Zion United Methodist Church in Hanover
Saturday, February 7th
Byron Gustafson, 87
Byron Clarence Gustafson, age 87, of Buffalo passed away on Sunday, February 1, 2009 at the Park View Care Center in Buffalo. He was born on August 26, 1921 in Buffalo the son of Oscar F. and Clara A. (Bjorklund) Gustafson.
Byron was raised in the Christian faith and confirmed at the Swedish Mission Church on May 20, 1934. He graduated from Buffalo High School in 1939. After graduation he continued to farm with his parents on the family farm east of Buffalo. When Byron’s mother passed away in 1945 he honed his homemaking skills, most notably cooking, as he continued to live on the farm with his dad. These skills served him well particularly as he cared for his wife Ruth in her later years and then as he continued to live alone after her death.
In the spring of 1951 Byron met Ruth (Mahler) though an introduction by members of the Wright County Rural Youth, a group they socialized with for many years following. They were married later that year on September 20, 1951 at The Evangelical United Brethren Church in Corcoran. God blessed their marriage with two children, Bryon and Claire.
Byron, Ruth and their family continued to engage in dairy farming and in the 1960s began a shared farming operation where several families, over the ensuing years, provided labor to run the dairy farm. During this time Byron enjoyed a short career as a carpenter and craftsman with Dickson Construction, a job in which he took great pride. He returned to dairying for a short period, then selling his cattle and eventually a small portion of the farm. He and Ruth moved into semi-retirement, building a new home on the remaining property in 1976.
Byron was a quiet, unassuming man who enjoyed people and conversation very much. As a farmer he was a member of the local chapter of the Farmer’s Union. In the years after he married Ruth, he was active in the Hanover Zion United Brethren Church (later United Methodist), serving on their building committee. For many years he wrote building permit applications for Buffalo Township, providing him the opportunity to visit with many neighbors and meet new friends. He proudly served on the Board of Directors of Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association for 18 years.
In his retirement Byron continued to enjoy his farm and God’s creation. He enjoyed gardening, keeping up his lawn, spending time with family and attending his grandchildren’s activities. Periodically Byron also worked for The Peterson Chapel as the need arose, a job that he respected and enjoyed. In recent years Byron would frequently have weekday afternoon coffee with friends and neighbors at Cub Foods. Always the farmer, needing to feel busy, he frequently excused his trips to town and coffee with “well I needed milk so I thought I could stop for a cup of coffee.” Byron was much loved and will be deeply missed.
Survived by his loving children: Bryon D. Gustafson and Claire M. Saatela both of Plymouth; grandchildren Jared and Erin Saatela of Plymouth; brother-in-law and sisters-in-law, Donald and Lois Mahler of Hanover and Nadine Wokson of Rogers; nephews and nieces, Leander (Mary) Wetter of Buffalo, Ronald (Carrie) Wetter of Princeton, Karen (Dan) Koester of Dennison, Marion (Steve) Conwell and Craig (Janis) Wokson all of St. Michael, Gail (Gary) Ness of Woodstock; great nieces, great nephews, other relatives and friends. Preceded in death by beloved wife: Ruth M. Gustafson, his parents Oscar and Clara Gustafson, a sister Bernice Wetter, brothers-in-law Leander Wetter Sr. and Charles Wokson and a nephew Gary Wokson.
Friends called on Friday, February 6 from 4-8 p.m. at The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo. A Prayer service was held at 7:00 p.m. Friday evening.
Funeral services for Byron Gustafson were held on Saturday, February 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the Hanover Zion United Methodist Church. Pastors Robert Braudt and Highland Goodman officiated and interment followed at the Swedish Mission Cemetery in Buffalo.
Donna Garczynski served as the organist. Congregational hymns were “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “When We All Get to Heaven.” Special music was provided by the quartet, 4 for the Lord, who sang “Amazing Grace”, “The Old Rugged Cross” and “How Great Thou Art.”
Honorary casket bearers were Byron’s Cub coffee friends. Casket bearers were his six nephews and nieces.
The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo served the family.