Russell Wangen, 90, Manchester

Published 9:08 am Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Funeral services for Russell Anton Wangen, 90, will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at West Freeborn Lutheran Church. The Rev. Dennis Frank will officiate. Interment will be at West Freeborn Lutheran Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by local servicemen’s organizations VFW and American Legion. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church. Online condolences are welcome at

Russell Wangen

Russell Wangen

Russell died Saturday, May 11, 2013, at St. John’s Lutheran Home.

Russell Anton Wangen was born on Aug. 26, 1922, to Nels (Albert) and Martha (Nelson) Wangen in Manchester Township where he resided all his life. He was baptized, confirmed and had been a life long member of West Freeborn Lutheran Church. He attended Country School District No. 21. He proudly served his country in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was inducted into the Army in March of 1945. In October of that year he went to Okinawa for six months and then to the Philippines for six months. He was honorably discharged in November 1946. He was a member of the VFW, the American Legion, and a retired member of the Manchester Fire Department.

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Russell worked for Sorensen Brothers Construction Company from 1947 to 1984. He started as a heavy equipment operator and later became a mechanic for the company, taking pride in his welding ability. It was a job he loved. He often said he would have driven “Cats” for no pay just because he enjoyed it so much. He made many lasting friendships in his work career.

Russell married Viola Grasdalen Hartz on Jan. 30, 1957. Russell is survived by one stepdaughter, Lynda (Omer) Emstad; five grandchildren, Brenda (Scott) Kelley, Loveland, Colo., Debra (Steve) Humann, Wellington, Colo., Tim (Heather) Fagerberg, Killdeer, N.D., Lisa (Travis) Routh, Hartland, and Lara (Aaron) Chicos, Hartland. He is also survived by 10 great-grandchildren, Thomas Kelley, Sydnie, Jaynie and Steve Humann, Nicholas and Taylar Fagerberg, Braden, Thor and Reese Routh and Riley Chicos; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Russell was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Viola in 2002; step-daughter, Myrna Fagerberg in 2001; grandson, Wayne Fagerberg in 2000; brothers, Nels, Arnold, Elvin, Glenn, Harold and Floyd; and sisters, Marie Kaufman, Dora Melander, Florence Hanson and Helen Gunderson Aanerud and their spouses.

Russell had a gift for fixing things – anything from clocks to cars to Caterpillars. He was also a self-taught violin and harmonica player and loved music. He will be remembered for his cheerful nature and his love of children. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren were very precious to him as were his nieces and nephews. He often entertained them with his violin and his harmonica. He still played the harmonica while at St. John’s. The family would like to thank all of the staff at St. John’s who gave him wonderful care these last four years. Blessed be his memory.