We sorrowfully announce the passing of Lowell Ordean Klukken of St. Anthony, MN. Lowell, known as Mr. Klukken to his many students, died at the age of 91 on Thursday, April 13, 2023. He peacefully passed away, in the company of loved ones, from several complications related to his advanced years.
Lowell’s long and well-lived life began in Osakis, MN on July 19, 1931. The youngest son of John O and Helga Klukken of Osakis, graduated from Osakis High School in 1949. Shortly thereafter he enlisted in the Army, where he found himself stationed at the well-known Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, Japan. Still in his early twenties and upon leaving the Army, he joined three of his brothers in Southern California and worked in Los Angeles and San Diego until he decided to enlist in the Armed Services again, this time in the Air Force. In the mid 1950’s he was stationed in England, which proved to be his final tour of duty.
Upon returning home to Osakis in 1958 and persuaded by his aunts, Lena and Thilda Vangstad, he attended Valley City State College in North Dakota, where he received his BS in History in 1963. While attending college he met Jeanette Ellen Hendrickson of Valley City, ND, who would become his wife of 32 years. They married in New Town, ND, on Sept. 14, 1959. A child, John, would arrive within their first year together.
In 1963, Lowell’s teaching career, which was to last for thirty years, began at the Simi Valley School District, in Simi Valley, CA. He commuted to school from Moorpark, CA, where Jeanette raised their son, John, and gave birth to their first daughter, Jeanie, until the decision was made to return home to the Midwest after the Spring Semester of 1966.
That fall, Long Prairie High School was to offer him the opportunity to exercise his passion for history— eventually introducing that subject to several thousands of students. Later, through his art of storytelling, he would prove never to have really given up teaching. This all made for an excellent conversationalist of the highest order.
While he was teaching History at the High School in Long Prairie, his wife, Jeanette was to have their second daughter, Lisa, in the fall of 1968.
Lowell and Jeanette were to make Long Prairie, MN, their home until her passing in June of 1991. Lowell remained in Long Prairie after retiring several years later, eventually deciding to settle in Maple Grove, MN for nearly all his retirement. Once his health began to give way, he happily lived in Chandler Place, a retirement community in St. Anthony, MN very near to his daughter, Lisa, who was able to provide him with important attention for that crucial time, including during the pandemic, when it became necessary for him to move-in with her. He was--and we remain--so very grateful for the work she did in this regard both for us and for him.
A first baseman for the District Champion Osakis Silver Streaks, he remained an avid sports fan his entire life—engaging in many years of ups-and-downs with his son-in-law, Jeren, suffering along together over the Vikings and the Twins.
Meanwhile, his daughter Jeanie and her husband, Abrar, warmed his heart with their constant companionship--dining out often and speaking on the phone with him nearly every day for years and years. In the last year of his life, John’s wife, Irma, wrote letters to Lowell which he was to enjoy and even cherish.
Bilingual—his first language was Norwegian—he remained very proud of this heritage and visited Norway, once accompanied by his young son, John, and actively spoke the Norwegian language his entire life.
It’s important to remember his remarkable sense of humor. One doesn’t quite have a sense of this man without acknowledging his ability both to laugh and to make you laugh. His humor mercifully lightened many of life’s heavier moments.
For many years he was an enthusiastic, amateur cello player with the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra.
Lowell was a naturally gifted and talented singer with a beautiful tenor voice. He would never admit such a thing himself but if you had the opportunity to sing alongside him, you would know. Additionally, he was a great speaker and knew how to address a crowd in the most convincing and persuasive manner. We were all charmed and proud of how he was able to negotiate these aspects of his character along with his disarming modesty and his striking and authentic kindness. We, from the bottom of our hearts, will miss him keenly and dearly. Bye Dad.
Lowell leaves a sister, Gladys (Askegard) of Meridian, ID
He leaves a son John (and Irma Klukken) of Pomona, CA
He leaves two daughters, Jeanie (and Abrar Chowdhury) of Maple Grove, MN, and Lisa (and Jeren Anderson) of Columbia Heights, MN
He leaves many nieces and nephews and their spouses and children in addition to three step-grandchildren and eleven step great-grandchildren.
Funeral service will be on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 11 AM at Elim Lutheran Church with a visitation an hour prior.