Robert J. Appel, age 81, of Lake Benton, Minnesota died on Friday, August 20, 2021 at Hendricks Nursing Home in Hendricks, Minnesota. Memorial visitation will be held from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM on Sunday, August 29, 2021, at St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Lake Benton with a rosary at 5:00 PM and a prayer service at 7:00 PM. A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 AM on Monday, August 30, 2021, at the church. Inurnment will be at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery in Ivanhoe, Minnesota. Arrangements have been entrusted to Hartquist Funeral Home – Lake Benton Chapel.
Robert John Appel was born on December 11, 1939, to Leo and Elizabeth (Stodden) Appel at their home outside of Storden, Great Bend Township in Cottonwood County, Minnesota. The family moved to a farm in Ivanhoe, Minnesota where he was raised and learned the meaning of hard work at a young age. When he was in the first grade, his Dad gave him a cow that he had to milk by hand every day. Each season brought with it different chores. In the summer, he cultivated corn and cut hay. In the winter, he continued taking care of the animals and doing what was needed around the farm. Robert had fond childhood memories of family horseback rides on Sundays and hunting. He also attended Boy Scout Camp for a week each summer at Lake Shetek. He played football and ran track in high school. Robert attended Arco School from 1st through 8th grade and then attended Ivanhoe High School, graduating with the class of 1958. Following school, he helped on the farm and later moved to the Minneapolis area. While in the cities, he was working as a mechanic when he met his future bride, Sharon Marie Volk. The couple was married on November 9, 1963. They lived in Minneapolis for a short time before moving to Des Moines, Iowa, where Robert helped Sharon’s Dad side houses. In 1965, the young couple moved to Lake Benton, Minnesota where they eventually settled at Honey Corner (corner of Hwy 75 and Hwy 13) in 1971. Their union was blessed with three children, Lisa, Laura, and Angela. Robert worked as a heavy equipment operator, running a road grader for Larry Sterzinger Road Construction Company until 1972. He then began renting out land to farm and starting raising hogs. He also worked as an Amway Sales Representative for several years. Robert retired around 2008. On July 6, 2021, Robert moved to the Hendricks Nursing Home in Hendricks, Minnesota where he died on Friday, August 20, 2021, at the age of 81 years, eight months, and nine days. Robert was a member of St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Lake Benton, Minnesota where he enjoyed helping with the annual fall festival, served on the Knights of Columbus, Holy Redeemer Council No. 1621, and was a Grand Knight. He was an avid bowler. He enjoyed fishing, gardening, planting several varieties of fruit trees, and growing grapes. He made wine, pressed apples for cider and juice, and canned and froze his garden produce. He also enjoyed playing chess and putting puzzles together.
Robert is lovingly remembered by his children, Lisa (Randall) Palmer of Kansas City, MO, Laura (Brian) Nelsen of Randolph, MN, and Angela (Eric) Herschberger of Montrose, MN; eight grandchildren, Justin Thooft, Taylor Thooft, Chelsey (Herschberger) Randall, Jordan Herschberger, Danielle Benson, Jessica (Benson) Swarts, Collin Craig, Marcus Nelsen, and Jaxson Nelsen; three great-grandchildren, Adalaine and Vivian Randall, and Atlas Swarts; siblings, Carol Lietz of St. Peter, MN, James Appel of Lake Benton, MN, Donald Appel of Cape Coral, FL, Grace Odens of Osseo, MN, Gary (Shelly) Appel of New Franklin, MO, and Marian (Gerry) Carpenter of Dawson, MN; and other family. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, LaVerne, Leonard, Raymond, and John “Jack” Appel; sister, Lois Appel; and infant, Angel.
Memorials may be directed to the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), 4249 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55409.