Alan Leroy Werk, age 72, of Wadena, MN went to his heavenly home on December 11, 2023. He passed away peacefully at Lakeland Health System Hospital in Staples, MN alongside family. The hospital honored him with a special ceremony.
Alan (“Al”) was born on November 17, 1951, in Morris, MN to Harvey Wilbur and Helen (Hector) Werk. He was a baptized member of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Herman, MN where he attended Sunday School and Confirmation. Al attended school in Herman and graduated from high school in 1969. He attended the University of Minnesota Technical College in Crookston, MN where he trained to become a diesel mechanic and took a few animal science classes. He finished his diesel mechanic training at Moorhead Tech, Moorhead, MN.
Alan was the fourth of five children of Harvey and Helen. As a youth, Alan worked on the family farm east of Herman where they raised certified grain seed, Registered Hereford cattle, Shetland ponies, and poultry. One of his favorite activities was riding his pony, Duchess. When not doing chores or riding horse, he played baseball, threw the football, or played games. Alan was actively involved in 4-H and FFA with projects and showing cattle at the Grant County Fair in Herman. He and his siblings toured county fairs, winter shows, and the pinnacle Minnesota State Fair.
Alan enlisted in the United States Army and in January 1971 completed basic training in Fort Lewis, WA. He furthered his training in Texas before being deployed to Vietnam. At age 20, he was an Army Specialist Four and was assigned with Headquarters Company 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry of the 196th Infantry Brigade near Da Nang, South Vietnam. While serving in Vietnam, he was awarded the Combat Medical Badge. The badge marks the wearer as a medical specialist who has accompanied a combat unit into action, and who has performed under the most trying circumstances. He also received a National Defense Service medal and a Vietnam Service Medal. He was honorably discharged in 1972.
Following his discharge, Al spent time with family working on the farm before moving to the Twin Cities to work for Ziegler CAT as a mechanic. He met an amazing young lady, Michelle (Lehn), who shared a common upbringing growing up on a farm. On June 4, 1977, Al and Michelle were married in St. Walburga Catholic Church in Fletcher, MN. The couple lived in the Twin Cities for about a year and decided to return to their roots of farming and livestock by acquiring a farmstead in rural Verndale. They raised corn, small grain, and beef cattle.
On December 5, 1979, they had a son, Scott Alan, and on February 22, 1982, a daughter, Jennifer Marie. They enjoyed supporting their kids in everything they did. They moved to Wadena, MN in 2010 and Scott moved into the family home where he and his family live today. Al never strayed far from the farm and would frequently hang out in the shop, check video from the trail cameras, or work on equipment.
Al and Scott started a restaurant and bar in 2008 called the Bullseye Bar & Grill. There, Al enjoyed chatting with customers, helping wherever he could with the restaurant daily duties, playing pool, and throwing bean bags.
Al’s chief pleasures outside of work were hunting, fishing, and race cars. He harvested numerous large white tails, a black bear, and enjoyed hunting racoons and coyotes. This fall he was unable to go hunting, but was undoubtedly there in spirit and celebrating the hunt with his family. He loved to fish on the water in the summer and on the ice in the winter. He made trips to Canada, Lake of the Woods, and hit the local lakes whenever he could. Al loved cars and had a great time working on his 1968 Dodge Dart, and Scott’s stock and enduro cars.
Alan was an incredible person with a determination that inspired many. In the fall of 1979, a life changing farm accident would affect him and his young family, but he insisted once he recovered from injuries, he would return to farming once again. At the age of 28, he had his entire life ahead of him and he was driven to do everything he had done prior to the accident. There was nothing he could not do. He continued to hunt, fish, drive tractor, farm, and so much more. The work ethic he learned from a young age carried him through to his final day on this earth. He was a wonderful example of how to overcome adversity and not allow hardships to be limitations.
Alan was preceded in death by his parents, Harvey and Helen (Hector); father in-law and mother in-law Cyril and Betty (Braesch) Lehn; grandparents, William and Laura (Kietzman) Werk, and Ben and Jennie (Lamfers) Hector.
He is survived by his loving wife, Michelle; children, Scott (Nikki) of Verndale, MN, Jennifer (Jason) Lind of Pillager, MN; grandchildren, Addison, Mason, Nessa, Brayden, and Carson; siblings, Ken (Diane) of Alexandria, MN/Gold Canyon, AZ, Bob (Phyllis) of Herman, MN, Tom (Lori) of Elk River, MN, and Joann (Ron) Schliep of Holloway, MN; brother and sister in-laws, Esdon (Kim) Lehn of Dayton, MN, Sherman (Mona) Lehn of Dayton, MN, Julie (Carl) Hoyer of Frenchtown, MT, Adrian (Patti) Lehn of Dayton, MN, and Rita (Brian) Johnston of New Richmond, WI; and many nephews, nieces, and extended family members.
Services are currently pending.
Please visit <www.karvonenfuneralhome.com> to leave memorials and condolences on Alan’s Tribute Wall.
Arrangements provided by Karvonen Funeral & Cremation Service of Wadena, MN.