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Albert Richard Stensaas was born August 19, 1923, on the family homestead near Red Elm, Ziebach County, South Dakota, the oldest of the nine children of Arne Julius Stensaas and Amy Evelyn Ross Stensaas. He passed at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD from pneumonia after surgery complications on July 30, 2014, at the age of 90 years and 11 months.
He began his early education at Lewis School, Red Elm, SD where his teachers were his relatives. In 1931, the family moved to Vermillion, SD area. He attended small country schools and the Oakdale one-room country school near Volin, SD where all eight of his siblings attended at one time or another. He also attended Volin High school and then started farming to help support his family. Albert was always reading books and learning his whole life. He always told many stories of the births and key events of his family members, and was always looked up to by his family.
In the fall of 1941, Albert and his uncle, Ed Stensaas, went to Portland, OR and he worked in a plywood mill. Albert enlisted into the US Navy in April 1944, and served until World War II was over. His training began at a large naval base in Farragut, Idaho, and he spent a major portion of his time aboard ammunition ships in the South Pacific. He left the service as a Gunners Mate, Third Class and returned to the family farm near Volin. He faithfully supported the American Legion Post 62 in Humboldt and the VFW his whole life. After the war, he drove truck, worked at Morrell's and farmed. Albert farmed with Chester Stuen near Volin, SD, and later with his brother, Gerald by Montrose, SD. In 1949, he farmed west of his folks place near Humboldt, SD.
In 1950, Albert married Marlynn (Molly) Liesinger at West Wall Lake Zion Lutheran Church near Hartford, SD, where they have been devout members for over 64 years. Albert served on the church board, many committees, and participated in numerous parish activities. They farmed near Hurley for a year and then moved onto their farm residence southwest of Humboldt where they lived for 63 years. During their 64 years of marriage, they traveled to visit many relatives around the Midwest and Western US. They traveled to Hawaii on their 50th anniversary where Albert enjoyed seeing the USS Arizona Memorial. They hosted many events on the farm and loved to go to wedding dances. They moved to an apartment in Sioux Falls in August 2013.
Albert loved his family and the many family gatherings including eating many desserts and playing bean bags. He especially loved his grandkids, Chad Nicholas, Samantha Lee, Richard Allen, and Angela Joyce. Albert always enjoyed people, gave them a big smile, and loved to talk to them. He would engage in a conversation with anyone anywhere just to learn more about them. He always had a special ability to remember their names and many of their children's names as well. He truly appreciated the people of the community around his farm and frequently participated local events; such as, the Humboldt Threshing Bee which he helped with since the beginning over 24 years ago. Dad planted and picked corn with horses, shocked and bundled and ran threshing machines, and over his life time, he saw numerous changes in farming technology. He was still very good at picking corn by hand, and he won the hand corn picking contest at various events.
Albert loved to drive around looking at crops and the countryside. He loved to attend farm sales and farm events, and talked with all the other farmers. He enjoyed meeting the guys for coffee in Humboldt and Canistota almost every day after he retired from farming.
Survivors include wife, Molly; son, Greg and Tammy Stensaas of Sioux Falls; daughter, Marlene and Gari Gratzfeld of Vermillion, SD; and son, Jeff and Laela Stensaas of Canistota, SD; brother, Harlan and Vianne of Okmulgee, OK; sister, Marie Stuen of Sturgis, SD; sister-in-Law, Malinee Stensaas from Seattle, WA; four grandchildren, Chad, Samantha, Richard Stensaas from Sioux Falls, SD and Angela Stensaas from Scottsdale, AZ; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by many relatives from the Liesinger and Ross families that are very close to him.
He is preceded in death by his parents and six siblings, Gerald, Howard, Wesley, Amy Liesinger, Helen McBride, and Elsie Blackwell. He was proceeded in death by an infant son, Richard Arne Stensaas; sister-in-law, Darlene Stensaas; brothers-in-law, Chester Stuen, Larry Blackwell, and Russell Liesinger; nephews, Ronald Stuen, Robert Kenoyer and Joe Jackson; and niece, Vicki McBride. There were also significant relatives from Liesinger and Ross families that have passed before him.
Funeral service will be held at 2:00 pm Monday, August 4th at the West Wall Lake Zion Lutheran Church, 26313 462nd St., Hartford, SD with a burial service to follow at the same location. There will be a prayer service at 2:00 pm followed by visitation with the family present from 2:00 - 4:00 pm Sunday, August 3rd at the Miller West Funeral Home, 6200 W. 41st St., Sioux Falls, SD. Cards, letters, or memorials can be sent to Molly Stensaas, 4001 S. Marion Road, Apt. 20, Sioux Falls, SD 57106.
Miller West Funeral Home
6200 West 41st Street Sioux Falls, SD 57106
Published in The Argus Leader on Aug. 1, 2014