Vernon ‘Vern’ Gene Strehlow was born on the farm in New York Mills, Minnesota on April 25, 1934. The oldest of 5 children, Vern attended a one room school house, about which he enjoyed telling his children and grandchildren of the 2 mile “all up hill, each way” daily walk to and from school. Following high school graduation Vern served in the United States Army at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Vern married the love of his life Marlene (Wallace) on August 8, 1959. Jokingly, Marlene would say she married him because he looked like a cross between Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, but in reality they spent over 60 years together as devoted partners tackling life’s ups and downs with humility, humor and grace.
Vern worked as a roofer, carpenter and in the mines on the Iron Range in his early years. He was a jack of all trades and took pride in his handiwork. He was sought out by many a friend, family and neighbor for his building expertise and masterful workmanship. If something needed to be fixed, built, mowed or plowed, Vern was up to the task. Vern owned his own company, Bayview Builders of Fridley, and was responsible for the construction of hundreds of multifamily and single family residential units in and around the Twin Cities metro area.
After residing in Fridley, MN during his ‘working’ years, Vern and Marlene ‘retired’ and built homes in Alexandria, MN near Lobster Lake and then Lake Burgan, where Vern enjoyed tinkering in his garage/shop, tending to their lawn and garden and looking after the area’s birds and wildlife.
Vern was a proud 50 year member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters’ Union. He was active in the American Legion and the Minnesota Red Bull Historic Military Vehicle Association. Upon retirement, Vern took up the hobby of restoring antique military vehicles and enjoyed sharing this passion with his grandchildren, attending numerous antique car shows, parades and military vehicle caravans.
He is survived by his wife Marlene, daughters Debra Strehlow (Mitch Rotenberg), Las Vegas, NV and Rose Thompson (Troy), Centerville, MN, son Vern Strehlow, Bloomington, MN; grandchildren Olivia Rotenberg, Boston, MA and Ross Otto, Coon Rapids, MN; brothers and sisters Floyd Strehlow (Dorothy), James Strehlow (Barb), Mary Lou and Linda Cline (Larry); as well as brothers and sister-in-laws Leo Wallace (Carol), Roger Wallace and sister-in law Carol Wallace (wife of deceased Jack Wallace) and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Vern is predeceased by his parents Sadie and Irvin Strehlow, mother and father-in-law Helene and Cliﬀord Wallace and his brother and sister-in-laws Myrna and Issie Ternes and Jack Wallace.
Vern died peacefully on April 12, 2019. His family would like to thank the staﬀ and volunteers of the Hospice of Douglas County , as well as the staﬀ of Prairie Senior Cottages for their compassionate care in Vern’s last days.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at the Anderson Funeral Home, 659 Voyager Drive NW, Alexandria, MN, with visitation one hour prior to the service.
Donations may be made to the Hospice of Douglas County, or donors choice.