James Berkenes, 85

James E. Berkenes, 85, of Rockford, Minn. passed away peacefully on Jan. 16, 2017 after struggling with multiple health issues over the past ten years.

He was born Dec. 13, 1931 in Pierpont, S.D. and graduated from Roslyn High School in 1950.

He served in the Armed Forces from 1953 to 1957.  During his military service, he was deployed overseas as part of the Korean War.

James and Dorothy were united in marriage June 16, 1957 in Long Beach, Calif.

James attended Cal Poly College in Pomona, Calif., Long Beach City College and Brown Institute in Minneapolis.  In 1962, he moved to Minnesota with his family and took up farming in 1969.

He was preceded in death by: his parents, Selmer and Ester; and siblings, Donna Schaible, Marjorie Gillespie, Iva Huffman, and Shirley Meyers.

He is survived by: his wife, Dorothy (Olson) Berkenes, sons, Robert (Diane) and Douglas (Brenda); grandchildren, Chad, Amanda, Heather, and Alicia; great-grandchildren, Conner, Aurora, Nolan, and Caleb; and sibling, Audrey Jarrott of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Funeral service will begin at 11 a.m., with visitation starting at 9:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 20 at Zion Lutheran Church, Buffalo, Minn.  Interment with military rites will follow at Zion Cemetery in Buffalo.

Serving the family is the Peterson Chapel in Buffalo.


Phyllis Feist, 77

A Celebration of Life for Phyllis Marie Feist is taking place at Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo on Saturday, Jan. 28, with visitation at 10 a.m. and funeral service at 11 a.m.

The family is being served by the Peterson Chapel in Buffalo, Minn.

Phyllis was born Feb. 13, 1939 to John and Dorothy Lindbery. She graduated in 1957 from Hopkins High School.

She was married in 1960 to Roger Carl Feist, and she gave birth to four children over the years. They lived in numerous places until settling down in Atwater, Minn. She eventually settled in Buffalo, Minn., where she was a fixture at the local grocery store in the customer service department for 25 years.

Phyllis was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Atwater, the Atwater Chamber of Commerce, volunteered at Planned Parenthood, and worked as a Real Estate Agent, as well as the bookkeeper at the Atwater Building Center.  She was also very active in the Alter Guild at Zion Lutheran Church of Buffalo.

She passed away quietly at her daughter’s home in Otsego, in the presence of family, on Dec. 14, 2016.  Her ashes will rest in the Grandview Park Cemetery, Hopkins, Minn.

She is survived by: her son, Robert J. (Audrea) of Niceville, Fla.; son, David C. (and Teri) of New London, Minn.; daughter, Karrie L. Zajicek of Otsego, Minn.; and her six grandchildren, Drew, Brandon, Brittany, Erich, Amanda, and Sydney.

She was preceded in death by: her parents, John and Dorothy Lindbery; son, Scott Feist; sister, Marlene; and brother, Alan Lindbery.

A special thank you to Intrepid Hospice Team for their compassionate care and guidance.


Amie Freund, 29

Amie Lynn Freund, 29, of Buffalo passed away on Jan. 4, 2017.

Born on May 15, 1987, she is survived by: parents, Steven and Dawn Johnson; father, Stephen Freund; sister, Meghan (Aaron) Latham; sister, Ashley (Brandon) Johnson; brother, Steven Johnson III; nieces, Scarlett Latham and Carmen Williams; and nephew, Griffin Latham.

A celebration of life party in Amie’s honor is taking place at the Buffalo American Legion Club on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 1-4 p.m.  All are welcome to attend.


William Sarine, 76

William “Bill” George Sarine, 76, of Delano, Minn. died early Sunday morning, Jan. 8, 2017.

Bill was the second of five children born to Helene and T. Howard Sarine on May 14, 1940 in New York, N.Y.  He enjoyed a 51-year marriage to his dance partner and best friend, Karen Sayres Sarine.  She was by his side to the end, both of them honoring their marriage vows completely.

Bill was a dedicated father to three children, William Jr., Laura (John) Weber and Douglas (Sarah), and grandfather to three grandchildren, Jack, Michael, and Katelin Weber.  He will be fondly missed by: his sister, Mary Jane (Joe) Tropea; brother, Richard (Sherry) Sarine; and countless nieces, nephews, and friends.  Bill was predeceased by his parents and by his brothers, Thomas and John Sarine.

He was a businessman who was passionate about technology, education and entrepreneurship.  He will be most remembered for his gift of gab.  Whether entertaining his family, making up stories for kids or chatting up a stranger, Bill found common ground with every person he ever met.  He was an avid golfer, reader and trivia enthusiast and enjoyed mentoring students and entrepreneurs.  He also felt at home, and made others feel at home, everywhere he went.  He loved the Jersey Shore, the Chicago Bears, the Delano baseball fields, and the City of Raleigh, N.C.

He was a veteran of the United States Army and a member of numerous professional and philanthropic organizations.  He was particularly proud of having performed at Carnegie Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City as part of the Fordham University Glee Club.

A memorial Mass for Bill Sarine is taking place on Thursday, Jan. 19, 11 a.m., at St. Peter’s Church in Delano.  In lieu of flowers, please remember Bill by reaching out to an old friend or making a new one.


Steven Schumacher, 62

Steven Adam “Steve” Schumacher, 62, of Delano passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017.

He was born Jan. 26, 1954 to Clement and Rose (Bukowski) Schumacher in Buffalo, Minn.  Steve graduated from Delano High School in 1972.  He was a longtime employee of Industrial Louvers in Delano.  Steve loved to fish and go on fishing trips with his buddies.  He was a nice guy and was known as a people person.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Clem and Rose Schumacher.

He is survived by: his siblings, Jeannine Schumacher, Mary (Lee) Dupont, Fran (Bob) Bullock, Michael (Joanne) Schumacher, and Sharon (Scott) Offerman; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial was scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Loretto, Minn., with a gathering of family and friends in the church prior to Mass on Tuesday.  Inurnment was planned in the church cemetery, followed by a reception at the church parish center.

Arrangements by the Iten Funeral Home in Delano.


Michael Smasal, 73

Michael Eugene Smasal, USMC, CSA, Certified Microsoft OEM Systems Builder, Licensed Private Investigator-QP, age 73, from Buffalo, formally of Hopkins, passed away surrounded by family on Jan. 11, 2017.

Preceded in death by parents, Eugene and Agatha Smasal, and mother-in-law, LaVerne Nichols.

Survived by: spouse, Lorna; children, Robyn (Tom) Holland and Dennis; grandchildren, KaylaMae and Kyle Holland; sibling, William (Mary), Betty (Hal) Horrigan and David (Ann); sisters-in-law, Glenda Garman and Sharon Teat; 12 nieces and nephews; and special friends, Cory (Mary) Remer.

Private interment in Fort Snelling National Cemetery at a later date.


E. Vernon Strand, 90

E. Vernon Strand, 90, of Monticello passed away on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017.

Vernon was born in Big Lake Township on May 25, 1926, the son of Ernest and Naemie (Anderson) Strand.  He grew up in Big Lake and Monticello Townships and attended Country School.

He married Ardelle Olson on May 18, 1949 at the Buffalo Evangelical Covenant Church. They lived in Minneapolis a short time before Vernon enlisted in 1952 with the United States Air Force.  He spent this time in California.  He returned to Monticello, where he lived the rest of his life.

Vernon worked 41 years in Minneapolis as a truck driver for Space Center.  After retiring in 1988, Vernon gardened, mowed lawns, plowed snow, and drove cars for a local car dealership. He also enjoyed having coffee with the boys at Cub Foods every morning.  He was a member of the Buffalo Evangelical Covenant Church and ushered 40 years. He also enjoyed mowing lawn at church after his retirement.  Vernon led a life of commitment, generosity, hard work and love!

Survived by: his loving wife of 67 years, Ardelle; a sister, Virginia Bloomdahl; sisters-in-law, Millie (Bill) Johnson and Jan Olson; and numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

Preceded in death by his parents and by his sisters, Norie Carlson and Merilynn Strand.

A memorial service for Vernon Strand will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2 p.m., at the Buffalo Evangelical Covenant Church. Pastor Reid Gilbert will officiate.  Interment with military rites follows at Swedish Mission Cemetery in Buffalo.  A time of gathering will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21 from noon until the time of services at the church.

Casket bearers will be: Ronald Carlson, Richard Carlson, Roger Carlson, Phil Bloomdahl, Billy Johnson, Dan Olson, and Mark Olson.

The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo is serving the family.


Allen Witte, 73

Allen W. Witte, 73, went to his Eternal Home on Jan. 8, 2017.

He lived all of his life in Rockford but had moved to the CentraCare nursing home, Monticello in February 2016.

He loved snowmobiling and going on motorcycle trips with his dear friends.

He will be deeply missed by his sisters, other relatives and friends.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.