Wodtke, Mary Ann (Dean) Koster and Rita (Denny) Kruger; brothers James (Carol) Alexander and Michael (Marilyn) Alexander. He was preceded in death by his parents and infant brother Paul.
Memorials have been established with the American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association.

Betty Brandt

October 26, 2012

Oct. 25, 1914 – Oct. 21, 2012

Memorial services for Betty Brandt, age 97 of Tyler, will be Saturday, Oct. 27 at 10:30 a.m. at First English Lutheran Church in Tyler. Visitation is one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will follow at Hope Cemetery in Tyler. Arrangement are provided by Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft-Johansen Chapel in Tyler. On-line condolences and registry may be found at www.hartquist funeral. com. She died Sunday, Oct. 21 at Sunrise Manor Nursing Home in Tyler.
Betty Brandt was born to Carl and Maren (Ravn) Mathiason on Oct. 25, 1914 in Alden. She was introduced to John Brandt in Tyler and they were married May 9, 1936 in Alden. She became a resident of Sunrise Manor Nursing Home in 2009, where she died on Sunday, Oct. 21.
Betty is lovingly remembered by her daughters Eileen Holt of Marshall and Jane (Sherm) DeZeeuw of Tyler; grandchildren Kristi Peters of Tyler and Debra (Jim) Kerkaert of Russell; five great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren; sister Dagmar Jacobsen of Rice Lake, Wisc. and many other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband John, her parents Carl, two infant grandchildren, sisters Valborg Smith, Astrid Mathiason and Hilda Duncan, brothers Anker and Arnold Mathiason, son-in-law Arvid Holt and father-in-law and mother-in-law Frank and Frances Brandt.

John Tutt, Jr.

October 19, 2012

BALATON—Funeral services for John Tutt, Jr., age 98 of Balaton, were Saturday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. at Skandia Evangelical Free Church in rural Balaton. Visitation was Friday, 5-8 p.m., all at Skandia Evangelical Church. Burial was in the church cemetery.
Arrangements were provided by Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft Johansen Chapel in Tyler. On-line registry and condolences may be found at

John David Tutt, Jr. was born Aug. 24, 1914 to John and Christine (Corneliussen) Tutt on the family farm north of Lake Wilson. On July 2, 1941 John married Stella Erickson. On Monday, Oct. 8 John died at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

John leaves to mourn his passing Stella, his wife of 71 years; his children, Judy Petersen of Maple Grove, Jim (Jayne) Tutt of San Diego, Calif., JoAnne (Dave) Harthan of Champlin, Jerry (Wanda) Tutt of Maple Grove, J. Daniel (Julie) Tutt of Robbinsdale, Jeanne (Irvine) Goldenberg of Minneapolis, J. Dawn (Don) Fontaine of St. Paul, Joel (Kathy) Tutt of Balaton, Jeff (Diana) Tutt of Billings, Mont., Jay (Catharine) Tutt of Watertown, Jill (Mike) Eisner of Salinas, Calif. and Scot (Darrelynn) Tutt of Miller, S.D.; 39 grandchildren; 52 great-grandchildren; brother Carroll (Florence) Tutt of Slayton, sister Irene Telford of Pittsburgh, Pa. and many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by son Jack, grandsons Jeremy and John, his parents, brothers Arthur, Earl, Fred and Ralph and a sister, Mary.