Alfred Joseph “AJ” Holzbauer, 81, of Breckenridge, MN, passed away at Sanford Medical Center, Fargo, ND on Thursday, April 9, 2020. With the current health concerns impacting the country, a private family service will be held in the coming days to honor AJ’s life. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at a later date. Expressions of sympathy during this time can be left on the condolences page available with the obituary on our website. We also encourage you to view the video tribute and/or webcast of the service that may be available. Arrangements have been entrusted to Joseph Vertin & Sons Funeral Home.
AJ was born in Wagner, SD, on October 29, 1938, to Alfred F. and Lucinda (Birgen) Holzbauer. At the age of one, Alfred and his family moved to Breckenridge where he grew up and attended St. Mary’s Catholic School, a place he always held close to his heart. He then went on to Breckenridge High School and graduated in 1957. During high school, AJ was the manager of the basketball team and helped on his family’s farm. Tragedy struck at the age of 15 when AJ was diagnosed with polio, causing him limited movement and muscle weakness. For six months he underwent numerous surgeries and treatments at Gillette State Hospital in St. Paul, MN. While it gave him a distinctive walk, it never slowed him down.
On April 10, 1961, AJ was united in marriage to Phyllis Dauer at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. They made their home in rural Breckenridge where they raised their five children and he continued to farm. The family farm kept him busy, tending to hogs, cattle, and their land. Once the farming season was over, he enjoyed taking trips with his family to Wisconsin Dells, the Black Hills, and Itasca State Park. In later years, AJ and Phyllis traveled to Florida, Texas, and Arizona. AJ and Phyllis devoted their family life to the Lord and frequently attended Mass. AJ even made rosaries for his loved ones with Job’s tears seeds he grew himself. AJ was an avid gardener and loved digging in the dirt. He was known for growing the best sweet corn and enjoyed giving it away to relatives and friends, along with the other gifts of his harvest.
AJ retired from farming in 1984 and went on to work for Schuler Grain, Minn-Kota Ag Products, and later for Richard Yaggie Farms. During his retirement, AJ began woodworking and blessed his children, church, and school with furniture he skillfully made, as well as the tabernacle in the chapel at CHI St. Francis Healthcare Campus. He even crafted his own casket. He also looked forward to daily coffee talk with his close friends. Community and family were important to him; when Phyllis was no longer able to live at home, he went to St. Francis Nursing Home daily to visit her. He made many friends during this time, especially while pushing his bride and others to the dining room for supper. AJ adored his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and cherished every second he spent with them. AJ was always good for a joke or two when anyone saw him and found great pleasure in making everyone smile.
Alfred will be deeply missed by his loving wife of nearly 59 years, Phyllis of Breckenridge; children, Steve (Sue) Holzbauer of Breckenridge, Cheryl (Rick) Groenwold of Norcross, MN, Jean Holzbauer of Breckenridge, Douglas (Berdine) Holzbauer of Breckenridge, and Paula (Todd) Hayward of Bismarck, ND; grandchildren, Skyler (Megan) Holzbauer, Bailey (Tanner) Thompson, Chandler (Alicia) Holzbauer, Laken (fiancé D’Angelo Burns) Holzbauer, Travis Hayward, Sullivan Busch, Sawyer Busch, Alex Hayward, and Shayzen Busch; great-grandchildren, Korbyn Holzbauer, Kade Holzbauer, and Raelyn Holzbauer; siblings, Evelyn (Bernard) Polansky of Lidgerwood, ND, Marcia (Wayne) Heley of Lidgerwood, ND, and Jerry (Gail) Holzbauer, of Breckenridge; and numerous other family members.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred F. and Lucinda Holzbauer; sister, Mary Lou (John) Friederichs; and his infant brother, Thomas.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations are made to St. Mary’s Catholic School, Breckenridge.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Alfred Joseph Holzbauer, please visit our floral store.