Sorenson, Lester James (1927-2008)

Lester Sorenson, 80, died on Saturday, April 26, 2008 at MeritCare Northwest Campus in Thief River Falls, MN.

Lester James Sorenson, the son of Carl J. and Clara (Reierson) Sorenson, was born in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, April 27, 1927.

Lester attended Newfolden High School graduating in 1945. He spent the next five years doing odd jobs. He lived with his brother, Stanley, in Portal, North Dakota, from 1947 to 1948 where he worked for the railroad. Lester served on the “ice gang” delivering ice to the passenger coaches in order to keep the food cold for dinner. In appreciation, the cook gave him free pies.

In 1950 Lester joined the Army. His orders arrived while he was helping to build his neighbor’s house. His father had the honor of walking next door to serve him his papers. Instead of going back to work that day, Lester packed his bags and headed off for 16 weeks of military training.

Lester was appointed to the United States Army, 3rd Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, stationed at Fort McNair, Washington, DC. While most of his fellow recruits went to Korea, Lester was deployed to the Honor Guard in Washington, DC. He was assigned funeral duty at Arlington National Cemetery, guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and protecting the President at the White House.

Receiving an honorable discharge in September of 1952, Lester returned to Thief River Falls where he began working at Jungs Bakery. In 1953 he secured a job delivering milk door-to-door for Land O’ Lakes.

On June 7, 1953, Lester married Lois Mae Halvorson at Zion Lutheran Church in Viking, Minnesota. The young couple made their home in Thief River Falls. To their union were born six children: LuAnn, Robert, James, Jeffrey, Lori, and Charles. In 1964 the family moved to Viking followed by a final move to Newfolden in 1969. Lester would eventually be quite proud to say that all of his six children graduated from Newfolden High School, the same school he and Lois had graduated from a generation before.

In 1969 Lester was promoted to Grade-A Field Inspector for Land O’ Lakes. His job allowed him to drive across Northern Minnesota and Northeastern North Dakota. He came to know and be known by many farmers. Lester retired from Land O’ Lakes on January 1, 1984 at the age of 57.

Lester enjoyed playing Pinochle with friends, doing yard work, hunting (in the early years), and driving his antique cars and tractors. The Sorenson family has been long-time members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Newfolden.

On June 13, 1991, Lois, Lester’s wife of 38 years, passed away after a long and difficult illness.

Lester married Patricia Erickson Carpenter on June, 20, 1992. They enjoyed playing cards and traveling to visit family and friends in many parts of the country. The couple continued to live in Newfolden until the day of Lester‘s passing.

Survivors include: Wife, Patti of Newfolden; five children, LuAnn (Michael) Sollom of Holland, MI; Robert (special friend, MaryAnn Wollin) Sorenson of Greenbush, MN; Jeffrey (Melanie) Sorenson of Newfolden, MN; Lori (Joel) Waterworth of Thief River Falls, MN; Charles “Chuck” (Suzanne “Sue”) Sorenson of Roseau, MN; twelve grandchildren, Anna, Nathan, and John Sollom, Paige and Jade Sorenson, Callie Sandberg, Ethan Elseth, Connor and Grace Sorenson, Kyle (Laura) Waterworth, Keli (special friend, Justin St. Clair) Waterworth, and Katie (fiancé, Mitch Pribula) Waterworth; several nieces and nephews; and Patti’s children, Curtis, Shelly, Greg, Tammy, Kristy, Chad, and all their families.

Lester is preceded in death by his wife, Lois, on June 13, 1991; his son, James, on July 4, 1981; his grandchildren, Brianna Sorenson on November 30, 1991, and James Sollom on November 11, 2005; his parents, Carl and Clara; his siblings, Stanley (Helen) Sorenson, Audrey Sorenson, Milton Sorenson, Lenora (Orville) Harstad, and Ruth (Wilber) Highfill.

[Interred Oak Grove cemetery]

Transcribed by: Cheryl Srnsky