Lester Juhl

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lester Duane Juhl, age 88, of Storm Lake, died Saturday, August 25, at his home.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, August 30, at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Storm Lake. Private family burial will be in the Storm Lake Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4-7:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 29, at the Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake, where the family will be present to greet friends. The Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake is in charge of the arrangements.

Lester was born March 27, 1924, in Bremer County, Iowa to Danish immigrant, Anker Peterson Juhl and Olive Mae (Wilson) Juhl. He grew up on the family farm between Plainfield and Waverly with his two brothers and two sisters. He graduated from Waverly High School in 1941. Since his illness, all eight surviving WHS classmates were in touch with Lester, their class president.

He met the love of his life, Norma Buhr, from Sumner, through 4-H Club. After Les promised Norma's father that he would change from the Methodist faith to Lutheran, they were married at St. John's Lutheran, Buck Creek, July 22, 1945. To this union, three daughters were born, and the Juhl family was often referred to as "Lester and his girls."

In his early years, he was an award winning registered Holstein dairy farmer in Bremer County. He was a leading pioneer in 4-H and FFA and was an active agricultural advocate for Farm Bureau.

In 1960, the family moved to Waverly where Les started a career as a Farm Bureau insurance agent. Within a year, he was promoted to Agency Manager of Palo Alto County and moved to Emmetsburg. From 1963-1975, he was the Farm Bureau Agency Manager of Buena Vista County in Storm Lake. Following that, he had his own independent agency, Juhl Insurance. He was also a broker/real estate agent with Real Estate Specialists, and recently, was honored for twenty years of dedicated service.

Lester was a leader wherever he lived and could be counted on to volunteer and give generously to worthwhile endeavors. He was on the original building committee for St. Mark Lutheran Church where he was a faithful and active member for almost 50 years. Wouldn't his Lutheran father-in-law have been proud?

Being able to "fix anything" served Les well living in the red house on West 5th, the Juhl home for 43 years. Always a farmer at heart, he had his produce farm in the alley, growing vegetables along the fence line. Six years ago, he determined it was time to down-size and he astounded Norma by purchasing their current home, fondly referred to as their growing old 'Home Sweet Home.' He took great pride in caring for his yard, or was it that he liked being outside so he could visit with everyone that went by?

Les was always busy, working, playing or fixing something. He loved driving to Lytton to visit with his farm insurance customers. Lake Creek Country Club provided him many happy rounds of golf with his friends. He had two holes in one. With his son-in-laws, he went to golf tournaments all over the country, including the Masters, US Open and Senior PGA. He liked bowling at Clemmies in Alta and he and Norma loved playing bridge with many friends. They both loved to travel and took great trips and cruises. Vacations to visit their daughters and families were the best. There was always a list of projects waiting that only "Poppa" would know how to do.

His battle with cancer began in October and Les fought it with non-complaining determination. He continued on with his life with perseverance, taking care of his customers and playing a few hands of cards between radiation treatments. He always assured friends and family he was "just fine." Les never retired.

He loved his family dearly and cherished all the special family times. He taught his family, by example, the importance of being a loving spouse, working hard, helping others and being a good neighbor and friend.

His family left to remember him include Norma, his devoted wife of 67 years; three daughters, Jane (Greg) Evans, Columbia, S.C., Patricia (Tom) Jensen, Gold River, Calif., Cynthia (Dan) Johnston of Marble Falls, Texas.; eight loving grandchildren, Amy (Keary) Didier, Emily (David) Zlotkowski, David Jensen, Alex Jensen, Sarah Johnston, Patrick Johnston, Mark (Katherine) Johnston, David Johnston; five special great-grandchildren, Riley, Regan and Caden Didier, Laurel and Lydia Zlotkowski.

Surviving are brothers, Ralph (Lavon) Juhl, Waverly, Arnold (Ruth) Juhl, Cedar Rapids, sister, Marjorie Reinhardt, Waverly. Also surviving are brother in-laws and sister-in-laws, Helen Scultz, Sumner, Stella (Russell) Dillemuth, Rockwell City, Marian (Reese) Gibbs, Marshalltown, Carol (Patrick) Snyder, Sumner, Wilma Buhr, Sumner; and many nieces and nephews and more than a host of friends and customers.

Lester was preceded in death by his parents, parents-in-law, August and Martha Buhr, sister, Dorothy Whitney, and brother-in laws, Merwyn Whitney, Bob Reinhardt, and Allen Buhr.

We remember Lester D. Juhl as a man that had a life well lived.