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Leslie "Les" Kallsen

March 28, 1927 March 1, 2015
Leslie "Les" Kallsen
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Obituary for Leslie "Les" Kallsen

Leslie Walter Kallsen was born to August and Lore Kallsen on March 28, 1927 and was raised on the family farm west of Jasper, Minnesota. There were four other boys in the family (Louis, Richard, Robert, and Loren). Their mother died shortly after Loren was born. Subsequently August married Ada Ann Newman and moved to Pipestone, Minnesota where he was County Auditor.

During high school Les was active in football, musical groups, and band (trumpet). Following his high school graduation in 1945, Les joined the Navy. He received training as a radio tail gunner and was later sent to college, commissioned as an officer, and designated a naval aviator. He flew the deck of several aircraft carriers during the Korean War. When the war ended, the Navy sent him to college at the University of South Carolina. He later transferred to Macalester College where he was involved in theatrical productions and continued his life-long passion for jazz music. After college he was stationed at Pensacola, Florida’s Naval Air Station as a flight instructor and continued his involvement with the theater. He met Lany Boudreau, who had been widowed during the war and had a daughter, Lee. They married in 1952 and welcomed a second daughter, Kristin, in 1953. Shortly after Kristin was born, the family moved to Japan where Les was a flight instructor for the first Japanese pilots to fly after WWII.

After his tour of duty in Japan, the family farmed for 5 years east of Jasper. Les returned to the Navy and the family lived in many different areas of the United States, including his tours of duty as the commander of naval air activities in Chicago and the Twin Cities. In 1975 he retired with the rank of Commander, and he and Lany settled on Meadow Sweet Farm near Ihlen, Minnesota. Lany preceeded him in death in 2009. Kristin runs the family horse operation at Meadow Sweet Farm, and Lee recently retired as a professor at Columbia University in New York City.

Les was very active in both the Pipestone County and Jasper Historical Societies (serving as President of both organizations), in Kiwanis, the Pipestone Male Chorus, the Opland Singers, and the Pipestone Performing Arts Center (where he served on the Board and as President, was active in fund raising and grant writing, and performed in and directed numerous productions). He was a member and former elder of Trinity Lutheran Church in Jasper.

High points in his retirement were productions of Opera on the Farm by the University of Minnesota Opera Theater presented at the Kallsen farm site. Aaron Copland’s 'The Tender Land' was presented in both 1993 and 2000, and 'Elixir of Love' was done in 1995. Over 2000 people attended the 1993 performance of 'The Tender Land'. The national media provided extensive coverage of the event. Charles Kuralt dedicated a full 15 minutes of his Sunday program on television to the production.

He is lovingly remembered by his two daughters, L. Lee Knefelkamp (Evelyn T. Beck) of Washington, DC and Kristin Kallsen (Vincent Eckstein) of Ihlen. He is also survived by his grand-daughter, Shawna Scott (Jeremy Scott) of New Prague and their three children; his brother, Loren Kallsen (Shirley) of Bloomington; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceeded in death by his wife, his parents, and three brothers.

In lieu of flowers, memorial preferred to the Pipestone Preforming Arts Center or the Pipestone County Hospice House.

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Previous Events





5:00 PM 3/6/2015 5:00:00 PM - 8:00 PM 3/6/2015 8:00:00 PM
Hartquist Funeral Home - Pipestone Chapel

710 SE 4th St.
PO Box 351
Pipestone, MN 56164

Hartquist Funeral Home - Pipestone Chapel
710 SE 4th St. Pipestone 56164 MN
United States





2:30 PM 3/7/2015 2:30:00 PM
First Lutheran Church - Pipestone

401 7th Ave. SW
Pipestone, MN 56164

First Lutheran Church - Pipestone
401 7th Ave. SW Pipestone 56164 MN
United States

Cemetery Details


Ihlen Cemetery Final Resting Place

Ihlen, MN, US

Ihlen, MN, US

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