Lyle "Slats" Papenfuss
1942 - 2021

Lyle 'Slats' Papenfuss

Lyle "Slats" Papenfuss, 78, passed away Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at Chosen Valley Care Center in Chatfield, Minn.

He was born Dec. 28, 1942, to Howard and Winnie (Greenwood) Papenfuss of La Crescent. Slats attended La Crosse Central High School where he was named to the AP All-State Basketball First Team in 1960. He was also selected to go to Boys State in Minnesota. He then attended Winona State College where he was a four-year starter in basketball and member of three Warrior NAIA college world series baseball teams. He was inducted into the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.

It was while attending Winona State that he met Inger-Lise (Lise) Fineid in of all places, the library. They would marry Aug. 3, 1963, at St. John Lutheran Church in Kasson, Minn.

Slats is survived by his wife, Lise; daughter, Lynn Graham; and son, Lance Papenfuss, all of Rochester, Minn.; brothers, Richard "Dick" (Mary) Santa Fe, N.M., and Larry (Dawn) Moorhead, Minn.; as well as, grandchildren, Cole Graham, Tore Papenfuss, Jack Papenfuss, and Brodie Papenfuss. He was preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws, Tore and Signe (Nordkvist) Fineid; and by grandson, Connor Graham.

Slats began his career in the insurance business with Federated Insurance in Owatonna Minn. He credited the early training and friendships he made there with his later success and for preparing him to take on a partnership in the C. O. Brown Agency in Rochester, spanning 37 years. Slats was truly a gentle man, his friendly manner and easy smile combined with a strong work ethic and competitive nature made him a well-liked and highly successful businessman. These same traits enabled him to form many lasting friendships among his teammates, classmates, colleagues, and customers.

Over the years he would serve on numerous boards for both businesses and charities. He would continue his athletic pursuits competing on fast pitch softball teams and basketball teams well into his 40s. He also loved coaching youth basketball teams and watching "his boys" go on to success in high school and college careers.

An avid sports fan, he especially enjoyed attending the Quarterback Club meetings in Rochester and cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Once, he even wrote a letter to Packer GM Ron Wolfe and was astonished when he got a personal phone call back from Mr. Wolfe addressing his concerns. But his greatest joy came from spending time watching grandchildren swim, fish, and play sports.

Slats enjoyed music and always had his favorite radio station tuned in. Slats and Lise loved spending time at their home in Lake City, often with friends, but especially together on the water and taking excursions on the boat. They were blessed to be able to travel, spending numerous winters in Florida, and making several trips to Norway.

The family wishes to express their appreciation to Chosen Valley Care Center, Hospice, Palliative Care, and Visiting Angels for their care and support.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Hospice or one's charity of choice.

A private family graveside service will be held at South Zumbro Lutheran Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Papenfuss family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit

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Published by Winona Daily News on Mar. 6, 2021.
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3 Entries
Lise....I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your husband, our friend, Lyle. Joining SECURA, I was able to meet him and have so many wonderful meetings throughout the years. I think about all the travel we did together as couples, and his smile and kindness to both Kerry and I. He will be missed; please know that we are praying for his soul now in heaven, and for you and your family, and all of your loved ones. This Giant of a man; this giant of a caring soul; will be greatly missed. Our Love: Dave and Kerry Gross
Dave Gross
March 15, 2021
We are so sorry for your loss and pray for God´s comfort and strength to be present for you and the entire family. As a man of great integrity and profound kindness , Slats blessed many people and will be dearly missed by all. We feel incredibly fortunate just to have known him and call him friend. Our sincere condolences .
David & Kelly Olson and family
March 9, 2021
Dear Lisa and Family; I send my deepest sympathy and love to you at the passing of dear Slats. The Lord has truly received the dearest of souls and we so loved him. I only wish that I was closer to home to be with you at this difficult time but I am with you in spirit and with love. My very best to you. He was the kindest of men.
Tore Gundersen Resavage
March 8, 2021