Kenneth LeRoy Widness, 87, formerly of Clitherall

Published 12:00pm Friday, January 31, 2014 Updated 12:08pm Friday, January 31, 2014


Kenneth LeRoy Widness, 87, formerly of Clitherall, died Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Fergus Falls.

As Kenneth would say … “I entered this world Oct. 23, 1926, a son to Alfred and Jennie (Borgen) Widness and was named Kenneth LeRoy Widness. I was raised on an 80-acre farm, 4 1/2 miles north of Battle Lake in Everts Township. Friends also know me by my nickname ‘Knute.’ I was one of six children. None of us could speak English … it was only Norwegian.”

Knute attended school in Everts Township through eighth grade and at the age of 15 worked for Anthony Berg. At the age of 17, with his parents’ permission, he enlisted in the Navy Feb. 15, 1944, was a cook and gunner on the USS Logan, plus was honored to see the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima Feb. 23, 1945, the invasion of Okinawa March 26, 1945, and being Honorably Discharged May 23, 1946.

Knute earned his pilot license April 15, 1947. He did received his high school diploma during a special Veterans Day presentation at the Battle Lake School Nov. 11, 1999, with Robert Linder, Sr.

Knute was honored to be part of the WDAY World War II Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., with Tom Martelle Nov. 3, 2007.

Knute and Goldie Sydow were married June 14, 1951 (Flag Day) with consent from their folks. They made their home in Clitherall for 56 years before his declining health. They enjoyed going dancing to old-time music with friends at local establishments.

He worked for many construction companies over the years but was proud to be an over-the-road trucker for Anderson Trucking (ATS) in St. Cloud for 28 years and earned many Million Mile Accident Free Trucking Awards. He saw and experienced many milestones over the years such as hauling pieces for the Libby Dam and Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall.

After his retirement May 23, 1992, he had many other jobs but loved to do woodworking in his basement making things for his family.

He is survived by his wife, Goldie Widness of Battle Lake Good Samaritan; a daughter, MarJean Martelle of Underwood; sons, Warren (Kathy) Widness of Wadena, Steve (Janet) Widness of Clitherall and Gary Widness of Battle Lake; grandchildren, Rebecca (Juanma) Schumacher-Rodriguez of England, Kenneth (fiancee Jill) Widness of Inver Grove Heights, Danial (Alison) Schumacher of Barnesville, Jennifer (Bryan) Dombroski of Oahu, Hawaii, Kasey (Casey) Widness of Bloomington, Hallie Martelle (fiance Derek Shol) and Joe Martelle; great-granchildren: Kaele Culver, Blake Widness, Graham Schumacher, Olivia Schumacher-Rodriguez, Alton Widness and another one in June; and nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Preceding him were his parents; and sibilings, Albert Widness, Mildred Haraldson, Karen Jonson, Orris Widness and Gladys Widness.

Service: 1 p.m. Sunday, at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home, Battle Lake

Clergy: Rev. Jake Dyrhaug

Burial: First Lutheran Church Cemetery of Battle Lake, at a later date

Military honors will be provided by Knute’s United States Armed Forces (Naval) grandchildren: Rebecca, Danial and Jennifer.



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