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Harold Alexander Ranum

March 10, 1924 ~ July 11, 2018 (age 94)

Harold Alexander Ranum, 94, passed away peacefully on July 11, 2018 at Knute Nelson in Alexandria. After a lifetime of determined independence, he relied on the compassionate care of their staff for the last weeks of his life. Not one to complain, he was gracious and kind to the end.

Harold was born March 10, 1924 in Starbuck, MN, the son of Arthur and Agnus Ranum. He grew up on the family farm and attended country school nearby. Harold graduated from Starbuck High School in 1943 after deferring a year so that he and brother Ernie could attend school together. Then he farmed with his father during the years of transition from horse power to tractor power.

Harold and Betty Johnson were united in marriage on March 11, 1950 at Indherred Church near Starbuck. A northern Minnesota girl with extended family in the Starbuck area, Betty met Harold soon after moving to town. Once married, they began farming on their own on land near Starbuck and Glenwood. In 1956, they moved to Alexandria.

Harold spent the next 4 decades working as a carpenter and mason. He learned his skills from those around him, once picking up his boss’ trowel when he went to lunch and finishing a row of bricks. He worked on countless homes and small businesses in the Alexandria area. While his work was often outside no matter what temperature, he rarely commented on the weather and always spoke well of his coworkers.

The Ranums moved to their home near Lake Mary in 1961. What began as a family vegetable garden and a few apple trees grew into 3 acres of vegetables and a 75 tree orchard. Harold and Betty tended the garden together and sold the produce at their roadside stand or at farmers’ market in town. Harold continued to plant a large garden even in his later years. He followed the seasons, fed the birds, and loved the land.

During Betty’s prolonged illness, Harold took on the role of caregiver until her death in 2014. They often baked together as a pastime during those years, and he became proficient at making Swedish rye bread, Norwegian krumkake, and blueberry muffins.  In December of 2017, Harold moved to an apartment at Grand Arbor in Alexandria where he enjoyed the camaraderie, the breakfasts, and the time with his sister and her husband.

He is survived by his son Richard (Mary) and daughters Becky (Steve), Bev (Dennis), and Bonnie (Brian), grandchildren Mark, Sarah, Russell, Tony, Mikayla, Adam, Daniel, Laurel, Peter, and Anders and 16 great grandchildren, and by 2 sisters and a brother. He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, and four brothers.

Services will be held at First Lutheran Church at 11:00 on July 20. Visitation will be at Anderson Funeral Home on July 19 from 5 to 7 and one hour prior to the service. Interment at Indherred Church cemetery will be private. Memorials preferred to First Lutheran Church building fund, Harold’s church for 60 years.

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