Earl R. Koester, 93 year old resident of Swanville, MN, passed away on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at the Little Falls Care Center. A Funeral Service was held on Sunday, July 21, 2019 at First Lutheran Church in Little Falls, with Rev. Jake Dyrhaug officiating. Burial was at St. Peter’s Lutheran Cemetery in Swanville, MN.
Earl was born on April 3, 1926, to the late Alfred Sr. and Irene (Rahn) Koester. He grew up in rural Swanville and attended Swanville public school. His first job was picking up canned milk from farmers in the Swanville and Flensburg areas. For a short time, he also hauled cattle to South St. Paul. Then it was back to the milk business. He was a house-to-house milkman in Little Falls for 35 years. Two years before he retired at the age 65 the house-to-house milk delivery service came to an end. Those last two years were spent delivering to local restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses. Earl played the tenor saxophone in his old-time band called The Six Jolly Fellows for 25 years. It was at one of the dances that he met his wife-to-be Martha Martin. They were married on August 21, 1952, at a friend’s home. They had an old fashioned farm wedding and were happily married for 58 years. From this marriage, they were blessed with three daughters, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. When Earl wasn’t working or playing in the band he was busy shooting strikes on a local bowling league. After retiring, he kept himself busy by mowing lawns, going for long walks, keeping a weed-free vegetable garden, growing roses and keeping his truck clean and shiny. It was quite the talk of the town. He and Martha spent their mornings playing Kings Corner and sipping on coffee. They enjoyed long drives and maybe stopping at a garage sale or two along the way. Earl was known to his grandchildren and neighborhood children as “Papa” and took pride in that role. After Martha passed, Earl could be found visiting with friends at the local cafe and Swanville Produce. He also went on a few trips with LaVerne’s Travel to Branson, MO, the Twin Cities, and Mackinac Island in Michigan not to mention a trip or two the local casino. At the ripe old age of 88, he went on his first plane ride to Las Vegas to help his granddaughter celebrate her birthday! Karen and Nona shared trips with Earl, Karen taking the long trips, Nona the short. But it didn’t matter the trip, Earl always knew the way and wasn’t shy about telling you the quickest way to get somewhere-he knew every road in Minnesota we think! At age 90 he moved into Bridgeway Estates in Little Falls and most recently into the Little Falls Care Center after declining health. He will be deeply missed by his family.
Earl is survived by daughters, Nona (Tom Kliber) of Swanville; and Karen Koester of Maple Grove; grandchildren, Sara (Ryan) Keillor; great-granddaughter, Harlyn of Stillwater, and Ryan Kliber of Swanville; and sister, Devona (Dee) Peterson of Baxter.
Preceded in death by his wife Martha, infant daughter Linda, sister Bernice Zastrow, brothers Homer Koester and Alfred Koester.