American Veteran 02

Lester Baustian

May 13, 1930 ~ February 19, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old

Lester Baustian Obituary

   LESTER R. BAUSTIAN, age 92, of Luverne, died at the Bethany Home in Brandon, SD. He was born May 13, 1930, in Luverne, to Walter Sr. and Frances (Brandenberg) Baustian on the farm in Denver township near Hardwick. He attended school at the Springwater Township School. In 4th grade, the family moved to a farm near Trosky for three years. Then they moved to a farm southwest of Luverne, and the children attended school in Luverne. Later they moved northwest of Luverne. After graduation from Luverne High School in 1948, Lester joined the Army National Guard meetings in Luverne. He went into active duty in January 1951 and was honorably discharged in the spring of 1952. While in service he served at Ft. Rucker in Alabama in the communication unit helping build telephone lines. He also worked in the Post Office.

   Lester also had an Honorary Life Membership of the American Legion, post 0478, Hardwick, for 26 years in 2006.

Lester was very sincere and studious about his Catholic faith and learned the Catechism early so was Confirmed at age 11 at St. Joseph’s Church in Jasper, by Bishop Kelly. His mother would comment how serious and eager Lester was when studying the Catholic Catechism and always knew his answers well. He became a member of St. Catherine’s Catholic Knights of Columbus in 1958. He worked at their breakfasts and fish fry dinners. He was a Third Degree Knight. Lester was very instrumental in urging Leora to study the faith in 1955. They were married at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, April 18, 1956 at 9am Msgr. Michael Doyle was the pastor. They married at 9am due to fasting. (At that time in the Catholic Church, one fasted from midnight until receiving communion) They attended classes with Msgr. Doyle from January until April to intensely study history, past and presence of the Catholic Church.

   Les and Leora started square dancing in 1970 at the Hollyhoppers Square Dance Club in Jasper, MN. They served on the square dance Board for 2 years. They square danced in many places including San Diego and Hawaii. They square danced all night on New Year’s Eve in George, IA when it was -20° and won Nite Owl Badges. They danced with the “Dakota Bandits” and “Shirts & Skirts Club”. They also danced at the Sioux Empire Fair on a 100° day on an outdoor stage. Lester loved singing. He sang in the choir at St. Catherine for 15 years and cantored for 8 years. While working out in the fields, one could hear him singing or whistling. As a teenager, Les and his family and friends learned to rollerskate at the Garretson rollerrink - he even skated backwards and they would play tag while skating. He was 4-H member with prize winning steers shown at Rock County Fair, State of Minnesota Fair in St. Paul and the livestock shows in Sioux City and Nobles. He also showed swine and gardening items and received a grand champion in gardening. Les started going to Ole Tyme Dances in the summer of 1952. He and a group of friends went every Wednesday night to the Arkota Ballroom in Sioux Falls. They also went to the Dell Rapids Dance Hall, Hardwick, Ellsworth, and Hatfield on different nights.

   Lester met Leora Schievelbein of Humboldt, SD while dancing at the Arkota Ballroom in Sioux Falls, SD in January 1955. They were dancing to the Jolly Lumber Jacks Band of Minnesota. Polkas were Lester’s favorites, along with waltzes, scholtisekes, and circle two steps. Les and Leora’s theme song was the Blue Skirt Waltz. Les & Leora won a dance contest while dancing on the ship on a trip to the Carribean Islands. It was a “Balloon Dance” where balloons were tied to each couple’s ankles and the winners kept their balloons from popping through the end of the dance. They were the last couple still dancing - though they did have a few ankle bruises. Les went fishing with friends before marrying Leora. (Mostly for the liquid refreshments served on the boat.) He never liked to clean fish and yet when their whole family went fishing he would have to help clean 5 gallon pails full of bullheads and perch at times.

   After his discharge from the service, Lester farmed from 1952 until retirement in 1996 when son Brian took over the farming. Lester joined the National Farmers Organization in March 1964. He was chairman of Rock County NFO from 1965 until 1970 and then bargaining coordinator 5 years. He holds a lifetime membership of the NFO (National Farmers Organization).

   Lester began selling O’s Gold Seed in 1971. He was supervisor in Rock County the year they sold the most seed sold in any county in the United States. In 2000, Monsanto bought O’s Gold and then also DeKalb as he continued to sell. He won many rewards through these years. One of these was the Stallion award, a statue of a stallion with a diamond in its eye. He also won many plaques, 5 trips to Hawaii, a cruise to Caribbean Islands and Cancun. He also was a member of the Minnesota and National Corn Growers association and Minnesota Soybean Association and served on the Rock County Board of Soybean Assoc.


Lester served as a supervisor on Springwater Township Board for 3 years. While on this board, one year they had the highest number of votes ever in one year - 121 votes. Lots of disagreements with the supervisors. A farmer his entire lifetime, Lester was very involved in conservation. His farm received terraces to slow soil loss and washouts and he also used contouring with his crops. A farm pond was built on the east end of the farm and ducks and geese used it for several years. It also was very important to have grassed waterways throughout the farm to stop erosion. Gardening was always his love and for many years all his children helped grow, pick and can 200 to 300 jars of foods for winter.

   Lester is survived by his seven children, Paul (Denae) Baustian, Harrisburg, SD; Brian (Barb) Baustian, Garretson, SD; Anne (Doug) Horst, Piedmont, SD; Greg Baustian, Worthington, MN; Susan (Steve Mitchell) Baustian, Hudson, WI; Kevin (Wendy) Baustian, Loudon, TN; and Mary (Don) Olson, Dennison; twenty seven grandchildren; twenty seven great grandchildren; and two sisters, Neva Clausen, Luverne; and Sr. Joan Baustian, Detroit, MI.

   He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Leora on July 4, 2017; son, Robert Baustian in 2003; and an infant child.

   Visitation will be from 2-4 pm Sunday Feb 26 at the Dingmann Funeral Home in Luverne. Funeral Mass will be 10:30 am Monday at St. Catherine Catholic Church, in Luverne, officiated by Monsignor Gerald Kosse and Deacon Kevin Aaker. Burial with full military honors provided by the Luverne American Legion & VFW, will be in the St. Catherine Cemetery in Luverne.

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Funeral Service

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February 26, 2023

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Dingmann Funeral Home (Luverne)
300 N. Kniss Ave.
Luverne, Minnesota 56156

Funeral Mass
February 27, 2023

10:30 AM
St. Catherine Catholic Church
203 E. Brown St.
Luverne, Minnesota 56156


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