Eugene Horswell, 91, Albert Lea

Published 9:39 am Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Funeral services for Eugene “Gene” Horswell, 91, will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at United Methodist Church. The Rev. Tom Biatek will officiate. Interment will be at Lakewood Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church. To sign the guest book, go to

Eugene died Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea.

Eugene was born in 1920 in Harris, Iowa, to John and Dindie Horswell. He graduated from Harris High school. He married Geraldine “Jerry” Blom on July 27, 1947, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa.

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Gene was the owner and operator of Horswell Potato Farms in northern Iowa. He started farming and specializing in growing potatoes while in high school at Harris, later expanding to Armstrong, Blairsburg and then to Thompson, Iowa, where he and Jerry lived from 1953 to 1968. In 1948 Gene built an innovative potato harvester that dug and loaded potatoes into trucks, eliminating dirt and vines, putting an end to picking potatoes by hand. He also made specialized equipment for processing potatoes and was one of the first to wash and bag potatoes in small consumer-sized bags. He installed an irrigation system for the potato acres at Thompson. They sold the farming operation and moved to Fairmont in 1968 and Gene became a farm real estate broker. In 1974 they moved to Spring Green, Wis., where Gene was manager of a new potato growing partnership, Circle Valley Farms. This required developing many irrigation wells and installing irrigation systems. This business grew potatoes for table, processing and exporting. Gene and Jerry moved to Albert Lea in 1996.

Gene obtained his pilot license and owned a twin engine Piper Seneca which he enjoyed flying. He served on the Red Cross Board in Albert Lea for several years. He was a firm believer in Jesus Christ and a member of the United Methodist Church.

Gene is survived by his wife of 64 years, Geraldine; five children: Donna (Neil) Ward of Albert Lea, Ronald (Dian) Horswell of Baton Rouge, La., Marla (Robert) Risner of Kansas City, Mo., Harvey (Jill) Horswell of LaCanada, Calif., and Connie Olsen of Crystal Lake, Ill; six grandchildren: Clinton (Wendy) Hiatt, Martin Hiatt, Hilary (Joseph) Marcee, Scott Olsen, Kelly Garis and Tyler Horswell; three great-grandchildren: Jackson, Bailey and Campbell Marcee.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Merle Horswell; son-in-law, Stephen Hiatt; and grandson, Bradley Olsen.

Memorials preferred to charity of choice.