Community mourns loss of teen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2002

First, Donald Sorensen died. Then, his daughter, Brenda R. Sorensen. Now, a grandson, Lewis Donald Sorensen, has died.

"That family has suffered so much," said Ann Walter, Mower County Extension Service educator.

Donald Sorensen died in 1995 leaving his wife, Charlotte, to raise their children and after his daughter Brenda's death, three grandchildren, too.

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Brenda R. Sorensen, Donald's daughter,

died January 23, 1997, in a house fire on Austin's east side. She was home alone at the time of the death.

The third generation family member, Lewis Donald Sorensen died last Sunday, May 3, in a pickup truck accident. The teenager lost control of the vehicle on a gravel road near the Sorensen family's mobile home at Dexter. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Funeral services are today at St. John Lutheran Church, Elkton, with Worlein Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

The grandfather didn't live to see grandsons Lewis, Lance and Kenny, who made his own debut at the 2001 Mower County Fair, leave the family's beef cattle legacy behind and show sheep.

Lewis enjoyed the most success, showing the reserve champion white-faced sheep at the 2000 Minnesota State Fair.

The youth's death touched many.

Larry Croker, the Southland school principal, has seen too many teen deaths occur in the district.

The death of a Southland sophomore last Sunday was no exception.

"It's a real tragedy," Croker said. "The family has long ties with the district and Lewis was getting things squared away in his life and then this happens. It's really sad.

The Red Rock Rangers 4-H club met Monday night and adult leaders Sue Crews said, "The kids were all devastated by the news."

"He was shy, when he was younger,

but as he got older he would help the other 4-Hers," she said. "He was just a very good kid. He helped other 4-Hers at the County Fair and worked in the barns and helped the softball team. He did so much."

The boy's grandfather, Donald Sorensen, was a Red Rock Rangers 4-H club adult leader when Crews was a child.


a Mower County Extension Service educator, recalled the happiness and joy the youth displayed when he won a reserve champion ribbon at the state fair and sold the sheep for $850.

"He was Mr. Excited," Walter said. "He was so happy. His uncle, Nels, gave him permission to buy a jacket at the State Fair that read on the back 'Minnesota State Fair Reserve Champion Exhibitor and he wore that jacket everywhere he went that year."

Walter said the youth was a popular choice for the Mower County 4-H "I Dare You" award in 2000.

"We all felt Lewis was one of those 4-Hers who had a great future ahead of them and that he would be a leader in a positive way," she said.

(Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at