Henry Harm Bontjes, 93, of Fergus Falls, MN, formerly of Breckenridge, MN, passed away at the Fergus Falls Veterans Home on Wednesday, August 15, 2018. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Sunday, August 19, 2018, with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. at Joseph Vertin and Sons Funeral Home in Breckenridge. The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Monday, August 20, 2018, at Grace Lutheran Church, Breckenridge, with a visitation one hour prior to the service. Pastor Ross Fritz will be officiating, and the burial will be held at Riverside Cemetery, Breckenridge. Arrangements have been entrusted to Joseph Vertin and Sons Funeral Home in Breckenridge.
Henry was born in Billings, MT, on October 1, 1924, to John and Sarah (Grussing) Bontjes. He grew up and attended school in rural Breckenridge, MN. After his formal education, he was employed at a large dairy farm near St. Paul, MN.
In December of 1944, Henry enlisted in the United States Army and honorably served his country until June of 1946. While he was stationed abroad, he received letters every day from his girlfriend, Ruth Haslerud, who later became his wife. They were united in marriage on September 18, 1947, in Rothsay, MN, and they then made their home on a farm east of Breckenridge. In 1958, they moved to a farm near Kent, MN, where they farmed for seven years; they moved to a farmstead north of Wahpeton, ND. During this time, Henry worked as a truck driver for Schweitzer’s Flax Plant in Breckenridge. While working at the flax plant, Henry also specialized in custom bailing, which he continued to do until he was 80 years old. The couple purchased a farmstead south of Breckenridge in 1972, where Ruth carried out the rest of her life until passing away on February 26, 1999. Most recently, Henry entered the Fergus Falls Veterans Home in February of 2016, where he received excellent care.
Henry was a man of strong character and had a devout work ethic. His love for his family and the great outdoors filtered through every area of his life and was especially evident in the many traditions he established with his loved ones. Among these were many fishing trips, lawn mower rides, and, as his grandchildren grew up, tractor rides. Henry enjoyed deer hunting almost as much as he enjoyed gathering with friends and family to make deer sausage afterwards. Henry enjoyed using his old, leaky wood boat, taking along his coffee can to bail out the water that would seep in through the bottom of the boat. He had a deep appreciation for the Minnesota Twins and listening to “Lutheran Hour” on the radio Sunday mornings. He also loved singing gospel songs, playing the harmonica, and tending to his large gardens.
Henry will be greatly missed by his children, Larry (Norma) Bontjes of Wahpeton, ND, Laverne (Anna) Bontjes of Wahpeton, LaDale (Diane) Bontjes of Breckenridge, Linda Strand of Bismarck, ND, and Lanette Stollenwerk of Breckenridge; daughters-in-law, Deb Bontjes of Dalton, MN and Carol Bontjes of Fargo, ND; sister, Florence Hansen of Doran, MN; sister-in-law, Darlene Bontjes of Breckenridge; 18 grandchildren; and 31 great-grandchildren.
Henry was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth (Haslerud) Bontjes; sons, Lyle and Lowell Bontjes; sons-in-law, Mike Stollenwerk and Ron Svard; granddaughters, Ashley and Lacey; and great-grandchildren, Alexis and Henry.