Lester D. Hjelmeland, 82, of Winona, passed away on Thursday, December 24, 2020, at Sugar Loaf Senior Living, surrounded by the love of his wife and family.
He was born on November 6, 1938, in Decorah, Iowa, to Robert and Edith (Erickson) Hjelmeland, and was united in marriage with Arla M. Lundtvedt on May 14, 1959, at the First Lutheran Church in Decorah.
Lester honorably served his country with the United States Army from 1955 to 1960. He was employed as a sales consultant and customer service manager for Nathe’s Wholesale Foods, and in his retirement, he also drove cab and worked as a people greeter at Walmart.
He was a member of Central Lutheran Church in Winona where he served as an usher, a money counter, and sang in the Senior Choir for many years.
Lester was an avid reader of Western novels, and he loved playing family games with Arla and his children. He also enjoyed dancing with Arla whenever there was a dance.
Lester is lovingly survived by his wife, Arla; children, Deneice Stark, Diane Burdey, Deb Hjelmeland, Neil (Stacey) Hjelmeland, Chris Hjelmeland, Brian (Tina) Hjelmeland, and Bradley (Angie) Hjelmeland; 17 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; brother, Norman (Pat) Hjelmeland; as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Daryl; a granddaughter, Sydney Hjelmeland; a son-in-law, Tim Stark; two brothers, Carl and Harold Hjelmeland; and Harold’s spouse, Linda Hjelmeland.
Due to current health concerns and restrictions, a family service will be held at Central Lutheran Church in Winona, with Pastor Michael Short officiating. Following the service, military rites will be conducted outside the church by the American Legion Leon J. Wetzel Post 9 of Winona. Lester will be laid to rest in the Springwater Cemetery in rural Decorah.
Pallbearers will be Neil Shane Hester, Coy Hester, Daniel Hjelmeland, David Hjelmeland, Kaitlyn Hjelmeland, and Ethan Hjelmeland. The honorary pallbearers will be Brenda Stark, Sherry Smith, Garrick Hjelmeland, Isaiah Burdey, Isaac Burdey, Megan Ehlers, Samantha Hjelmeland, Madison Hjelmeland, Kailey Hjelmeland, Olivia Hjelmeland, and Carter Hjelmeland.
Please visit Lester’s tribute page at www.watkowski-mulyck.com to leave online condolences, and when available, a video stream of the service.
Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.