Public visitation for John Richard Chmelar, 81, of Echo, will take place on Saturday, May 11, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Sunset Funeral Home in Echo, MN. A celebration of life will continue at the Echo Community Center beginning at 12:30 p.m.  The Sunset Funeral & Cremation Association in Echo is handling the arrangements.   

John Richard Chmelar, born July 27, 1942, to Joseph and Agnes (Steinbeisser) Chmelar in Franklin MN, passed away on a beautiful spring day, May 5, 2024, in his home surrounded by his wife and children.  He attended schools in Morton MN and Milroy MN, graduating in 1960 from Milroy High School. After graduation he worked for farmers in the Milroy and Ada MN areas before being drafted into the Army in November 1964. He served in Berlin during the cold war era at the stockade and was discharged in November 1966.  After his military service John started his career driving truck hauling ready mix, then moving to semi-trucks hauling cattle, feed, and fertilizer. John took a job driving a road grader, retiring at 79 years old after working for TNT Construction for more than 20 years, blading township roads.  John loved gardening, processing and smoking meat, collecting farm toys, especially John Deere tractors, and attending farm toy shows and swap meets. He was often seen driving around Echo with his Kubota tractor or with Donna in their John Deere golf cart.  John had five children born into his first marriage and later in life he met and married his mail-order bride and best friend Donna (Will) Hennager on December 29, 1997.

John leaves to mourn his passing his wife Donna, sons Jody and Phillip (Jana Fitzgerald) and daughters Shannon (Mike) Mannz and Jeanie Bromenshenkel (Todd Rooney), stepsons Ryan (Daniele) Hennager, Joshua (Lisa) Hennager, and Aaron Hennager, 22 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren, sisters Katie Wagner, Margaret (Joan) Visser, Mary (Ronald) Revier; sister-in-law Dianne (Clint) Hillius; brother-in-law Jeffrey Will; and many nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents, son Peter, grandson Dakotah, great grandson Johnathan, and three brothers-in-law, James Wagner Sr. Robert Visser, and Ronald (Eileen) Will.