Services for John Brendalen

John Brendalen, 98, of Clearbrook, MN, entered into eternal rest, August 3, 2022 at Cornerstone Nursing and Rehab in Bagley, MN.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, August 12, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at Elim Lutheran Brethren Church in Clearbrook, Minnesota with a visitation one hour prior. Interment will be held at the Elim Lutheran Brethren Cemetery in Clearbrook, MN. The Cease Family Funeral Home of Bagley assisted the family with arrangements. 
John was the first-born child of Christ and Helga Brendalen. He was born on January 8, 1924 near Harperfoss, Norway, in the Gudsbrandalen Valley. At the age of four, John, along with his mother and younger brother, Hans, immigrated to America. The family only spoke Norwegian and John started country school in Weme, MN speaking only his native tongue. John was an inquisitive child, always ready to try something new and make something out of nothing. John’s formal education ended in eighth grade when he was expected to work on the family farm. From 1944 to 1946, John served in the Army, where he was stationed on Okinawa Island and in Korea. While overseas in the Army, he was in the Construction Engineers and in charge of the Carpentry Shop. He also enjoyed boxing on the side. When John returned from the service, he worked in a brewery for eleven years in Milwaukee, WI. While in Milwaukee, he met and married June Gunderson on March 31, 1951. Milwaukee was the recipient of two new homes John built for his family. John and June had two children, John Jr. and Judy. In the spring of 1958, John felt the need to move his family from the city so he bought the family farm by Clearbrook, MN and started dairy farming. Forever working, John milked cows, did the field work, cleared land, built two more homes, shops, sheds, and a new diary barn. 
John was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith. He attended and was a member of the Elim Lutheran Brethren Church and served as a Trustee there. He also served on the town board and the FHA board. John was proud of his Norwegian heritage and returned to Norway with his brother, Hans, for a visit. 
In his youth, John walked plowing with horses and at age 98 covered hundreds of acres with a 4-wheel drive tractor.
John is survived by his wife of 71 years, June of Clearbrook, MN; his son, John Jr; his daughter, Judy Tollefson; sisters, Martha Ahles and Christine Strande; his brothers, Arnold (Beverly) and Erling (Betty Lou); his grandchildren, Jolyn (Bill) Fisher, Janell (Steven) Wieder, Justin Tollefson, and Laura (Chris) VanDam; his honorary grandchild, Liz Tollefson; his great grandchildren, Oliver Nelson, Gabe and Liam Wieder, and Luke VanDam; and many nieces, nephews, and other family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Christ and Helga Brendalen; his brothers, Hans (Eleanor), Anton (Marlys) Brendalen; his brother in-law, Virgil Strande; his son-in-law, Larry Tollefson; and his daughter-in-law, Judy Brendalen.
Messages of condolence may be sent to

Richards Publishing

P.O. Box 159
239 2nd Ave
Gonvick, MN 56644
Telephone: (218) 487-5225


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