Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 1, 2008
John Ennen, 87, of Albert Lea, died Monday, Oct. 27, 2008, at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the First Reformed Church in Buffalo Center, Iowa. Visitation will be today from 6 to 8 p.m. at Winter Funeral Home and one hour before the service at the church. On-line tributes or personal e-mails may be left at www.winterfuneralhome.com.
John Henry Ennen was born Sept. 21, 1921, in Kossuth County, Iowa, to John and Katie (Dohlman) Ennen. He graduated from Buffalo Center High School in 1939. He attended and played varsity football at Central College in Pella, Iowa, graduating with an education degree in 1943. John always loved his Central Dutchman and was honored at a football game as a 65-year alum in the fall of 2007. In 1943, he entered the United States Navy and served during World War II as a petty officer 1st class, company commander, at Great Lakes Naval Base and the Naval Medical Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. He was honorably discharged on July 4, 1946.
On Jan. 11, 1946, John was united in marriage to Shirley Miller at Ascension Lutheran Church in Chicago. The couple made their home in Seneca and Paton, Iowa, where John was a teacher and coach. He truly enjoyed his boys and girls basketball players and was honored to be invited to many reunions where he was always, lovingly referred to as “Mr. Ennen.” In 1951, John became superintendent of schools in Joice, Iowa. It was at this time he earned his master’s and specialist degrees from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. During the summers, he sold insurance to schools for Mutual of Omaha. He then went on to be superintendent of schools at the following communities: Lyle, Minnesota, Graettinger, Iowa, and Underwood, retiring in 1986 after 40 years of being an educational leader.
John believed in giving back to the communities in which he lived. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion and Lions International, where he served in many leadership positions. He especially enjoyed being the membership chair, where each year he would get a new all time high. He was very active in the various churches he attended, serving on the church council and building committees and teaching Sunday school. Currently, he was a member of Crossroads Church of Albert Lea. He was a member of many boards: the Veterans Selective Service System, Fergus Falls Community College Advisory Board, Minnesota Administrator Association, P.T.A. board, Future Farmers of America Advisory Council and the Central College C Club.
John truly had a heart for kids. He loved his job of being an educator and touched so many with his encouragement and support over the years. In his retirement years, he enjoyed traveling, wintering in Edinburg, Texas, and attending his grandchildren’s sporting events. He was always their biggest cheerleader. He truly was a man who didn’t hold a grudge and was there to help when needed.
Survivors include sons Tom Ennen and wife Erika of Conway, S.C., Rex Ennen and wife Kim of Forest City, Iowa, David Ennen and wife Deanna of Forest City, Iowa; daughters Kathy Dierks and husband Gary of Mankato, Valerie Nelson and husband John of Eugene, Ore., Joice Forster and husband Craig of Fairmont, and Jacqueline Wiese and husband Terry of LaGrange, Kent.; 17 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a brother, Markley Ennen and wife, Jeanette, of Buffalo Center, Iowa; a sister, Jeanette Smith and husband Glen of Indianola, Iowa; two sisters-in-law, June Vidoloff and Pat Wolan of Chicago, Annette Miller of Cave Creek, Ariz.; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Katie Ennen; his wife, Shirley; father and mother-in-law William and Jeanette Miller; brother Henry Ennen; brothers-in-law, Glenn Miller, John Schart, Jozef Wolan, Rudy Voeks and Victor Vidoloff; daughter-in-law, Valerie Ennen; nephews, Keith Smith and Johnny Schart; and niece, Pauline Ennen.