RUSSELL EARL HARMSEN was born on August 18, 1923 to Mike and Lola (Seeman) Harmsen in Sioux Falls, SD. He was raised in Pipestone, MN, attended Pipestone High School, and was drafted into the United States Navy before graduation. Russ received his diploma later on. Russ was drafted in the Navy on June 18, 1943 and was honorably discharged on February 27, 1946. He attended Boot training in Farragut, ID, and was then transferred to San Francisco, CA. Russ was in the Outgoing Unit on PT boats (short for Patrol Torpedo boat, a small, fast, torpedo-armed vessel made of plywood due to the inexpensive cost to build). The islands he patrolled were New Caledonia, Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal, Bougainville and Treasury Island. Russ lived in Long Beach for three years. He was a horse jockey for two years while living there. Russ attended college in Brookings, SD for three years while working the summers at the Flame Room Bar in Pipestone. Jim Kronoveter asked Russ to stay on and work for him; he did not go back to college and worked for Jim.
Russ and Evelyn (Voss-Krell) were married September 2, 1958. Russ gladly took on the responsibility of caring for a widow with six of her own children, and had 3 more of their own together; he truly was a provider. The family moved to Ihlen, MN (from Woodstock, MN) in November of 1958, and in 1959 Russ bought into partnership with Dale Hess at the Glass House Steak House. Russ and Evelyn became sole proprietors in 1962. After 25 years in business Russ and Evelyn sold the Glass House in 1984 to Jerry and Diane Geske. Russ then worked for Wilson Manufacturing in Pipestone the next 17 years. In June of 2007, Russ and Evelyn moved to St. Cloud, MN. On August 20, 2018 he became a resident of the Minnesota Veteran’s Home in Luverne, MN where be passed away peacefully on Friday, October 26, 2018 at the age of 95 years, 2 months, and 8 days.
Russ was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Pipestone. He was a man who loved the outdoors. Whether he was fishing, hunting, gardening, or waterskiing (even on his 80th birthday) he was having fun and enjoying himself. He loved being able to spend time at the cabin which his father built in 1950. Memories made visiting at Evelyn’s 80th birthday party at the Pipestone Country Club before they moved away will not be forgotten. More than anything he loved his family and the time he spent with them.
Russ is lovingly remembered by his wife of 60 years, Evelyn of Luverne; 6 children, Bev York of Columbia Falls, MT, Joyce (Carl) Pierret of Blaine, MN, Vicki (Brad) Quist of Pickerel Lake, MN, Deanna (Dee) Scott of Luverne, Mike (Karen) Harmsen of Clearwater, MN, Kim (Tom) Frazier of East Bethel, MN; 20 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; and 2 great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; and 3 children, Gene Krell, Randy Krell, and Terry Harmsen.