AMerican Veteran 10
Official Obituary of

Gene Fenstra

August 13, 1926 ~ March 9, 2024 (age 97) 97 Years Old

Gene Fenstra Obituary

Henry “Gene” Fenstra, 97, of Willmar, died Saturday, March 9th at CentraCare Care Center in Willmar. His funeral service will be 11:00 am, Thursday, March 14th at Calvary Lutheran Church in Willmar. Visitation will be one hour prior to his service at the church. Burial with Military Honors will be at the church cemetery. Memorials are preferred to Calvary Lutheran Church for baptism faith chests, Habitat for Humanity, or Hospice.  Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar, www.hafh.org

Henry Eugene Fenstra was born August 13, 1926, to Sam and Elsie (Laabs) Fenstra on a farm near Harrisburg, SD. At a young age he and his family moved to a farm near Murdock in 1930. Gene was baptized at home in Chippewa County in May of 1943 and confirmed a short time later at Calvary Lutheran Church in Murdock. He attended public school and following his graduation enlisted in the US Army in 1945. Gene served in the ETO Signal Corps and was stationed in Saulisburg, Austria during WWII. Following his honorable discharge, he returned home and lived on a farm near Benson with family.  Gene moved to a farm near Kerkhoven where he continued to live until 1968. During this time, Gene worked various jobs: at a Ford dealership, Molenaar Plastics and also at the Armory before working for Rural Electric Association (REA) as shop manager in Willmar. In 1971, Gene was united in marriage to Marcella (Swenson) Van Buren and they built their home on Eagle Lake. She passed away after being married for eight years. Gene later married Elizabeth “Betty” (Speckmeier) Swenhaugen in 1982 and she passed away in 2006.

Gene was a member of Calvary Lutheran Church where was active with Stephen’s Ministries, was a cemetery volunteer, and also enjoyed working on the baptism faith chests that were given to the many newly baptized children.

Gene enjoyed traveling, making trips to Texas, Montana, Washington, Colorado and Florida.  He also enjoyed attending his grandkids activities, taking them fishing, working on TV’s and was a ham radio operator.  Gene was very knowledgeable and always willing to help and teach others in electrical, plumbing and construction. He volunteered at Habitat for Humanity well into his 80’s. Gene had a great sense of humor and was truly a family man. He stayed close with his siblings, nieces and nephews. 

Surviving are his step-children: Gail (Berna) Van Buren, Peggy Hoehne, Barry (Phyllis) VanBuren, Linda (John) Braunwarth, Chuck (Leanna) Swenhaugen, Jane (Robert) Skaalerud, Paul Swenhaugen; and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Also surviving are his sister, Helen (John) Brandon; and several nieces, nephews, and other family and friends.   

In addition to his two wives, Elaine “Marcella” and Elizabeth, Gene was preceded in death by his parents, step-sons, Kurt Hoehne and Scott Swenhaugen; siblings: Lucille (Don) Worden, Irene (Willy)  Erickson, and Don and Sam Fenstra.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gene Fenstra, please visit our floral store.

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Services

Visitation
Thursday
March 14, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Calvary Lutheran Church (Willmar)
302 Olena Ave SE
Willmar, MN 56201

Funeral Service
Thursday
March 14, 2024

11:00 AM
Calvary Lutheran Church (Willmar)
302 Olena Ave SE
Willmar, MN 56201

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