Alfred Jessen

June 3, 2020

obit Jessen Alfred SQUARESept. 9, 1929 – May 26, 2020

Alfred Jessen, age 90 of Tracy, died peacefully at his home on Tuesday, May 26. A small, private fam­ily graveside service will be held Thursday, May 28 at the Danebod Cemetery in Tyler. A celebration in honor of Alfred’s life will be held at a later date. Hartquist Funeral Home–Tyler Chapel has been entrusted with arrange­ments. To view Alfred’s life history or sign an online registry please visit
Alfred Jessen was born Sept. 9, 1929 to Jens W. (he always said it stood for “Wahoo”) Jessen and Es­ther Bertha Miller in Tyler. After graduating from Tyler High School, Alfred went to Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa for a semes­ter before deciding he re­ally wanted to be a farmer on Brookside Farm like his father and Bedstefar Niels before him.
After a chance double date with LeRoy Stens­gaard and two fun-loving girl cousins from Ruthton, Alfred married Marlys Mae Madsen on June 27, 1954. They had six chil­dren—Nancy, Linda, Neil, Phyllis, Jess and Phillip.
After a car accident took Marlys’s life on June 28, 1980, Alfred joined the BE support group. It was there that he met LaVerne Hans­en of Tracy. They were mar­ried on June 7, 2003, in La­Verne’s beautiful yard with Alfred’s children and fami­lies; LaVerne’s children—Gary, Peggy, Doug and Lar­ry and their families; plus a few close extended family and friends.
Alfred loved talking about politics, making gorgeous wooden bowls, and creat­ing unusual floats for the annual Æbleskiver parades. When the song “The Crys­tal Chandeliers” was play­ing, you could find Alfred and LaVerne on the dance floor. He was always ready to help a friend, neighbor, and fellow farmer in need. Like his neighbor Norman Mikkelsen, he usually had a toothpick in his mouth, plus a hat on his head.
In later years he was drawn to the power of so­lar energy, putting a solar array on one shed and two others near the hog barns. He dutifully checked the production of those pan­els daily. With the power­ful wind whipping through southwest Minnesota, he also harnessed that energy with a wind turbine. Loving the idea of electric cars, he had a Tesla car on order at the time of his death.
He had fun planning the Brookside Farm Cen­tennial in 1991 and was thrilled that many fam­ily and friends celebrated with him. He looked for­ward to the MOJOs (Major Official Jessen Occasion) when he could get together with his sister Valborg and her families, and his late brother Verner’s families – whether it was in Colo­rado or the one Alfred and LaVerne planned last year at Lake Shetek for his 90th birthday.
Alfred and LaVerne had a car accident on Jan. 4, 2020. Tests from that evening re­vealed he had a mass in his pancreas, and subse­quent tests showed that it was cancerous. After try­ing chemo, he decided that wasn’t for him. Even three weeks before his death, he was in the tractor discing a field, and he couldn’t be talked out of driving that tractor—he loved every minute of it! As he was get­ting weaker, Alfred gath­ered his family around him to communicate his final wishes. Alfred passed away on May 26.
Alfred is lovingly remem­bered by his wife, LaVerne Jessen of Tracy; his six chil­dren— Linda McMahon of Bellevue, Idaho, Neil (Erin) Jessen of Hailey, Idaho, Phyllis (Sherri) Jessen of Des Moines, Iowa, Nancy Jessen Otis of Reno, Nevada, Phillip Jessen of Tyler, and Jess “J.J.” Jessen of El Paso, Texas; LaVerne’s children Gary (Phyllis) Hansen of Rochester, Peggy (Denny) Isaacson of New Ulm, Doug (Judy) Hansen of Mount Vernon, Iowa, and Larry (Sharalyn) Hansen of Tracy; numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and step-great-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank Alfred’s Angels— Judy Hansen, Sharalyn Hansen and Carlos De Avila—three family nurses who took wonderful care of him in his final days.
Memorials may be di­rected to the RTR School Building Fund or the Mur­ray County Hospice Pro­gram.