Roland Elmer Petersen, 82

Published 11:28 am Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Roland Elmer Petersen, 82 of Albert Lea, a loving father, grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather, passed away peacefully, his children at his side, in St Marys Hospital on Friday, Sept. 20, 2010. Roland died as a result of injuries he sustained after being hit by a car in Albert Lea.


Roland was born October 30, 1927 in Tyler, MN. He was the fourth son born to Andrew and Dagney Petersen. Roland was baptized in the Danish Lutheran Church in Tyler, and was confirmed in the Danish Lutheran Church in Alden. Growing up on the Star Farm, a half mile south of Alden, he helped his father with chores and farming when his older brothers went off to WWII. He attended both Danish and English speaking grade schools. At age 15, he went to Brooklyn, NY serving his country for two years in the Merchant Marines. Upon his return in 1945, he worked for the REA in Albert Lea. On July 4, 1946 he married the love of his life, Ida Behrends, daughter of Carl and Burnette Behrends of rural Armstrong. Together they started farming and raising their family on the Petran Farm, located one mile west of Alden, on old Hyw 16. Roland farmed for 25 years, retiring in 1976. He appreciated the men he had working with him and thought of them all, as family. He enjoyed entertaining family & friends at his lake homes in Elysian and Lake Francis. He later owned & operated “Roland’s Point,” a cabin resort located on the Blue Earth River in Rapadan, Minn.

His Grandsons came on weekends and loved working with him, maintaining the grounds. Roland loved to host family gatherings and reunions. His elaborate planning included fun for all ages! Special memories include hay rides, barn dances, bobbing for apples, sweet corn feeds, sing alongs, camping, swimming, trail rides, podium speeches and big campfires. Annual Family vacations to Cross Lake, Minn., joining his brothers and our cousins were the highlight of our summers for many years. Roland was a life time member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Alden, Minn. He enjoyed being a member of Eagles, Moose, Elks, Albert Lea Senior Center, Solo Parents, Boy Scouts, Alden Gun Club, Mankato Cycle Club and the Albert Lea Kennel Club. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He had a large garden and enjoyed his scooter rides across town to care for it daily. Roland tutored dyslexic students at the Lincoln School in Mankato for years. Having dyslexia himself, he created and taught an easier way for students to learn and overcome this reading & writing disability. Much time was spent training his purebred Golden Retrievers Alice & Willy. He traveled far and wide with them, entering and winning many obedience and obstacle contests. Roland also had a passion for motorcycling. Over the past few years he put over 99 thousand miles on his Honda Helix and over 35 thousand miles on his 750 Honda. His travels took him through 35 states and three countries! Many plaques, trophies and mileage awards adorn his home. Roland loved the great outdoors. His grandchildren describe him best;Grandpa Roland was our mentor, a one of a kind, interesting, story telling man of many talents, a fun loving family man with a big heart. He was much loved and will be deeply missed.

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Roland is survived by his five children, daughters: Helen (John) Newell, Paula (Darryl) Juveland, Wanda (Mike) Wangsness; Sons, Ronald Petersen; special friend Sharon Tinkler, Dennis Petersen and Sharon Florhaug, Ross Thelan, Alex Petersen, Marcy Berg, Philip (Afton) Wacholz, Adam (Amy) Wacholz, Matthew Wacholz, Ashley Paulson, Brooke Wangsness, Lucas Wangsness, Jena Niemerier, Christian Petersen; 18 grandchildren, Laura, Michelle, Christina and John Jr. Newell, Todd (Shari) Sailor, Travis Sailor, Thomas Cartin, Andrea Petersen; 17 great grandchildren, and two great great grandsons, little Tristen and Jude Dorenkamp; Brothers, Alvin (Dorothy) Petersen, Harold (Marie) Petersen; sister-in-law, Evelyn Petersen, and wife of 23 years, Ida Mildenstein.

In addition to his parents, Roland was preceded in death by brother, Alfred Petersen; daughter-in-law, Sarah Petersen; two nieces, Julie Ann Petersen and Eileen Petersen; two nephews, Jody and Mike Darling; brother-in-law, Robert Darling; sister-in-law, Almira Behrends.

Visitation will be Friday, Sept. 17, 2010 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Bonnerup Funeral Service, Albert Lea and one hour before service at the church. A Celebration of life, Worship Service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept.18, 2010 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Alden, Minn. Roland will be laid to rest in the Alden Cemetery, located just west of Alden.