Gene Harry Fransen, age 92, passed away Friday, July 23, 2021 at the Milaca Elim Nursing Home. Services were held Wednesday, July 28 at Zion Lutheran Church in Milaca with Pastor Sarah Larson officiating.
Gene was born June 30, 1929 at the Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis to Harry and Linnea (Johnson) Fransen. The family lived in Minneapolis for a few years before moving to South Fork Township near Bock. He was baptized and confirmed at Emanuel Lutheran in Bock. He attended District 28 grade school and Milaca high school. He married the love of his life, Betty Severson, in 1951 and they had four children - Jackie, Wendy, Laura and Curt. They celebrated 70 years of marriage in June of this year. He lived in Milaca most of his life and retired at their home on Lake Mille Lacs. They also enjoyed many winters in Mesa, Arizona.
Gene started working hard at an early age helping on their family's farm and doing chores for neighbors. He worked for a time driving machinery for his cousin, managed the home farm and worked at Sears in Minneapolis before moving back to the Milaca area. Gene worked most of his career as a painting contractor, first with his father, then purchasing Fransen Decorating in 1965 with his brother, John. Gene and John expanded the business into the commercial and industrial market covering the upper midwestern states. Gene and John also owned and operated Fransen Furniture in Milaca in the early seventies. Gene was well respected by his employees and the many business associates he had. His kindness and honesty were admired by all those who had the opportunity to work with him. He retired December 31,1989 when the business was sold to the next generation.
He and Betty enjoyed over 30 years of retirement. He loved to hunt, fish and golf with friends and family. He loved woodworking, making beautiful pieces which he generously gave to family and friends. He enjoyed flying and became a pilot in the 1970s.
Gene had a deep faith in God and was a devoted church and community member. He was active in many civic, service and faith organizations, including church and school boards, Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star, Shriners, Lions Club and Jaycees.
Gene cherished his family. He loved having them all around and enjoyed watching them have fun at the lake and having the little ones crawl onto his lap. He had an amazing memory for names, facts, history and details - even entertaining family with interesting stories through the last days of his life. His wisdom, kindness, humbleness and quiet, quick wit was loved by all who knew him.
Gene is survived by his wife Betty; daughters Jackie Hjort, Wendy (Mike) Gorham, Laura (Brian) Jergenson; grandchildren, Adam (Erin), Leah, Rachel (Tony), Neil, Taylor (Erin), Collin, Scott, Chad and Rita (Mitch). He is also survived by ten great-grandchildren, Owen, Macy, Liza, Levi, Violet, Hunter, Anna, Lydia, Josiah, Wyatt (and another on the way) and many loved nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents; son, Curt; son-in-law, Dennis Hjort, brothers, Lorin, Roger and John, Sr. and many family and friends.