Cover photo for John Boen's Obituary
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1930 John 2021

John Boen

May 25, 1930 — August 28, 2021

John Harold Boen, 91, a resident of Pelican Rapids, MN, died Saturday, August 28, 2021 in his home, on the farm, under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley.

John Harold Boen was born on May 25, 1930 to Tov (Thor) and Inge Mabel (Maasjo) Boen at Sattersmoen Hospital, in Pelican Rapids, MN. He was baptized and confirmed at South Immanuel Lutheran Church, in rural Rothsay, MN. He attended country school in Norwegian Grove Township. As a high school student, in Pelican Rapids, John rented a room in town because there were no buses for rural students. He washed windows and swept floors to help pay for his room and board.

At 14 years old, John started farming with his Grandpa John Maasjo, His grandfather played a pivotal role in John’s life—teaching him the work ethic necessary to succeed in farming. In his early years of farming, John raised turkeys, chickens, and then milked Holsteins for 34 years. He worked hard growing his farm business to include custom baling, combining, crop spraying and swathing.

On November 17, 1956, John married Betty Rossum, at South Immanuel. They raised their three children with tough love and discipline on the family farm. In 1975, John sold the dairy cows and soon after--his barn complete with pipeline system was moved to a neighbor’s farm.

In November 1982, John & Betty traveled to Norway to meet his father’s family near Oslo. He met his Aunt Liv and Aunt Gunhild for what would be the first and only time. John thoroughly enjoyed his time in Norway getting to know the Boen & Odegaard families.

Through the years John served on numerous boards including the Cass-Clay Creamery, the Buffalo River Water Shed, the Pelican Rapids Farmers Elevator, and the Minnesota State Elevator. Some of John’s greatest farming accomplishments included being named two-time Otter Tail County Conservation Farmer of the Year, Pheasants Forever Habitat Stewardship Award, 2017 Minnesota Conservation Faces of the Year, and in 2020, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture recognized his farm as a clean water farm.

In his spare time, John loved to work in his shop on the farm, and drive his Polaris Ranger. He enjoyed shooting pool and playing cards—especially Whist. John was an avid reader and especially enjoyed biographies and history. Farm magazines & journals always graced his desk and nightstand. In his younger years he enjoyed snowmobiling with friends and neighbors. On Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons, John & Betty could be found old time dancing with their friends.

John was preceded in death by his parents, sisters, Fayma Boen and Edith Huber; nephews, Thomas Huber, Gordon Huber, David Huber; and nieces, Mary Zimmerman and Debi Dyer.

John is survived by his wife of 64 years, Betty; son, Michael (Patti) Boen; daughters, Linda (Jerome) Jenson, and Lynette Boen; grandson, Andrew Boen; granddaughters, Kristine (Jerad) Parker, Alissa (Jeff) Houglum, Katie Boen, and Brittney Hockersmith; great-granddaughter, Carlee Jo Parker; sister, Phyllis Dyer; and his nieces and nephews.

Visitation: 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 1, 2021 with a public prayer service at 7 p.m. at the Olson Funeral Home.
Service: 11 a.m. Thursday, September 2, 2021 at South Immanuel Lutheran Church, rural Rothsay, MN.
Clergy: Reverend Phil Tobin and Leon Andersen
Burial: South Immanuel Cemetery, rural Rothsay

Arrangements are provided by the Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Prayer Service

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Starts at 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Thursday, September 2, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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