Winston Erlandson, 1927-2008

Winston Erlandson and his great-granddaughter LexiMy wife’s grandfather, Winston Erlandson, passed away on Wednesday.

Since local newspaper web sites are notorious for not leaving content online, I’m going to reprint the obituary here. Unfortunately the obituary doesn’t tell you much about who Win really was (obituaries never do). I didn’t know the man very well, but he was genuinely kind and gracious. He struck me as a stereotypical grandpa, joyful and fun.

I never knew quite what to call him, in part because I met him at that time in my life when it became appropriate to call adults by their first names (I grew up calling adults Mr. and Mrs.), but also because “Grandpa” seemed so fitting. I ended up oscillating between Win and Grandpa.

Some of the best details the obituary leaves out were that Win enjoyed square-dancing with his wife and had season tickets to the Green Bay Packers. I imagine those tickets are in the will. And yes, square-dancing, as in big hoop skirts and ‘twirl your partner round and round.’ Win and JoAnn’s 50th wedding anniversary included square-dancing and they often traveled to square-dancing competitions.

One of the things I learned from Win (and JoAnn) is that we don’t need so much stuff. They encouraged the family not to give them gifts at Christmas and to instead make a donation somewhere. I loved that idea and when we talked with them about it they were incredibly practical—saying in effect, “I’ve been getting gifts all my life, I’ve got everything I need.” We’ve been doing that with all our grandparents since, and this year we’ve started doing a version of that in our immediate family as well.

Win’s death wasn’t a big surprise as he’d been in declining health for a while, but it’s never easy. I am thankful that he didn’t spend a long time in and out of the hospital. While it’s sad to lose him, I am looking forward to the funeral and the chance to celebrate his life and memory. My favorite memory from my own Grandpa’s funeral was sitting around his kitchen late at night laughing with my extended family.

Winston “Win” Erlandson, 81, longtime resident of Green Bay, died Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008.

He was born May 9, 1927, in Minnesota to the late Henry and Alice (Peterson) Erlandson.

On June 2, 1950, he married JoAnn Kersten in Fergus Falls, Minn.

Winston served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He had been employed at the Larsen Company and Wisconsin Physicians Service.

Survivors include his wife, JoAnn; five children and their spouses, Scott and Jennifer Erlandson, Lee Erlandson and his friend, Vickie Liebl, Dana and Barb Erlandson, Patricia Erlandson, Paula and Donald Storace; his grandchildren, Abby, Emily, Joanna, Mike, Travis, Casey, Nicholas, Lauren, Ethan, Bailey; his great-grandchildren, Lexi, Ari, Nathan, Mathilda; a sister and brother-in-law, Mildred and Lennie Bothun; and a brother-in-law, Elroy “Elley” Kersten.

Friends may call at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1350 Bond St., from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church with the Rev. James Seim officiating. Burial will be in Fort Howard Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established in his name.

The Erlandson family extends a special thank you to Dr. Bachhuber and the staff of Aurora BayCare hospital for their compassionate care.

Blaney Funeral Home is assisting the family. To send online condolences, please go to www.Blaney FuneralHome.com.

2 thoughts on “Winston Erlandson, 1927-2008”

  1. Kevin (and Abby),
    I should have posted this comment almost a decade ago, when you first wrote this blog, but as it is coming up on 10 years since my dad (“Grandpa Win” to you) passed away, I have read what you wrote again. I often bring up this posting to read the beautiful thoughts and words you used to not only describe the man he was, but also how you felt about him and how he affected your lives. And I think your ability to expand on his life in such a small space that a blog can allow, was extremely well written. Just FYI on the subject of square-dancing, my mom and dad enrolled all five of us “kids” into square-dancing classes when we were between about 13-15 years old. So I felt lucky that they did not ask us to join in at their 50th Anniversary! I am not sure if you were aware of this. :-)
    I loved my dad so very much and I still miss him each and every day, but I feel “warm and fuzzy” inside when I close my computer down after visiting this blog. I will go now and look at a variety of photos I have to complete my walk down Memory Lane.
    Thank you for being the type of man you are Kevin, and I truly hope that you, Abby, Lexi and Milo (and Mazie & Speak-if they are still with you) continue to grow together in the love I know you feel in your hearts.
    My best wishes to all of you. Love, Aunt Paula

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