Philip Tennis, 84, Hayward

Published 10:08 am Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Funeral services for Philip S. Tennis, 84, of Hayward, will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Hayward Lutheran Church. The Rev. Katie Fick will officiate. Internment will be at Hayward Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bayview Funeral Home and one hour before the service at Hayward Lutheran Church. Online condolences are welcome at

Philip Tennis

Philip Tennis

Philip died at home on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013.

Philip Tennis was born on Aug. 25, 1928, in Hayward, the second of five children born to Albert and Christine (Skaar) Tennis. His early years were spent on a family farm in Hayward. In 1938, the family moved to the farm north of Hayward where Philip spent the remainder of his life.

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He was baptized and confirmed at Hayward Lutheran Church and attended Albert Lea High School where he graduated in 1946. In later years, he would attend Austin Junior College and many University of Minnesota agriculture seminar courses.

He was united in marriage to Edith Reimann on July 20, 1949, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Waltham, and together they raised a family of six children.

Philip had a broad range of interests and a great curiosity about life, reflected in his passion for learning and reading. At any family event, Philip was certain to receive gifts of books. From an early age, he worked on the family farm throughout the seasons and was an active member of 4-H, showing Guernsey cattle at local and state fairs. Within his family, church and local community, he shared his great passion for music, especially singing, which he particularly enjoyed with his family. His renditions of certain songs at family reunions became legendary. He and Edith sang for many weddings and funerals in the community over the years.

He was involved with sports from an early age, including baseball, football, wrestling and boxing and actively supported the efforts of family members and friends who participated in sports. He and Edie were well-recognized supporters at the sporting events of both their children and grandchildren, and, in fact, won awards for their visibility and enthusiasm.

In addition to his work on the farm, Philip was committed to public service. He served on his church council, holding various offices and directed the senior choir for many years. He served on the Albert Lea School Board of Education and on the Austin Junior College Advisory Board. During the 1970s, he served on the Advisory Committee to the Institute of Agriculture-University of Minnesota St. Paul campus.

In 1980, Philip was appointed by the secretary of agriculture and approved by the Congress of the United States to be chairman of the Minnesota State A.S.C.S. Committee, a group charged with administering the farm programs for the state of Minnesota. He was a Farm Bureau member and served on boards including the Minnesota State Guernsey Association, the District Guernsey Association, Freeborn County DHIA, county boards and the National Guernsey Association of which he served as president. He served on the Freeborn County Executive 4-H Leaders Council. He was active in local, state and national political activities.

From 1957 to 1992, Phil and Edie ran a registered Guernsey operation, milking 60 cows and farming 900 acres. Phil farmed in partnership with his father and later with his son. When Philip and Edith retired from full-time farming in 1992, Phil continued to play an active role in the farm operation.

In 1993, Philip took on a new role as the Freeborn County ditch inspector, a position he held for 19 years. This allowed him to use his knowledge of agriculture and land in a productive way and kept him in contact with a broad range of people around the county and state, which he enjoyed immensely.

Anyone who knew Philip will recall his ability to share history through storytelling and his seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of family history going back several generations. His interest in his own family history led Phil and Edie to visit Norway twice, in addition to several other trips they enjoyed over the years.

He was an extraordinary and loving man and will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.

He is survived by his wife, Edith; his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Barbara Tennis and Luc Bovens, Becky Tennis Hanson and Mick Hanson, Mary Tennis and Stacy LaVres, Brad and Helmy Tennis, Cindy and Bryce Gaudian and Wes and Cammie Tennis; grandchildren, Tracey (Grant) Domke, Peter (Jessica) Tennis, Jessica Hanson, Annemieke Tennis, Kate (Sean Winters) Tennis, Carl (Emelia) Gaudian, Emily Gaudian, Laura Gaudian, Caylee Tennis, Caleb Gaudian and Bethany Tennis; great-grandchildren, Isaiah Gaudian and Celia Domke; and step-great-grandchild, Jayce Dickman. He is survived also by brothers, Carl (Beverly) Tennis, Steve (Bonnie) Tennis and sister Charlotte (John) vonBerg; and many nieces and nephews.

Philip was preceded in death by his parents, Al and Christine Tennis; sister, and brother-in-law June and Dale Wells; and sister-in-law, Margaret Tennis.

Memorials preferred to the Hayward Lutheran Church Music Fund or the Hayward Cemetery.