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Lester "Les" Kaenel

Lester “Les” J. Kaenel, age 86, of Willmar, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 9, at Carris Health Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.

A celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, at Calvary Lutheran Church.  Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church.  Interment with military honors will be at Fairview Cemetery.  Arrangements are with Peterson Brothers Funeral Home.  www.petersonbrothers.com

Lester “Les” John Kaenel was born on July 31, 1934, in Munden, Kansas, the son of John and Bessie (Verley) Kaenel.  He grew up near Hebron, Nebraska and graduated from Hebron High School in 1952.  Les enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in Okinawa, Japan during the Korean War and in Vaung Tao and Mekong Delta during the Viet Nam War.  In 1974, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy and then attended the Willmar Vo-Tech law enforcement program.  He worked in police protection in various small communities throughout West Central Minnesota and later owned and operated “The Cab Company” in Willmar.  On August 15, 1986, Les was united in marriage to Nancy Ellestad Bruhn and they made their home in Willmar.  Les was a member of Calvary Lutheran Church.  He was active in the Willmar V.F.W. Post #1639 and served several times as the Post Commander, 5th District Commander and a member of the military honor guard unit.  His hobbies included country music, car racing and driving around the country side.  He enjoyed working with the veterans and all their projects and attending all of his grandchildren's numerous activities.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy of Willmar; three children, Joanie (and Mike) Branigan of Omaha, NE., Debra Wallace of LA., and Ronald (and Lisa) Kaenel of Willmar; four stepchildren, Jeff (and Tiffany) Bruhn of Paducah, KY., Tammy (Jeffrey) Paulson of Atwater, Twyla (and David) Scofield of Litchfield and Jason (and Beth) Bruhn of Willmar, numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren; Also surviving is two sisters, Lucille Henry of Davenport, NE. and Linda (and Mike) Arnold of Galeton, MO., besides other relatives and many friends.

He preceded in death by his parents; four brothers, Robert, George and Dale and two  sisters, Phyllis and Jacquelyn in infancy.

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I met Les on a blind date in Long Beach in 1955. He was about to leave for a navy school & gave my phone number to a friend who became my husband. We were married 50 years. Les was a good friend to us both.

Linda Walls May 7 2021 12:00 AM

My husband was stationed with Les in Long Beach in 1955. We were allSo very young. I hope Les had a happy life.

Linda Walls May 7 2021 12:00 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Lester Kaenel

Sarah and Rick Bugbee Dec 22 2020 12:00 AM

Les was a wonderful man and Veteran. Cherish the memories. He is pain free and at peace. Thinking of you Nancy and family at this time . RIP Les

Sarah and Rick Bugbee Dec 22 2020 12:00 AM

So sad about this. He was the only brother I had left. So glad we got to know one another and have some fun together these last few years. All my love and sympathy to Nancy and the rest of the family. Praying for all of you!

Linda Arnold Dec 14 2020 12:00 AM