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19 6, 1934 – Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Service Information
Zion Lutheran Church in Buffalo, Minneso
Saturday, August 14, 2010
11:00 A.M.

Visitation Information

On August 10th, 2010, a man of strong character and faith passed from this world. Vernon John Samuel Wahlstrom died in the company of his wife and family at the Quiet Oaks Hospice in St. Augusta, MN.

Vern was born on June 19, 1934 in Grasston, MN, to Oscar and Lillian Wahlstrom. He was raised on the family farm, and graduated from Braham High School in 1952. Vern was an athlete of distinction and pursued both his academic and athletic careers at Augsburg College from 1952-54. Vern graduated from Bemidji State University in 1957, and entered the world of teaching and coaching at Greenbush High School in Greenbush, MN. He taught there for three years, and then moved to Granite Falls, MN, where he sold insurance for Lutheran Brotherhood.

In 1963, Vern started a career of service to others when he accepted the position of District Executive for the Boy Scouts of America. In 1967, Vern moved to West Central Industries as a Counselor/Program Director. In 1974 he became Executive Director of Functional Industries, Inc. (FII) in Buffalo, MN. During his 23 years at FII, Vern created and grew a rehabilitation center that went from serving 12 clients to 350 clients in several locations. FII was widely respected in Buffalo and the state of MN as a model program. Through Vern’s direction, the organization received state and national commendations. In addition he spent 20 years as the administrator for Dells Place, Inc. (Group homes for developmentally disabled adults).

Vern’s community and professional involvement spanned a wide range of interests.

Professionally, he served on the Wright County Human Service Advisory Board; ARC State, and County advisory boards; the Developmentally Disabled Task Force, MN DACA; Chairman and Board Member of MN Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. Personally, Vern was an active member of Zion Lutheran Church – serving on several committees (especially noting the Lutefisk Dinner) and chair of the Church Council. He was a board member of Buffalo Heights Golf Club, Buffalo Community Health, and Buffalo Community Education. Vern was named Community Education Board Member for the State of MN in 1994. He was proud to be a Buffalo Rotarian, and served as president and received the Paul Harris Fellows.

Vern and the great love of his life, Constance Johnson Wahlstrom, were married in 1987, and have shared the beauty of Minnesota summers and Arizona winters.

Vern was a serious minded man who knew the wisdom of not taking life too seriously! He was passionate about his hobbies, but always had the time to share and teach others. He was a gifted woodcarver and woodworker, who was aware of the legacy that his work would have for others. He understood that golf and fishing were the nearest things to Heaven. He was a loyal, honest friend who made you understand the importance of the ordinary. And, finally, Vern was a father and husband who gifted his family with a summer that taught all the redemptive possibilities of a loving family.

Vern will be dearly missed by his wife, Constance Wahlstrom; 7 children and spouses: Kiara (Andrew) Jorgensen, Kirby Wahlstrom, Philip (Pat) Wahlstrom, Marcus Wahlstrom, Cher (Mike)Lorentz, Lisa(Doug) Rockhill, Maria(Ken) Kolb; mother: Lillian Wahlstrom; brothers: Duane(Georgia), Jerry(Diane), Marlyn (Muriel), and Carl (Dianna) Wahlstrom; sisters: Shirley Stillwell, Marion (John) Korpi, and Jean (Marv) Wahlstrom; 9 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Vern was preceded in death by his father Oscar and brother, Maynard (aka: Swede).

In Lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Zion Lutheran Church or Functional Industries, Inc. of Buffalo, MN. Visitation: Friday August 13, 5:00 – 8:00 pm at Zion Lutheran Church, 1200 Hwy 25 South, Buffalo, MN 55313, and one hour prior August 14 at 11:00 am at the church.

Interment following in the church cemetery, with fellowship thereafter.

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Mathew 25:21

4 Guestbook Entries

  1. Craig Fautsch

    I enjoyed many years of working with Vern on Zion Lutheran’s Finance Committee. He was very much missed when he “retired” from it. I feel blessed to have gotten the chance to work with him and know him.

  2. Craig Fautsch

    I enjoyed many years of working with Vern on Zion Lutheran’s Finance Committee. He was very much missed when he “retired” from it. I feel blessed to have gotten the chance to work with him and know him.

  3. Dottie and Glenn Johnson

    Dear Connie and Kiara,

    My heartfelt condolences to both of you and all of your family. Vern was truly a gifted, talented and wonderful man.

    I am happy to have known him and realize that he will be sadly missed but always remembered and loved.

    You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Dottie and Glenn

  4. Tom Helfter

    Connie, Sorry to learn of Vern’s passing. It was only about 4 years ago when we saw him at the gift shop at the Mississippi River crossing at Lake Itaska. He was the first to recognize Dale Nelson, Bill Casey and me. I will always remember Vern and his light hearted sense of humor and his appreciation for Norwegian stories which made him so special to all of us. Tom Helfter, DVR


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