|Kenneth Noreen, 75|
|Written by TRF Times|
St. Hilaire - Kenneth “Kenny” Noreen, 75, of St. Hilaire, died on Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 at his home in rural St. Hilaire.
Funeral services were held Friday, Nov. 18, 2011 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls, with Rev. Greg Schramm and Pastor Irvin Schmitke officiating. Casket bearers included Don Berggren, Larry Kruse, Lee Johnson, Jim Noreen, Jeff Noreen, Casey Noreen, Charlie Noreen and David Lee. Honorary Casket bearers included St. Hilaire Lions Club, Bricklayers, former baseball, football, and softball players, hunting buddies and his many special friends. Interment was held at Oak Ridge Cemetery, rural Thief River Falls.
Kenneth Gordon Noreen was born on June 16, 1936 in Higdem Township, Polk County, (near Alvarado) the son of Charles and Alice (Bjorndahl) Noreen. He was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran faith at Oak Ridge Lutheran Church, rural Thief River Falls. He attended country school near Viking, attended Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls and graduated from Newfolden High School in 1954.
Following high school, Kenny worked for a few years in the woods near Big Falls, in the winter time, where they worked for Stanton-Skoleie. Kenny and his brother, Lloyd then went to work for Ole Eide Masonry in St. Paul, and learned the trade of bricklaying. In 1957, he became a member of the International Bricklayers Union. Once he became a Journeyman in 1957, Kenny returned to live in Thief River Falls.
On June 14, 1958, Kenny was united in marriage to Tressie Nygaard at Trinity Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls. To this union, four children were born, Michael, Luke, AnnaMarie and Cynthia. He and Tressie built several houses in the area; they always worked well together. In 1961, Kenny started his own company called Noreen Masonry which he employed several bricklayers in the area and many laborers throughout the area. He later started the Noreen Development.
Kenny enjoyed his trade; there are many buildings he worked on in the Thief River Falls area. Among them were Hardees (Arby’s), McDonalds, Woolworths, JC Penny, Huck Olson Arena, St. Bernard’s Rectory, the Arctic Cat display building; and he did the stone work on the First Federal building which is now the Northern State Bank drive thru. He also did several brick fronts for people’s home, churches, Hartz Warehouse, Highway Patrol building, Johnnie’s Café.
Both of his sons, Mike and Luke followed in their father’s footsteps and are members of the International and Local Bricklayers Union. After they became bricklayers, they built the Sanford Clinic, Ralph Engelstad Arena, Seven Clans Casino, MEC Center, Greenbush, Karlstad, and Hallock Schools, and several other schools and buildings in the area.
Both Kenny and Tressie worked at the Grand Forks Air Force Base on the B-1 project for Chicago Bridge and Iron. Kenny was very active in many sports. In his teenage years, he played catcher for Carpenters Corner, basketball and football for Newfolden High School; later in life he played catcher for Bea’s Market and he sponsored a men’s hockey team that he played on. He also sponsored and played on a bowling team; and his last endeavor was to race stock cars in Fargo, Grand Forks and Park River, ND, and Gary, Oklee, Thief River Falls and Warren.
Kenny enjoyed telling stories from days gone by. He enjoyed life, took the time to visit with neighbors and friends and liked to share a joke such as “why did the golfer wear two pairs of pants…just in case he got a ‘hole in one!” He and Tressie liked living in St. Hilaire, that was as far south as he wanted to go in the winter. Kenny was proud of his Swedish heritage.
Kenny enjoyed life…he liked old tractors, driving around, going to Dee’s Kitchen, going to deer camp with Lloyd, ice fishing with Lion’s Club and being with his family.
He was a member of the St. Hilaire Lions Club and in 2007 was presented a Certificate of Achievement in recognition and appreciation for fifty years of service with the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local Union 1 Minnesota/North Dakota. On February 19, 2010, Kenny was inducted into to the Nordic Hall of Fame in honor of his football career at Newfolden High School.
Survivors include his loving wife of 53 years, Tressie of St. Hilaire; Mike Noreen of Warroad, Luke (Sharon) Noreen, Lisa (Jerry) Thompson, and Cyn (Mark) Kaushagen all of Thief River Falls; nine grandchildren, Kayla (Ryan) Bruggeman, Amanda (Jacob) Wilde, Michelle Berg, Grace Thompson, Alexis (Nick) Nelson, Alison (Jeremy) Lian, Karissa, Gordy and Jonah Kaushagen; great-grandchildren, Nora Bruggeman, Kaylea Barron, Levi Wilde, and Jenna Lian; sisters-in-law, Janice Noreen and Dee Noreen; and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Louella Selmanson and Eleanor Day; brothers, Lloyd, Alan, Clarence “Kelly” and Art Noreen; and an infant brother, Chester.