Lester A. SpaagMarch 3, 1920 ~ October 9, 2017 (age 97)
Lester A. Spaag, age 97 of Winona, passed away Monday, October 9, 2017 at Saint Anne Extended Healthcare, Winona.
Lester was born on March 3, 1920 in Stockton Valley to Fred and Frieda (Reps) Spaag. He attended the Stockton Valley School and helped his father on the farm. He especially like to train and break work horses. A month after Pearl Harbor he was drafted into the United States Army and was trained to be a searchlight operator. His 351st Searchlight Battalion served honorably in Africa and Italy for almost two years before disbanding and the soldiers were all assigned to other units. Lester joined the 10th Mountain Division in January of 1945 and they pushed the Germans out of Italy. During this time, he was awarded a bronze star with a cluster for outstanding bravery. As a staff sergeant, his men would follow him regardless of the danger, he was always very proud that he had served his country well.
After the war he farmed with his father in Stockton Valley and later with Walker Woodworth near Rollingstone. He married Rosemary Challberg in 1948 and out of that union they had four children, they were later divorced. He ended his farming career and began a career with Swift Meat Packing Company which lasted for 22 years, some of those years in Illinois, and he later worked for Pinkertons as a guard at a nuclear plant, in Rockford, IL. He married Maxine Church on August 12, 1961 at the Little Brown Church in the Vale, Nashua, IA. They loved to travel, even overseas, and after retiring spent several winters in Phoenix and then 20 winters in South Texas where they made many good friends and enjoyed the many activities in their mobile home park. Lester was a familiar figure there, riding his three-wheeled bike on all the streets every day for exercise. At his 90th birthday celebration in Texas over 200 people came to the party to help him celebrate, including his daughter Kathleen, granddaughter Karen and great granddaughter Emily.
He was a member of Homer United Methodist Church. During his retirement he raised and trained ponies and belonged to a harness club. He also was a volunteer at the Watkins Home for 10 years and was a member of the Lions Club while living in Illinois. He loved people and was always in a good mood. His grandson David called him his grandpa who smiled.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Maxine; children: David Ardin, Tacoma, WA; Linda (Doug) Douglas, Harrison, TN; Kathy Colberg, Otsego, MN; Aimee (Howard) Hagan, Orrtanna, PA; Wayne (Karen) Morris, Madison, WI; Leland Morris, Winona; Curtis (Billie) Morris, Walterboro, SC; 18 grandchildren; 28 great grandchildren; a brother Leonard Spaag, Winona and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and a brother.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, October 11, 2017 at Fawcett Junker Funeral Home, Winona with Rev. Kathy Schuler officiating. Interment will be at Woodlawn Cemetery, Winona. Military honors will be provided by the American Legion Leon J. Wetzel, Post 9.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
Services entrusted to Fawcett Junker Funeral Home and Crematory, Winona, MN and Fountain City, WI. Words of sympathy or remembrance may be left at www.fawcett-junkerfuneralhome.com.