Lester “Les” J. Kaenel, age 86, of Willmar, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 9, at Carris Health Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.
A public celebration of life service will be held at a later date following the COVID-19 pandemic. Arrangements are pending with the 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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