Norbert G. Toenyan (Bert) 80 of Long Prairie, passed away on September 13, 2013, at the Knute Nelson Memorial Home in Alexandria. Mass of Christian Burial was held at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18 at St. Mary’s of Mount Caramel Catholic Church in Long Prairie with Father Mark Willenbring officiating. Interment was held at Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Little Falls.
Norbert was born on July 27, 1933 in St. Rosa to Norbert G. Toenyan Sr. & Rose (Kruse) Toenyan. He married Verna Cheney in 1978.
Bert valued everyone no matter their race, income, or position in life. Being unable to speak or read English complicated his early school years. He was elated to receive the only “red” grade in 1st grade, only to learn that it was a failing grade. He has embraced the Latino community because he understood language barriers and desired children to have the same opportunity he had to learn.
The most important part of his life was the children who brought great joy to his life. He is remembered by many for the late night and early morning trips delivering the Minneapolis Tribune and St. Cloud Times, which he did for over 30 years. Friends of his children loved these late night and early morning outings because they were followed by treats at the local café. Every Tribune being sold in Long Prairie or delivered in Long Prairie, Browerville, and all of the rural routes was delivered to his garage. Kids assembled them and papers were delivered to local business and to in town and rural patrons.
Bert’s joy came from animals, mostly feathered ones. Bert would keep an incubator running for months to hatch ducks, chickens and turkeys, wild turkeys, Canadian Geese and Guineas for himself and friends; along with his love of birds he also had a love for Collies. Bert’s favorite sport was baseball, which he played as a young man. He enjoyed attending baseball at the Boston Red Sox game in the “Green Monster”. Music was a great love of Bert’s, especially old time and country. Bert traveled to England, Wales, Venice, Mexico, and Italy. Bert along with his wife made wedding cakes for many years.
Volunteer: Bert delighted in being an Americorps Respite Volunteer bringing cheer to others, delivering Bundled Meals, NAPS Boxes and most of all the company of the seniors at each Senior Center when doing the Echoes Newsletter. Bert loved the volunteer excursions where he got an opportunity to “chat” with everyone
Bert enjoyed playing cards at Senior Centers and spent hours enjoying the company of seniors at the Eagle Bend Senior Center and his travel to the center on Rainbow Rider.
Bert ran a feed mill in Gutches Grove followed by 32 years as a pressman at Hart Press (RR Donnelly). Bert retired and became bored so for several years he planted trees for the Soil Conservation Service. One of his greatest joys was planting and caring for trees. Bert landed a “fun” job for 8 years for three different companies –travel up to 45,000 miles annually filling and servicing toy crane machines. He enjoyed the opportunity to chat with everyone as he traveled his routes. Bert served his country in France as a school supply clerk. While he was in France he traveled to Spain to see the bullfights.
Bert is survived by his wife Verna (Cheney), and children; Craig Toenyan of Sauk Centre, Jeannie (Scott) Larson of Mora, Brian Toenyan of Sauk Centre, Kevin (Lori) Toenyan of Baxter, Karla (Mark) Walz of Belgrade, Missy Toenyan (Nick Wagner) of Long Prairie Amye Levin (Fiance Jeremy Miller) of Baxter. Stepchildren Cindy Hoeppner (Paul Keenan) of Boston, Lori (Bob) Orlikowski of Chicago, Edward Hoeppner (Becky) of Bloomington, Annita (Jeff) Winkels of Duluth. Brothers & Sisters Caroline Schmidt of Long Prairie, Julius “Tuffy” Toenyan of Nelson, Kenny Toenyan (Shirley) of Long Prairie, Hedwig “Hattie” Toenyan of Long Prairie, Marie (Doug) Repp of Long Prairie, Vince “Butch” (Colleen) Toenyan of Long Prairie. 22 Grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Preceded in death by: Norbert Toenyan Sr. (father), Rose Toenyan (mother), Linus Toenyan and Francis Toenyan (brothers) and Jaedon (baby grandson)
Casket Bearers: Brandon Toenyan, Drew Harlow, Loren Johnson, Randy Waltzing, Gerhard Hendricks, Jim Rohr, and Greg Radtke, and Todd Borgstrom. Honorary Casket Bearers: Grandchildren, Mark Klimek, and Eagle Bend Senior Citizen Volunteers and Aerators Respite Volunteers.
Arrangements with Iten Funeral Home, Browerville.