Herald Journal Obituaries


Melvin F. “Whitey” Volkenant

Melvin F. “Whitey” Volkenant, age 84 of Buffalo, and formerly of Montrose, died Saturday, May 14, 2005.

Mel, or Whitey, as he was known around Buffalo, was a lifelong resident of Wright County, born in Montrose Oct. 22, 1920.

After farming for a few years at the family homestead in Montrose, he purchased land from the Johnson’s Lodge Resort on Lake Pulaski, at a time when the island was still visible. The site was next to the 1850s trading post and included an original cobblestone road, adjacent to the shore.

He worked most of his career as a bricklayer, masonry foreman, and supervisor for Kraus Anderson of Minneapolis.

A faithful member of Buffalo United Methodist Church, in his younger years, he served on many committees and in other volunteer roles. He was a member of Civil Defense, and later was proud to be in the Wright Co. Sheriff’s Reserve.

Whitey was an avid hunter of pheasants and ducks around Lake Mallardy in Montrose, and eagerly anticipated his annual trek to the deer camp near Aurora on the Range. Additional interests included flying his Aeronca during the 1950s.

Everyone who knew Mel, Melvin, or Whitey will miss his cheerful and often outrageous humor. He was a great jokester and prankster, even to the end, when his stick became part of his schtick.

He is survived by his wife, Jan Thies Volkenant; children Barry and Susan Volkenant, and Laurel (Cesar) Martinez; grandchildren Michael, Jennifer, and Melissa Martinez; sisters Geraldine (John) Laasko, and Mryl Wright; brother Glenn (Barbara) Volkenant; and many nieces and nephews and extendend family, who will miss him dearly.

Preceding Melvin in death were his first wife and the mother of his children, Patricia Hibbard Volkenant; and his parents, Charles and Clara Weese Volkenant.

Funeral services were Tuesday, May 17 at 4:30 p.m. at Buffalo United Methodist Church, with visitation the evening before at the Peterson Chapel in Buffalo. Organist for the funeral service was David Gaeth, and soloist was David Coward.

Pallbearers were Dan Laakso, Tim Dubois, Lloyd Link, Jim Nelson, Richard Evans, and Bruce Freiberg. Memorials preferred to the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Heart Association.

Arrangements were with the Peterson Chapel in Buffalo.

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