Obituaries 1/21/21

Donna Breidenbach, 87

Donna Jean Breidenbach, age 87, of Buffalo, Minnesota passed away on January 14, 2021. Donna was born in Shenandoah, Iowa, the daughter of Hubert and Myrtle (Newquist) Renander on April 17, 1933.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Mel Breidenbach, whom she married on August 3, 1963.

Donna graduated from Shenandoah High School in 1951 and studied medical technology at Gradwohl School of Medical Technology in St. Louis. She worked for 25 years at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

She was a member of Hope Lutheran Church in St. Charles, Missouri.

Donna is survived by her brother, Bernie; and her sister, Shirley. Survived also by two nephews, three nieces, six great-nephews, six great-nieces, three great-great-nephews, and two great-great-nieces.

A private family service will be held in Northfield, Minnesota. Officiating will be Pastor Pam Fickenscher. Interment at Memorial Park Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri on April 17, 2021.

Memorials preferred to: Hope Lutheran Church, 1975 South Old Highway 94, St. Charles, MO 63303.

Arrangements were entrusted to The Peterson Chapel of Buffalo, Minnesota.


Betty Carlen, 88

Betty L. Carlen, age 88, of Annandale, died Sunday, January 17, 2021 at Centennial Villa in Annandale.

Walk through visitation will be held from 12-1 p.m. on Friday, January 22, 2021 at Dingmann Funeral Care Chapel in Annandale. A private funeral service will follow at 2:00 p.m. at Dingmann Funeral Care Chapel in Annandale with Rev. Dave Hoadley officiating. Burial will follow at North Crow River Lutheran Cemetery in Knapp Township near Cokato.

Betty Lou Carlen was born December 21, 1932 in Minneapolis to Otto and Elsie (Bauer) Blank. She was raised in Sauk Centre, graduating from Sauk Centre High School with the Class of 1948. She continued her education at a trade school in the Minneapolis metro area to learn secretarial skills. On November 24, 1956, she was united in marriage to Paul Edward Carlen in Sauk Centre. They were blessed with three children, while living in St. Louis Park; they moved to Brooklyn Park at “Triple J Ranch,” where they raised their family. After Paul’s death in 1981, Betty moved to a town home in Maple Grove and later, she built a home in Buffalo to be closer to family. When Betty’s health began to fail, she moved to Lake Ridge Care Center in Buffalo and finally to the Annandale Care Center.

Betty worked at General Mills in Minneapolis and for many years as the counseling secretary for Osseo School District 279. In retirement, she worked for 20 years at Culvers in Buffalo. She was a member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Park, Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, and the Buffalo American Legion Auxiliary. Betty enjoyed craft fairs, antiquing, collecting dishes, playing bingo, canning pickles, making strawberry jelly, traveling the world, and attending her kids and grandkids sporting events. She was an excellent cook that enjoyed gathering family and friends to her table. Betty had a soft heart for animals, especially her companion dog, Monti.

She is survived by her sons and daughter, Jeff (Sue), of Annandale, Jonay (Roger) Swanson, of Parker Damn, CA, and Jim (Karen), of Payson, AZ; seven grandchildren, Chris, Jenna, Jacob, Sandy, David, Jaymi and Justin; two step-grandchildren, Jeni and Lindsay; eight great-grandchildren, Holdyn, Raylan, Sawyer, Sutton, Aubrey, Wyatt, Blake and Alberta; and three step-great-grandchildren, Ashlynn, Landon, and Chase.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Otto and Elsie Blank; husband, Paul; brothers, Henry, Glen “Bob”, Arnold, Donald, and Al Blank; and sisters, Fern Herder and Dorothy Kurrell.

The casket bearers will be Jeff Carlen, Jim Carlen, Jonay Swanson, Jacob Carlen, Matt Witherbee and Tim Blank. Arrangements are entrusted with Dingmann Funeral Care Burial & Cremation Services of Annandale.

Obituary, Tribute Wall, Video Tribute and Funeral Webcast online at


Jo Ann Fadden, 83

Jo Ann Nancy Mero was born on June 20, 1937 at Catlin Hospital in Buffalo, Minnesota to Emma Carstensen Mero and De Villo Mero, the first of three children. She was baptized on August 15, 1937 at Trinity Lutheran Church. In May of 1951, she was confirmed at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

She graduated from Buffalo High School in 1955, and on August 13, 1955, she married her sweetheart, Donald LeRoy Fadden. Their marriage lasted 50 years. Their love gave birth to four children, Lee Ann Marie, Kurtis Donald, Karla Kaye, and Kristi Lee.

In 1957, they became members of Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo. Jo Ann was active in the Sunday School Ministry, and in 1973, she and Don completed the Bethel Bible Study series. Her passions included gardening, embroidery, cooking, and taking drives in the country. She especially liked old barns.

She was artistic and shared her gift as a cake decorator for many years. She was a perfectionist when it came to wedding and anniversary cakes and putting dainty flowers on sugar cubes. She even made a cake replica of Marysville Church for a special anniversary celebration. It is at the Marysville Cemetery she will lay next to her husband Don. And, it is in Marysville Township she was blessed to make many friendships.

Her true passion was found in the lives of children. After her youngest child entered Kindergarten, she was employed by Little Buffalo Preschool as a Teacher’s Aide. She found enormous joy in holding children on her lap and quieting any fears they may have about starting school. She was a natural caretaker, and it showed in her patience, her voice, and the gentleness she showed on an everyday basis.

Jo Ann, child of God, died on January 15, 2021 at the age of 83 in the loving presence of family and in the caring hands of the staff at The Glenn Memory Care, including a devoted Hospice nurse. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald; her parents, Emma and De Villo; and her brother, Norman Mero. 

She is survived by her children, Lee Ann (Jud) Goerss, Kurt (Shawna) Fadden, Karla (Danny) Abbott, Kristi (Sean) Cronin; her grandchildren, Madeline Goerss, Jake Kenmir, Jana Kenmir, Jessa Fadden, Kira Abbott Slinde, Caitlin Abbott, Josh Cronin, Seamus Cronin, and Mary Cronin Ronning; brother, Wayne (Janice) Mero; nine great-grandchildren; and many others that fill her family tree. 

A Celebration of Life will be scheduled in June of 2021, her birthday month.

“When you love, you complete a circle. When you die, the circle remains.” ~John Squadra


Kenneth Hennen, 91

Kenneth M. Hennen, age 91, of Maple Lake died Friday, January 15, 2021 at the Buffalo Hospital due to complications of congestive heart failure.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Friday, January 22, 2021 at St. Timothy Catholic Church, Maple Lake with Fr. John Meyer as Celebrant. Burial with military honors will follow at St. Timothy Catholic Cemetery. A walk-through visitation without family present will be held from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday and 8:30-9:30 a.m., Friday; both at Dingmann Funeral Care Chapel in Maple Lake. Masks are required, and social distancing guidelines and capacity limitations will be observed. The funeral will be live-streamed on the funeral home’s website.

Kenneth Mathew Hennen was born January 5, 1930 near Watkins, Minnesota to Albert and Barbara (Erpelding) Hennen. Kenny grew up on the family farm and attended country school in District 50 and District 55. On September 15, 1951, he was united in marriage to Margaret Magdalena Loch at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Watkins. After being drafted in 1952, Kenny honorably and proudly served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War. While in the Army, Kenny obtained his GED. Kenny and Marge made their home in Maple Lake, where they raised their two children. Kenny worked at Salzer Lumber Company and, in 1965, he and Marge purchased the business and renamed it Maple Lake Lumber. Together, they owned and operated the family company for 27 years and in 1992, they sold the business to the next generation.

Believing in being active in his church and community, Kenny belonged to St. Timothy Catholic Church, the Father O’Brien’s Council Knights of Columbus #3613, and Catholic Order of Foresters. Kenny was a member of the Maple Lake Lions, a board member at Maple Manor and a two-term President of the Maple Lake Commercial Club. He served on the Maple Lake Fire Department for 38 years and on the Maple Lake City Council for eight years. Kenny was a lifelong member of the Maple Lake VFW Post #7664. For over 60 years, he was a member of the Maple Lake American Legion Post #131 where he was the Seargent of Arms.

Kenny was honored as Grand Marshal of the Maple Lake St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, was the recipient of the Minneapolis Aquatenial Award and was the 2006 Outstanding Senior Citizen of Wright County. He was an avid baseball fan, was a former coach of the Maple Lake American Legion Team and volunteered countless hours at Maple Lake Irish Stadium. Kenny enjoyed hunting, watching or attending sporting events, playing cards, taking trips to the cabin in Nevis, and fishing in the winter with his grandkids.

Kenny is survived by his wife of 69 years, Margaret, of Maple Lake; children and their spouses, Daryl and Kathy Hennen and Deanna and Mike Lauer, both of Maple Lake; six grandchildren, Valerie Enter, Brad Hennen, Adam Hennen, Tony Hennen, Jordan Lauer, and Dominic Lauer; 12 great-grandchildren, Emily and Nathan Enter, Megan, Evan, Logan, Grant, Griffin, Dylan, Kalli, and Kenna Hennen and Owen and Molly Lauer; great-great-grandchild, Paisley Gramsey; siblings, Leila Froehling, of Watkins, Jeanette Libbesmeier, of Watkins, and Shirley Schoonover, of Brainerd; many nieces, nephews, other family members, and dear friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Barbara Hennen; brother, Harold Hennen; twin sister, Kathleen Theisen; sister, Delrose Mies; and brothers-in-law, Edwin Theisen, Verlin Mies, Eldred Froehling, Dan Schoonover and Richard Libbesmeier.

Kenny’s grandchildren will serve as pallbearers. Arrangements entrusted to Dingmann Funeral Care Burial and Cremation Services of Maple Lake.

Obituary, Tribute Wall, Video Tribute and Funeral Webcast online at


James Hoffman, 63

James (Jim) Edward Hoffman, 63, of Otsego, MN passed away on January 9, 2021 peacefully at home with his beloved wife, Julie, at this side.

Jim was born June 18, 1957 in Buffalo, MN to John and Mary Hoffman. He received his GED in 1976 from Rockford High School. Jim worked for Spancrete Inc. for 30 plus years. One of his proudest accomplishments during this time was personally pouring every step during the construction of the Mall of America. This project took four years to complete. He was currently employed with Molen Concrete Products.

Jim enjoyed fishing, having a beer with friends, and riding his Harley Davidson. He looked forward to spending time with his kids/grandkids. On Sunday mornings, he loved listening to the old country music on the radio. He was a good and kind-hearted man who sought to help others whenever he could. He will be greatly missed.

Jim is survived by his wife, Julie; two children, Crystal L. Hoffman (friend Jason), of Chokio, MN, Dustin J. Hoffman (friend Emily), of Belgrade, MN; seven grandchildren, Wyatt, Jade, Taiten, Ciera, Jett, Ryder, Piper; and the family dog, Meka; and siblings, Elizabeth Anderson (Darryle), Barbara McDaniel (Gary), Irene Kutz (Robert), Jackie Bauer, Mary Pawelk (Doug), Survived by: John Hoffman Jr. (Jody), Sandy Stifter (Matt), Paula Villa (Guillermo), Patricia Hessler (friend Patrick).

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Mary; and brother, Joseph.

A visitation for the public was held at The Peterson Chapel in St. Michael, MN on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. A private family memorial service took take place following the visitation.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to The Peterson Chapel of St. Michael-Albertville. Online condolences for the family may be directed to

**In Lieu of flowers, please donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.**


Evelyn Kuhlman, 85

Evelyn Joan Kuhlman died Sunday January 17, 2021 at Edgewood Senior Living, Baxter. Burial will be at Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery near Little Falls at a later date.

Evelyn was born January 9, 1936 to David and Agnes (Olson) Johnson in Minneapolis.

Evelyn married Milton Kuhlman on August 29, 1967 in Ely, MN. She worked as an X-Ray technician at the Buffalo Hospital and was active with volunteering in her community. She loved collecting Precious Moments and spending time in her flower garden. Evelyn enjoyed watching wildlife and spending time at the lake. She took on many travel adventures, including sailing with her best friend. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

Evelyn is survived by her daughter, Michele Dawson, of Brainerd; son, Michael Kuhlman, of Buffalo; six grandchildren; and several great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Delores Shaver; and son, William “Billy.”

Funeral arrangements are entrusted by the Brenny Family Funeral Chapel, Baxter.


Brett Van Hecke, 50

Brett Alan Van Hecke, age 50, of Cokato passed away on Monday, January 11, 2021 at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

He was born on November 11, 1970 in Shakopee, the son of Robert and Sharon (Hooyer) Van Hecke. He graduated from Prior Lake High School in 1989. Brett received a degree in Business Administration from University of Minnesota Duluth in 1993. On January 4, 2020, Brett A. Van Hecke and Tammy M. (nee Duske) were joined in marriage in Nashville, Tennessee. He was fond of the outdoors and liked fishing, hunting and snowmobiling. Brett enjoyed his family and friends immensely!

Brett is survived by his loving wife, Tammy; step-children, Chelsie, Joshua and Caitlin; his parents, Robert and Sharon Van Hecke; brothers, Ryan (Tina) Van Hecke and Brandon (Jodie) Van Hecke; grandfather, Francis Van Hecke; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Keith (Kathy) Duske; further survived by brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Mary Van Hecke, John and Wilhelmina Hooyer; aunts, Patricia Van Hecke and Marlene Van Hecke; and uncles, Larry and James Hooyer.   

A visitation was held at the church on Thursday, January 14, 4-8 p.m. Prayer Service 7:00 p.m. A private family memorial service for Brett A. Van Hecke was held on Friday, January 15 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Montrose. Pastor James Grabitske officiated.

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



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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