Roger Folven, 72

Published 10:18 am Monday, May 13, 2013

Beloved husband, father and grandfather Roger Folven, 72, passed away on May 10, 2013, after a courageous battle with cancer at Rochester Methodist Hospital.

Roger was born May 25, 1940, in Lake Mills, Iowa, the eldest son of Omer and Genevieve (Moe) Folven. He was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in rural Kiester, Minn., on June 23, 1940, and confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Blooming Prairie, Minn., on May 29, 1955. He graduated from Austin High School in 1958 where he was an All State baseball player and avid football player. He attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, was a 1964 graduate of Mankato State University and received his master’s degree from Michigan State University in Lansing, Mich., in 1968.

Roger was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Judy Clement on Oct. 18, 1958. To this union were born their three lovely daughters, Sally, SuEllen and Beth. Roger and Judy purchased their first home in Albert Lea, Minn., where they lived for 18 years before buying Roger’s dream farm south of Albert Lea. Roger worked as a public school teacher for 33 years. His love of teaching led him from junior high school to the senior high school where he was the science department head and also K-12 science curriculum coordinator for several years. He also taught and directed the driver education and motorcycle education training programs. The summer science program was always near and dear to his heart as he truly enjoyed teaching his students while enjoying nature and canoeing in the boundary waters up on the Gunflint Trail near Grand Marais, Minn. During his lifetime Roger always loved farming, his horses and horseback riding and many other animals he cared for on his farm. Another of his passions was learning how to fly and owning his own airplane.

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Upon his retirement from teaching in 1997, Roger and Judy purchased a home in Sun City, Ariz., where they took up the sport of golf and continued with many of the their favorite hobbies such as playing cards, spending time with wonderful friends, traveling and working with the Prides Volunteer Organization. Their summer months were spent at their home in Lake Mills, Iowa, playing golf and socializing with friends, and going to their northern Minnesota cabin on Burnt Shanty Lake to enjoy many activities such as fishing, swimming, boating, reading and relaxing with their children and 10 beautiful grandchildren. Roger was always an extremely proud and devoted father and grandfather.

Roger is survived by his loving wife of more than 54 years, Judy, of Lake Mills, Iowa; his daughters, Sally (Kelley) Wheeler of Minneapolis, SuEllen Birkholz of Rochester, Minn., and Beth (Ashvin) Ragoowansi of Pittsburgh, Pa.; and his grandchildren, Steven and Scott Wheeler, David and Matthew Birkholz and Olivia, Evan, Kieran, Aidan, Ashton and Ava Ragoowansi; brothers and sisters include Jon (Marcia) Folven, Craig (Kathy) Folven, Debra (Mike) Smith and Tammy (Tony) Kimball. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephew, cousins and great aunts and uncles.

Roger was preceded in death by his parents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Memorial services will be held at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, Minn., on Friday, May 17, 2013, at 11 a.m. with visitation one hour prior to the service. Pastor John Holt and Pastor Durwood Clausen will officiate. Visitation for family and friends will be held on Thursday, May 16, 2013, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bonnerup Funeral Service. Inurnment will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in rural Kiester following the service and luncheon at the church. Memorials are preferred to First Lutheran Church Peace and Power or Educational Scholarship Funds (Goddard, Hammer and Stadheim), Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery Fund of rural Kiester or a favorite charity of donor’s choice.