Leo George Van Minsel, 85 was born October 22, 1927 in Buffalo City, Wis. to August & Elsie (Doebbert) Van Minsel. He died August 8, 2013 at Gunderson Medical Clinic in LaCrosse, Wis.
Leo was baptized as an infant at St. Martins Lutheran Church in Winona, Minn. and later confirmed his faith at St. Johns Lutheran Church, Caledonia, Minn.. He attended school in Buffalo City through the 8th grade. When Leo’s mother passed away at a young age, he worked at various jobs to help his dad care for his younger siblings.
Leo spent 2 years in the U.S. Army serving in Korea during the Korean Conflict. After returning home, he worked for Janesville transport. On January 1, 1956 he met the love of his life, Elaine Haugstad. They were married November 11, 1956 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Spring Grove. After returning from a wedding trip to California, Leo and Elaine settled in rural Spring Grove, Minn. where they farmed side by side and were blessed with 13 children, 8 sons and 5 daughters. Leo hauled local milk to Spring Grove Creamery, worked at Roverud Construction, set monuments for Odell Lee Monument Co. and was a DHIA milk tester.
Leo and Elaine loved to travel. They would find someone to milk the cows and load up the kids (and often grandkids) and drive to the East or West coast, visiting Disney parks and Vegas along the way. In 1977 and 1979 they were chaperones for the Spring Grove class trip to Washington DC. They had a memorable vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico in 2006, and in 2012 Leo and Elaine enjoyed a trip to Miami, Florida. Leo enjoyed Twins baseball, playing Bingo and watching children and grandchildren participate in sporting events.
Leo was a wonderful husband and father and will be greatly missed. He was very proud of all of his children and grandchildren. A visit from any of them would always brighten his day. He always instilled his values of faith, honesty and hard work in his children.
Leo is survived by his wife Elaine; 12 children Roger (Sue), Adams, Minn.; Karen (Jim) Hitchins, Lansing, Iowa; Lois (Adam) Guberud, Mabel, Minn.; Sue (Robert) Heiller, Lakeville, Minn.; Brian (Michelle), Spring Grove, Minn.; Robert, LaCrosse, Wis.; Deb (Tim) Brumm, Mabel, Minn.; Jon, Spring Grove, Minn.; Gary (Lia), Spring Grove, Minn., Scott (Jacqui), Spring Grove, Minn.; Jody (Jared) Church, Minnesota City, Minn.; Jeremy (Nichole), Oak Creek, Wis.; 39 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren with 2 more on the way.
Leo is also survived by 3 brothers, Kenny (Carol); Earl (Marijean) and Howard (Arlene); 1 sister Arvilla Burmeister; 1 step-sister Charlene Hansen; 1 brother-in-law Truman Haugstad; 2 sisters-in-law Edith Nerstad and Carmona Wiste.
He was preceded in death by his 4th child Donnie, a grandson Kaleb Hitchins, his parents, his stepmother Elsie (Olson) Van Minsel, 2 brothers Alan and Clarwin (Jack), his father and mother-in-law Julius and Emma Haugstad; sisters and brothers-in-law Hazel and Arnold Moen, Marjorie and Arthur Moen, James Nerstad and Arvid Wiste; step brother-in-law Bernie Hansen.
Friends may call Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Roble funeral Home, Spring Grove and one hour prior to services at the church on Wednesday. Funeral services will be Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Spring Grove, Minn. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Pastor Stephanie Frey will officiate.
Military Rites will be provided by American Legion Post #249 of Spring Grove.