Monday, May 12, 2014 8:20 AM
Lester Sorenson, 79, of Decorah, died Thursday, May 8, 2014, at the Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah. Mass of Christian Burial was at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 13, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah, with Rev. Phil Gibbs officiating. Organist was Mary Beth Bouska. Cantor was Cindy Schissel. Hymns were “One Day at a Time,” “Here I am, Lord,” “Only a Shadow,” “Bread, Blessed and Broken,” “In The Garden” and “How Great Thou Art.” Lectors were Emily Sorenson and Michele Birdsell. Family memories were offered by Amy Sorenson. Offertory giftbearers were Sage, Ciara, Austin and Mason. Eucharistic ministers were Debbie Decker. Casket bearers were Dave Carlson, Lewis Olson, Ron Koester, Reed Carlson, Roger Timp and Dwayne Karr. Interment was at St. Benedict Catholic Cemetery in Decorah.
Lester Kenneth Sorenson was born Dec. 5, 1934, the son of Leonard and Katherine (Hotvedt) Sorenson in Decorah. Lester was baptized Jan. 20, 1935, and confirmed April 30, 1950, at the Canoe Ridge Lutheran Church, rural Decorah. Lester attended rural schools and graduated from Decorah High School in 1953. Lester married Gerry Ryan Sept. 18, 1956, at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Decorah. Four children were born to this union: Leslie, Steve, Julie and Kelly. Lester served in the U.S. Army from 1957 – 1959. Les worked for the Fred Carlson Company for 51 years, retiring in 2002. He was hired by his father in the summer when he was 16 years old. He worked as a laborer, semi driver, equipment operator, heavy equipment mechanic, foreman and manager. Lester was a good teacher and taught many of the company employees how to operate and fix equipment and how to work hard. He was involved in all operations at the Fred Carlson Company throughout his career, including concrete paving, asphalt paving, sand and gravel and ready mix concrete. He could fix anything and was very innovative. Lester always was looking for ways to improve operations. Les enjoyed hunting, fishing, cards, square dancing, rock collecting and camping. He and Gerry loved to travel, and were able to visit all 50 states. He had a great sense of humor. Most of all Les enjoyed spending time with his family. Lester was a member of the Knights of Columbus and St. Benedict Catholic Church.
Lester is survived by his wife, Gerry Sorenson, Decorah; four children: Leslie (Virginia) Sorenson, Decorah; Steve (Sandy Johnson) Sorenson, Decorah; Julie (Shawn) Henry, Decorah; and Kelly (Bill) Wedmann, Decorah; six grandchildren: Amy and Emily Sorenson, Michele (Justin) Birdsell, Erica (Mitch) Hanson, Sage and Ciara Wedmann; six great-grandchildren: Austin, Mason, Wyatt, Addison, Riley and Elle; three sisters: Arlene (Duane) Larson, Decorah, Edna Jacobson, Decorah, Marilyn (Jay) Beard, Decorah; brother, Dale (Connie) Sorenson, Bullhead City, Ariz.; sisters-in-law: Charlie Sorenson, Decorah, Joan McGavick, Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, Anna Myers, Ridgeway; brothers-in-law: Tom (Elsie) Ryan, Cresco, Phil (Ellen) Ryan, Cresco, Dean (Marcie) Ryan, Cresco, Virgil (Joan) Henry, Ridgeway; many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and -nephews.
Lester was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Katherine (Hotvedt) Sorenson; brothers, Arnold Sorenson and Elmer Sorenson; grandson, Nicholas Steven Sorenson; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law: Mary Henry, Harold “Bud” Jacobson, Paul (Evelyn) Ryan, Robert Ryan, Leo McGavick and Gene Myers.
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