HJ-ED-DHJ Obituaries

Glen E. Litfin

Glen E. Litfin, age 85, of Delano, died Sunday, May 20, 2007 at his home.

Visitation will be Tuesday, May 29, from 4 to 9 p.m., and will continue Wednesday from 10 to 11 a.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Delano.

Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday, May 30 at 11 a.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, with interment in St. Peter’s Calvary Cemetery.

Arrangements are by the Iten Funeral Home in Delano, Minnesota.

Glen was born Jan. 16, 1922 to Emil and Lydia (Zahrendt) Litfin in rural Lyndale, Minn.

He married Arlene Schaust in November of 1947.

Glen (along with his wife, Arlene, as office manager) owned and operated Glen Litfin Transfer and Excavating for 62 years. He began his business in November of 1945 when he purchased a Ford single-axle dump truck for $750 to fulfill a salt hauling contract that he had been awarded. He continued to run a scaled-down version of his business until two days before he died.

From this meager beginning of one small dump truck, Glen continued to buy and sell trucks and equipment, while at the same time, growing many facets of his diverse business. At its height, the business had 32 employees, 30-plus dump trucks, end dumps and belly dumps, numerous pieces of heavy equipment, snow plows, trucks and trailers of all types, buildings and properties for equipment and mechanics, and several gravel pits.

Glen served on the Delano City Council for 16 years, the Delano Fourth of July Committee, the Delano Sportsman’s Club, the Delano Athletic Club, the Delano American Legion Post, the Waconia VFW, Wright County Community Action, Minnesota Trucking Association, Highway Watch Transportation Security Administration, and the AAA Towing Association. He was a member of the St. Peter Catholic Church in Delano.

Glen was born and raised on a farm and had a life-long passion for working the soil, be it gardening at home or on an excavation project.

Glen and Arlene both loved to travel. They toured Australia, China, Europe, the South Pacific, South America, safaried in Thailand, and sailed on a total of 37 cruises to various parts of the world.

Family camping and fishing trips were a common getaway for Glen, Arlene, and their family. Glen also loved dancing and listening to polka and waltz music, playing cards, playing or watching baseball, fishing, attending auctions, eating great food (and Arlene knows how to cook), driving anywhere, or just having a conversation with anyone about a number of subjects.

He spent many hours attending events. Glen and Arlene seldom missed a game or musical event that one of their children or grandchildren were either participating in or coaching, no matter if it was in Delano, Waconia, or Annapolis. In fact, Glen had just seen his grandson Nicholas play baseball in Waconia in May.

A veteran of World War II, Glen served from 1942 to October of 1945. He was drafted into the US Army and earned the rank of technical sergeant in ordinance. He was in the 32nd “Red Arrow” division in the Pacific Theatre, and participated in several major drives, experiencing heavy fighting in the Philippines at Leyte Gulf, Corrigador, and Manila Bay.

His bloodiest and most personally difficult battle was in Manila. General Douglas MacArthur, on his return to the Philippines, wanted the Manila Hotel for his operational headquarters. The Japanese held that portion of the city and MacArthur ordered his troops to save the hotel and not level it. For Glen’s unit, the charge and capture of the Manila Hotel was a disaster. In order to save the hotel from destruction, this required room-to-room and hand-to-hand combat. Glen’s company, alone, lost 167 men that day.

Later on, in the Philippines, Glen’s unit liberated several Japanese prison camps, freeing Chinese, Philippine, British, and Australian prisoners. He had vivid memories of those camps and was angered and horrified at the cruelty and inhumanity of the Japanese. Glen’s unit was preparing for the invasion of mainland Japan while in the Philippines when the second atomic bomb was dropped and Japan surrendered.

Glen’s unit was ordered to secure Honshu Island by an airborne drop. Glen had never even flown in an airplane and now was going to take a one-way trip and jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Nevertheless, after a short afternoon of training and briefing, he found himself equipped and ready to jump out of a C-47. On his tour of Japan, Glen was at ground zero in Nagasaki just 10 days after the atomic bomb leveled the city.

Glen was a firm advocate for the use of the atomic bomb and firmly believed that its use saved well over a million American lives. He spoke very little of his combat experience, however, in his later years, he could be coaxed to share some of his experiences with his children and grandchildren.

He received many commendations for his military service, most notably the Purple Heart for a battle in Manila. Glen regarded his time in the military as an obligation and an honorable duty to his country, which he so dearly loved. Part of his legacy has been two excellent grandchildren who have also chosen to serve in the military following Glen’s dedication and example.

Glen was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, Maynard Litfin, Gertrude Litfin, Florence Dunn, and Verna Nelson; and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Marie Litfin, Clarence Dunn and Harry Nelson.

He is survived by his wife, Arlene; children, Jerry and Gayle Litfin of Delano, Nancy and Wallace Goltry of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Tim and Yvonne Litfin of Waconia, and Connie Litfin-Aragon and Lee Aragon of Tonka Bay; grandchildren, Dr. Grant and Heather Litfin of San Pedro Calif., 1st Lt Garrett Litfin, USMC, of Carlsbad, Calif., Leslie and A.J. Myer of Cincinnati, Ohio, Ensign Philip Litfin, US Navy, of Annapolis, Md., and Nicholas Litfin of Waconia.

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