Gene Frederick Stensland, age 68, of Buffalo, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Abbott Northwestern Hospital after a 22-day stay due to COVID-19.
Gene was born Nov. 14, 1952, in Rochester, the son of Fred and Edna (Erath) Stensland. He attended high school in Kenyon, and graduated from University of Minnesota Waseca School of Agriculture in 1973. Then, Gene moved to Watertown, and started his life-long career of selling farm implement parts.
Farm numbers were important to Gene; who else would use a Case IH equipment piece as their phone password?
To farmers, his friends, and customers he was the ultimate farm parts guy. He enjoyed several years of tractor pulling, with one of the tractors being Art Fortwengler’s 560 Internation. In later years, he enjoyed watching the tractor pulls with family or friends.
Gene was united in marriage to Diane Salonek, April 29, 1978, at Immaculate Conception Church in Watertown. Without fail, on the 29th of each month thereafter, he’d roll over in bed and say “Happy Anniversary.” Diane truly felt blessed. He was one-in-a-million.
Gene and Diane were blessed with, and proud of their three children: Brian, Jason, and Lisa. Many have commented on the wonderful traits of their kids; they had a good teacher.
Gene adored their grandchildren: Maria, Connor, Chloe, and Breanna. He enjoyed hanging out with the grandkids, watching the older grandchildren’s sporting events, and having Google Duo calls with their youngest granddaughter. He loved to tell jokes to the grandkids, and enjoyed hearing their jokes, too.
Family was very important to him and he treasured the time spent with them; playing 500 or Euchre was one of his favorite pastimes. Gene had a big heart and loved helping others. He found joy in working alongside his brothers-in-law in the field, running to get parts for farmers, researching information on farm equipment or Cub Cadet lawn mowers for people, and fixing what he could for others.
He will be missed by family and many friends, as he shared many gifts and talents.
Gene was active in the St. Francis of Xavier Catholic Church, participating in men’s group and Knights of Columbus. Gene was looking forward to the second annual Knights of Columbus toy farm show he was helping organize.
Gene is survived by wife, Diane; children, Brian (Tammy) Stensland, Jason Stensland, and Lisa (Travis) Senear; sister, Kay Stensland; grandchildren, Maria Stensland, Chloe Stensland, Connor Stensland, and Breanna Senear; father-in-law, Alfred Salonek; mother-in-law, Elizabeth (Lachermeier) Salonek; brothers-in-law, John (Lori) Salonek, Dan (Sharon) Salonek; sister-in-law, Bonnie Salonek; cousins, nieces, nephews, and numerous friends.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Edna (Erath) Stensland; and brothers-in-law, Bob Salonek and Jerry Salonek.
A private visitation will take place. Mass of Christian burial will take place Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 11 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, with interment at St. Francis Cemetery. Father Nathaniel Meyers will be the celebrant. Please see the following link to view a livestreaming of the funeral Mass, http://www.perkinsmediagroup.com/stensland.
Casket bearers will be Steve Johnson, Dave Floren, Matt Johnson, John Salonek, Dan Salonek, and Nathan Salonek.
A celebration of life is planned to take place during spring 2021.
While flowers are welcome, contributions may instead be sent to the Gene Stensland Memorial Fund at the MidCountry Bank in Buffalo, MN.
The Peterson Chapel, Buffalo served the family. Online condolences can be made to www.thepetersonchapel.com.