Wilbur Earl Laffrenzen, 88, of Rochester, died on Saturday January 11, 2020.
Wilbur was born on April 1, 1931 to Henning and Anna (Helmke) Laffrenzen in Lake Wilson, MN. He graduated from Pipestone High School and on October 8, 1950 he married his high school sweetheart, Mary Jean Folkerts.
He served in the Army with active duty from 1952-1954 in Germany during the Korean War. Upon returning to the United States, he worked as a produce manager in several grocery stores before deciding to go to college.
In 1959, Wilbur graduated with honors from Mankato State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Studies and Physical Education. In August 1969 he received his Master's Degree from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado.
His first teaching job was at Edison Junior High in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Wilbur and Mary then moved to Rochester, Minnesota. In June, 1991, he retired after teaching geography and world history for 27 years at Kellogg Jr. High. During their retirement, Wilbur and Mary became snowbirds and enjoyed many winters in Surprise, Arizona.
Wilbur was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church in Rochester. Wilbur loved to travel, was an avid fisherman who enjoyed many fishing trips to Canada, playing golf, playing cards, watching and cheering for the Minnesota Twins, Vikings, Wild, Timberwolves and Gophers and driving clean cars!
He is survived by his wife, Mary; sister, Donna Smith of Cambria, CA and brother Darl (Shirley) of Prescott, AZ; five children; Bruce (Mary) of Burnsville, MN, Ann (Randy) Collins of Kasson, MN, Beth (Dave) Sensenbaugh of Thornton, CO, Mark (Kim) of Rochester, MN and Paul (Erin) of Parker, CO, and 14 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Dale and David.
A Funeral Service for Wilbur will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at Grace Lutheran Church (800 E Silver Lake Dr, Rochester, MN 55906) with Reverend David Frederickson officiating. Visitation will be held two hours prior to the service from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. at the church. Burial will be at Oakwood East Cemetery in Rochester.
Wilbur's family wish to express their gratitude and thanks to the doctors, nurses, support staff, and Palliative Care team at St. Mary's Hospital and Rochester Rehabilitation and Living Center for their compassionate care of Wilbur and kindness to family throughout his illness.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes is honored to be serving the Laffrenzen family. To leave a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
So sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
I had Mr. Laffrenzen for geography at Kellogg and will always remember him as one of the greatest teachers I ever had. I enjoyed coming to class because he was always upbeat and fun. I will always remember you, Mr. Laffrenzen!
Beth, Mark and Family,
I cannot remember a time when my parents (Merle & Donna) did not count your parents and the Andersons among their very closest friends. When my brothers and I would catch up on news in Rochester, there was always a mention of what the three couples were doing. Of course, we kids occasionally got to have fun together too, but that was long ago! I think I recall a couple of Kellogg faculty picnics where we had some fun. Your dad and mom have been a blessing in our lives. I will always remember your dad's positive nature. Best wishes to all of you as you celebrate his life and the memories that live on in all of us. - Doug Smith
Ann and Mark:
Joan and I are very sad to hear of your fathers passing. We know how hard it is to lose a parent! Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.
Bob and Joan Brengman
My thoughts and prayers are sent to you at this time. What great memories I have of the Kellogg days!
I had Mr. Laffrenzen for my geography teacher in '68-'69 at Kellogg. Although I di not like geography, he made it fun and bearable for me. I still remember some of his drawing on te chalkboard to explain things. My Condolences to his family, and may you rest in peace, Mr. Laffrenzen. You were a great teacher.
Mr. Laffrenzen was a good and kind teacher. I enjoyed his class and enjoyed the opportunity to talk to him when our paths crossed over the past number of years.
What a pleasure it was to meet and know Wilber,he is one of the kindest,funny,loving man I have known. When I would see him at the sale he was a bright spot in my and Nancy's life.
So many precious memories and JOY that our family has shared with Wilbur and family. The love of sharing good music whether around the piano or with a CD playing, our Faith, many meals thru the years, and of course the games of Some-R-Set or pinochle, hand & foot, all which created laughter, tears and LOVE for one another. Blessings to all of the family.
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