ALFRED JESSEN was born September 9, 1929, to Jens W. (he always said it stood for “Wahoo”) Jessen and Esther Bertha Miller in Tyler, MN. After graduating from Tyler High School, Alfred went to Grand View College in Des Moines, IA for a semester before deciding he really wanted to be a farmer on Brookside Farm like his father and Bedstefar Niels before him.
After a chance double date with LeRoy Stensgaard and two fun-loving girl cousins from Ruthton, Alfred married Marlys Mae Madsen on June 27, 1954. They had six children: Nancy Jessen Otis of Reno, NV., Linda M. McMahon of Bellevue, ID., Neil (Erin) Jessen of Hailey, ID., Phyllis Jessen of Des Moines, IA., Jess (J.J.) Jessen of El Paso, TX., and Phillip (Sherri) Jessen of Tyler, MN.
After a car accident took Marlys’s life on June 28, 1980, Alfred joined the BE support group. It was there that he met LaVerne Hansen of Tracy, MN. They were married on June 7, 2003, in LaVerne’s beautiful yard with Alfred’s children and families, LaVerne’s children: Gary (Phyllis) Hansen of Rochester, MN., Peggy (Denny) Isaacson of New Ulm, MN., Doug (Judy) Hansen of Mount Vernon, IA., and Larry (Sharalyn) Hansen of Tracy, MN., and families, plus a few close extended family and friends.
Alfred loved talking about politics, making gorgeous wooden bowls, and creating unusual floats for the annual Aebleskiver parades. When the song “The Crystal Chandeliers” was playing, you could find Alfred and LaVerne on the dance floor. He was always ready to help a friend, neighbor, and fellow farmer in need. Like his neighbor Norman Mikklesen, he usually had a toothpick in his mouth, plus a hat on his head.
In later years he was drawn to the power of solar energy, putting a solar array on one shed and two others near the hog barns. He dutifully checked the production of those panels daily. With the powerful wind whipping through SW MN, he also harnessed that energy with a wind turbine. Loving the idea of electric cars, he had a Tesla car on order at the time of his death.
He had fun planning the Brookside Farm Centennial in 1991 and was thrilled that many family and friends celebrated with him. He looked forward to the MOJOs (Major Official Jessen Occasion) when he could get together with his sister, Valborg, and her families and his late brother, Verner’s, families – whether it was in Colorado or the one Alfred and LaVerne planned last year at Lake Shetek for his 90th birthday.
Alfred and LaVerne had a car accident on January 4, 2020. Tests from that evening revealed he had a mass in his pancreas, and subsequent tests showed that it was cancerous. After trying chemo, he decided that wasn’t for him. Even three weeks before his death, he was in the tractor discing a field, and he couldn’t be talked out of driving that tractor – he loved every minute of it! As he was getting weaker, Alfred gathered his family around him to communicate his final wishes. Alfred passed away on May 26, 2020.
Along with LaVerne, his children and LaVerne’s children, he is survived by numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and step-great grandchildren.
The family would like to thank Alfred’s Angels – Judy Hansen, Sharalyn Hansen, and Carlos De Avila – three family nurses who took wonderful care of him in his final days.
A small, private, family graveside service was held on Thursday, May 28, 2020, at the Danebod Cemetery in Tyler, Minnesota. Memorials may be directed to the RTR School Building Fund or the Murray County Hospice Program.