Joe LeTendre, son of Leonard and Marcella Youngbauer LeTendre, was born in Cass Lake, Minnesota, on September 24, 1938. The family moved to Austin, MN, when he was 2. He graduated from St. Augustine High School in 1956, Austin Community College in 1958, and St. Thomas College in 1960. He and Rosemary Collins were married on December 28, 1960, and they moved from St. Paul to Brewster, MN, where Joe taught junior high social studies and was the high school librarian. He attended Mankato State during the following summers to get a degree in Library Science. In 1965, he took a job as elementary librarian in Slayton, MN, where his gift for storytelling made trips to the library a memorable occasion for the students. He also coached 5th & 6th grade boys’ basketball and was an assistant coach in track. He also taught gun training for 20 years. He made a career change in 1977, and began working for Christensen Broadcasting as a salesman and on-air personality at their Slayton location, which is now called KJOE Radio, named after him. In 1996, he was honored to be named “Outstanding Broadcast Personality in Non-Metro Radio” by the Minnesota Broadcasters Association. In addition to his radio work, he also became a much-sought-after Master of Ceremonies for many different organizations such as MN Deer Hunters, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse, MN Wholesalers and the Murray County Dairy Association. These functions took him to places in MN, North & South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Florida, Alaska and Texas. He also emceed the CCSI banquet for many years in Worthington. Joe was the familiar voice of the Murray County Speedway for many years and was inducted into the Murray County Racing Association’s Hall of Fame on November 27, 2014. He served on the parish council and as a lector at St. Ann’s in Slayton and spear-headed several fund-raising events for the church. His talent for writing led him to a position as a sports writer for the Murray County Herald, and as a feature writer for the Sailor, a summer publication out of Tracy. He loved fishing & hunting, learning new things, entertaining everyone around him, spending time at his cabin at Lake Minnewaska, and having fun with his grandkids. Joe passed away on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the Sanford Hospital in Fargo, ND at the age of 81.
Survivors include his wife, Rosemary LeTendre, of Slayton. Five children and their spouses: Mike and Kathy LeTendre of Slayton, MN, Jim and Theresa LeTendre of Sioux Falls, SD, Beth and Terry Oolman of Orange City, IA, Mary Ellen and John Moline of Slayton, MN, and Paul and Wendy LeTendre of Morris, MN. Twelve grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, and his father and mother-in-law, Jack and Lillian Collins.
Funeral Services will be held at St. Ann’s Church in Slayton, MN on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. with Fr. Thien Nguyen officiating. The organist is Patty LeClaire. The song leader is Lori Dahlhoff. The pallbearers are his grandchildren. Interment is at St. Ann’s Cemetery in Slayton, MN.
Visitation will be on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at St. Ann’s Church in Slayton from 4-7 p.m. and also one hour prior to the services at the church on Wednesday. Totzke Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements. In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to Wonder World in Slayton or to Murray County Hospice.