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June 6, 1932 – Sunday, December 28, 2014

Service Information
Connect Church, St. Michael, MN
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
11:00 AM

Visitation Information
The Peterson Chapel, St. Michael, MN
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
5-8 PM

Francis (Frank) Elroy Vennes went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, at 6:10 am on December 28, 2014.

Frank was born at Good Samaritan Hospital in Williston, ND, June 6, 1932, to Albert Christian and Gina Vennes. He had five brothers: Robert, Albert Jr. (Tony), Charles Lindberg (Lindy), John, and Duane (Abou). He attended schools in Williston and Dunseith. He graduated from Dunseith in 1950.

On January 11, 1951, Frank joined the Army National Guard. He was activated five days later and sent to Camp Rucker, Alabama. There he served as Staff Sergeant. He trained incoming troops for field combat in the Korean War. Frank’s best advice to the new troops was, “Do your best to fight for your Country,” and “Nothing in life is perfect.”

On February 14, 1957, Frank married Norma Jean Gunderson–the “apple of his eye.” Later in life, after Norma nursed him back to health following a stroke, he called her “My Angel.” Frank and Norma were blessed with four children: Frank Jr. (Kim), Merritt Island, Fl, Gregory (Stephanie), Buffalo, MN, Melanie Eller (Dean), Lowell, IN, and Joel, Surprise, AZ. They also had the joy of eleven grandchildren: Denley, Colby, Sarah, Jordan, Benjamin, Maria, Kayla, Kyle, Joshua, Joley, and Nicole.

Frank spent most of his life in Williston. He loved the people and enjoyed being a part of the community. He worked several places such as Cutting’s Williston Drug Store, the local bowling alley–as a pin setter, the Great Northern Railroad, the local hospitals–with a his own Television rental service, and the Post Office–from delivering mail to finally serving as Williston’s Postmaster. In his spare time, Frank enjoyed being a part of different organizations. He belonged to the American Legion–Commander at the Post and District level. He was also active in service organizations such as the Elks, Kiwanis, and the Parent Teacher Association. Furthermore, he enjoyed honing his speaking and listening skills in Toastmasters. More indulgently, he was usually on a bowling team–no perfect games–but did get 9 strikes in a row.

Frank loved his family and friends very much. He loved visiting. He did an excellent job staying updated with his children and grandchildren’s lives. It was said, “Dad can start a conversation with anyone.” He was often persuaded to share stories about his Norwegian heritage. During a visit to Norway, Frank was able to exchange a few Norwegian phrases with a local store clerk. After sharing the phrases, he was proud to inform her, he was 100% Norwegian.

In these last years, it was hard for him to leave the people of Williston. He always enjoyed “catching-up” with friends on the phone.

Frank was a member of Connect Church (Christian Missionary Alliance) in St. Michael, MN. He felt welcomed into the church immediately. He was thankful for the joy he had in fellowshipping there. One little girl, Rachel, who is an expert in bringing smiles to others, was always a light for him on Sunday mornings.

Frank is survived by his wife, Norma; children, Frank Jr. (Kim) of Merritt Island, Fl, Gregory (Stephanie) of Buffalo, MN, Melanie Eller (Dean) of Lowell, IN, and Joel of Surprise, AZ. They also had the joy of eleven grandchildren: Denley, Colby, Sarah, Jordan, Benjamin, Maria, Kayla, Kyle, Joshua, Joley, and Nicole; brother, Duane Vennes, Welliston, ND; and many other family friends.

Frank is preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Gina, as well as his brothers, Robert, Tony, Lindy, and John.

Visitation for Francis Vennes will be held Tuesday, December 30, 5 – 8 PM at the Peterson Chapel of St. Michael. Funeral service will be held Wednesday, December 31, 11:00 AM with visitation starting at 10:00 AM at Connect Church (Christian Missionary Alliance), 3989 Maclver Ave. NE, St. Michael.

9 Guestbook Entries

  1. David and Janice Arnson, Williston ND

    Greg, Mel and rest of the Vennes family; Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this difficult time.

  2. Peter Jeffrey

    I got to visit with Frank at Dad’s final service. We joked and laughed about the old times; it was nice to see him. Please accept our heartfelt condolences through this difficult time and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  3. Frank Matheson

    A dear friend will be missed. Heaven received a true blue chipper.


    Dear Norm & Family;
    How we would have loved to have taken one more trip together, a trip to Sidney & Fairview on a Saturday afternoon, to include Johnson’s Hardware & supper at the South 40. Pinochle till 2am, guys against the girls. A trip down Greek Creek with a stop by Robert Redford’s camp. So many laughs together and tears shared too. Birthdays, weddings and anniversaries celebrated together. Bible studies together, handing out candy at the kids Christmas programs. Paddling around Blacktail and smoking hotdogs. Riding around Williston and listening to Frank’s vast knowledge of Williston history, it’s to bad that he never wrote it all down for the local towns people so we would have had a great history book of Williston. Many are the wonderful memories of happy times together. We wish we could be there with all of you, We feel your loss and pain as we work through our own feelings of loss and pain. Our door is always open. If you are in town please come see us! Our love and prayers are with you all!

  5. Kelly & Joan Larson

    Greg & family members;
    You are in our thoughts and prayers. May the Lord be with you at this time and always.
    Kelly & Joan Larson

  6. Kristy Nelson

    Dear Aunt Norm, Frankie, Greg, Mel and Joe; You are all in our thoughts and prayers. I have so many fond memories of Uncle Frank. He always had a smile on his face when I was around him, and was always cracking a joke or two. Over the past year he and my mom would encourage each other with cards or a phone call. That meant so much to her. Even when they both were not doing well, they would still continue to support each other. God bless my Uncle Frank and may God comfort you all at this time.

    Allen, Kristy & Blaine

  7. Jon Vennes

    To the Family of Frank Vennes;
    Please accept our sincerest condolences. Our entire family has nothing but the happiest of memories of our Dearest Uncle Frank. He was a man that we all looked up to and admired for his charismatic personality, his jovial and witty antics, but most of all…his consistent and loving character as a husband, a father, a grandfather, a son, a brother, an uncle and a sincere friend to ALL !!!
    The Family of Charles L. and Tomi Vennes…May Peace be With You.

  8. Michael Shun and Family

    So sorry for your loss. In the small amount of time I spent with your dad I could see he was a wonderful man.

  9. Joley Anne Vennes

    Rest in peace Papa. You fought hard for over two years. You were such an amazing and hilarious person. I can’t imagine you not here anymore. Holidays, birthdays, nothing will be the same anymore but you are in a better place now where there is no pain or suffering and you’re on your big reclining chair.
    I’m so sorry I couldn’t be with you on your last few days but I know you’re proud of me here. I wish I could have one more of your hugs or even just a phone call. I will miss you more than you will ever know.
    Please keep my family in your prayers.. Thank you.


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