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Obituaries from the week of January 1, 2014

Dale Burnham, 91


Dale Burnham, age 91 of Walnut Grove, passed away Monday, December 23, 2013 at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne.  Services will be held in May of 2014.  Online condolences may be sent at  Stephens Funeral Service - Walnut Grove Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. 


Merron Gullickson, 88


Merron Grace Gullickson age 88 of Walnut Grove passed away Friday, December 27, 2013 at the Westbrook Good Samaritan Center.  Funeral services were held Monday, December 30 at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in rural Walnut Grove.  Burial was in the church cemetery.  Online condolences may be sent at  Stephens Funeral Service - Walnut Grove Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. 

Merron Grace (Tompkins) Gullickson was born June 5, 1925 in Spencer, South Dakota to Ray and Laura (Short) Tompkins.  The family moved to Morton, Minnesota in 1933 and later to Tracy, where Merron graduated from high school in 1943.  She received a degree in accounting from the Minnesota School of Business in Minneapolis.  Merron worked at the JC Penney store in Tracy where she met Kenneth Gullickson.  They were married on May 23, 1954 at the Presbyterian Church in Tracy.  The couple farmed together in Holly Township until Kenneth’s retirement in 1980.  They continued to live on the farm until 1990 when they moved into Walnut Grove.  Merron was Kenneth’s caregiver for many years as his health declined.  She was an Avon representative for a number of years.  Merron was a member of the Birthday Club and Ladies Aid, and held numerous other church positions at St. Olaf.  She enjoyed counted cross stitch and made tie quilts for each of her grandchildren.  Merron loved baking, playing cards, and spoiling her grandkids.

Merron is survived by her children: Karen Myers (Doug Midthun) of Lake Crystal, Joanne (Rich) Bruns of Hinckley, Jean (Donald) Strong of Littleton, CO, and Janet (Leo) Theisen of Walnut Grove; grandchildren: Jessica Deno, Chris and Josh Myers, Mike and Mark Bruns, Katie Linden, Nicole Strong, Jeremy and Alison Knakmuhs, Jennifer Wisner, Brian Strong, Brian and Aaron Theisen; great grandchildren: Kyle Quiram, Adam Deno, Ren and Selah Myers, Charlotte Bruns, Claire and Alice Linden, James and Jaylynn Wisner, and Paisley Strong; and many nieces and nephews.  She is preceded in death by her parents, husband, and siblings Edna Hensley, Glen Tompkins, Mary AuDella Zeug, and Hazel Tompkins. 


James Hansen, 61


James A. Hansen, age 61 of Florence, formerly of International Falls, passed away at his residence on Friday, December 20, 2013. A memorial service will be held in Hutchinson at a later date. Hamilton Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to

James Alfred was born on November 14, 1952 in International Falls, Minnesota to Walter and Ada (Emerson) Hansen.

He is survived by his children, Connie Dodge of Hutchinson, James, of Windsor, CA, Kari Hansen of Hutchinson, Patrick of Hutchinson, Rachele  Wraspir of Hutchinson, and Emily Britzius of Cheyenne, WY; and siblings, Richard of OR, John of CA,  Donald of International Falls, Walter of International Falls, Arthur of NE, Doug of NE. Eddie Hockette of MO, and Linda Newman of MN.   


Francis Kassel, 91


Francis M. Kassel age 91 of Tracy, formerly of Walnut Grove, passed away Thursday, December 26, 2013 at his home.  Funeral services were held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, December 31 at the Methodist Church in Walnut Grove.   Burial was in the Walnut Grove Cemetery.  Online condolences may be sent at  Stephens Funeral Service – Walnut Grove Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Francis M. Kassel was born in Holly Township, Minnesota on March 8, 1922 to Fred and Ilo (Moore) Kassel.  He graduated from Walnut Grove High School in 1942.  Francis worked on the family farm until he was drafted into the Navy in October 1944.  He was united in marriage to Ludema Hollingsworth on December 24, 1944 while home on leave.  Francis and Ludema had three sons.  In addition to farming, Francis was a member of the Walnut Grove Creamery, a Holly Township Supervisor, and a director on the Tri-County Cooperative.  He was a member of the Walnut Grove United Methodist Church.  Francis remained on the family farm until 1991 when he retired and moved to Tracy.  He was a member of the Tracy Lions Club.  Francis enjoyed fishing, hunting, making homemade ice cream, and playing the harmonica and concertina.

Francis is survived by his wife Ludema; sons Loren (Gloria) of Dawson, Gary (Cathy) of Walnut Grove, and Scott (Geralyn) of Waseca; grandchildren: Erin (Jason) Matthies, Amy (Craig) Nelson, Jordan Kassel, and Mitchell Kassel (fiancée Cassie Seifert); and great grandchildren: Sydney and Chase Nelson, and Malea and Kade Matthies.  He is preceded in death by his brother Dale Kassel and sisters Erma Hatch, Melba Carlson, and Beverly Hubbard.