Obituaries 03/16/23

Ethel Arnold, 93

Ethel Marilyn Arnold, age 93, of Howard Lake, MN, died at the Gardens of Winsted on March 6, 2023.

She was born Sept 19, 1929, to Fred and Ella Jauss in Dickinson, ND.

She was confirmed at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Dickinson on July 26, 1942, and graduated high school May 29, 1947, also in Dickinson, ND.

On October 18, 1950, she married Ralph Marvin Arnold. They had three children, Linda, Lynne, and Bruce. They were married 57 years at the time of Ralphs passing in 2008.

Ethel worked for many years at Custer Super Value in Howard Lake and Cub in Buffalo.

She is survived by daughter, Lynne (Gary); son, Bruce; and grandson, Mike.

She was proceeded in death by daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Robert Vaughn; and sister, Evelyn Zander.

A memorial service took place at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, March 11, 2023, with visitation one hour prior at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Howard Lake. Arrangements by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Howard Lake, 320-543-3401,


Brent Halonen, 31

In loving memory of Brent Allan Halonen, our beloved son, exuberant brother, proud uncle, loving cousin, nephew, grandson, and larger-than-life friend, who passed away on February 22, 2023, in Phoenix, AZ, at the age of 31. Brent was born May 14, 1991, in Outlook, Saskatchewan, Canada, to Rebecca and Keith Halonen. He arrived in this world the same way he left, in his own way.

Brent had a smile and laugh that lit up a room. He was brilliant in ways we could hardly comprehend. Brent was always passionate about something, whether it was his iconic fashion choices, or his never-ending list of hobbies, such as writing, music, collecting rocks, trinkets, baseball cards, or spying a good bargain. He was a great conversationalist and was willing to chat with ANYONE, as he never met a stranger. Brent made everyone feel as though they were an important part of his life. Brent was always trying to make the world a better place with his small acts of kindness and willingness to lend a helping hand. Brent was wise beyond his years and considered himself a free thinker. Brent had an entrepreneurial spirit and started his first business at 16. He had many side projects, hustles, and money-making schemes. Brent bravely battled with mental health/addiction for many years, but never lost his sense of humor or love for his family and friends.

Brent was a highly-spiritual being and always felt connected to a higher power. He may have moved on from this physical world, but, prior to his passing, he expressed to his brother that he wanted everyone to “remember the good times,” as he “transcends to his next adventure in the cosmic realm.” 

He is missed immensely. 

Brent is survived by his beloved parents, Rebecca and Keith Halonen, of Prescott, Arizona; siblings; Christy Halonen, Brianna Halonen, Kara (Sarah) Gaida, Janessa Halonen, Jarrett Halonen (Alanna Krug), Braeden Halonen, and Jarita Halonen (Zoe Boynton); nieces and nephews, Cade, Charlotte and Hazel Halonen, Urijah, Piper and Luna Blakstvedt, and Thea Halonen. He is also survived by his grandma, Lorraine Hillukka; aunts and uncles, Bruce and Joann Honkala, Randy and Renee Honkala, David Honkala, Neal and Jean Halonen, Perry and Melanie Halonen, Kari Halonen; also, a plethora of cousins, great aunts and uncles, friends; and Godparents, Ann Waaraniemi, Edward and Maria Ylioja, and Clayton and Maxine Ylioja.

Brent’s friends were always his chosen family. Some of his dearest friends include Austin Kesti, Matt Ojalehto, Tyler Kumpala, Josh Haapala, Scott Landa, Tyler Jones and Jacob Wuollet; cousins, Rylan, Jason, and Jared Halonen, Aaron Waaraniemi, Nick Johnson, Matt Lehtola, Garrett and Adam Lee, Jeremy Johnson, Ben Sturos, Calvin Chester, Joseph Cadle, Jason Zimmerman, Luke Hall; and many, many more. 

Brent was preceded in death by grandparents, Raymond Hillukka, Paul Halonen, and Theodore and Alice (Lovey) Honkala; as well as, Aunt Arlene Halonen, Uncle Leslie (Les) Halonen, Great Aunt Sharon (Sug) Anderson; friends, Austin and Katelyn Hill, Levi Wuollett, Wynn Haapala, and Brandon Mark (Ponyboy) Garland.

Brent found unique ways to honor them all.

The initial memorial service took place on March 11, 2023, at 4 p.m. in Prescott Valley, AZ, at the Prescott Valley LL Church, 3120 N. Mountain View Drive, Prescott Valley, Arizona 86312. Brent will then be laid to rest in Lakeview Cemetery, Buffalo, MN, with his maternal grandparents.

A celebration of life is tentatively being planned around his birthday in May of 2023 in Buffalo, MN. Details will be provided at a later date.

Arrangements entrusted to Sunrise Funeral Home.


Martha Paumen, 88

Martha C. Paumen, age 88, of Maple Lake, died Thursday, March 9, 2023, at the Buffalo Hospital.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 17, 2023, at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Maple Lake with Fr. John Meyer as the Celebrant. Visitation will be held 4-7 p.m. on Thursday and 9-10 a.m. on Friday, both at Dingmann Funeral Care Chapel in Maple Lake. A prayer service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the funeral chapel. Services will be webcast on the funeral home website.

Martha Clara Elfmann, daughter of Edwin and Olga (Bartels) Elfmann, was born on January 8, 1935, at the family farm in Chatham Township. She was the eldest of five children. Martha graduated from Maple Lake High School with the Class of 1953. After graduation, she worked for Ertels Pharmacy in Maple Lake. On January 14, 1956, she was united in marriage to Russell John Paumen at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Maple Lake. Martha became a full-time homemaker and worked part-time for Carlson Dolls in Maple Lake. They lived in St. Paul for a short time, prior to building a home in Coon Rapids. In 1966, they built their second home in Chaska. They purchased the family farm on the south side of Rock Lake in Chatham Township in 1973. Faith and family were of the utmost importance to Martha. She enjoyed gardening, fishing, going for pontoon rides, baking, crafting, camping, working on jigsaw puzzles, quilting, embroidering, and spending time with her family. She made handmade quilts for all of her grandchildren.

Martha is survived by her six children, Christa (Bill) Nagorski, of Lakeville, Alan (Linnae) Paumen, of Norwood Young America, Kurt (Kristina) Paumen, of Henderson, NV, Laurie (Joe) Geris, of Prior Lake, Sandra (James) Smith, of Elk River, and Carolyn (Blake) Johnson, of Maple Lake; 11 grandchildren, John Ingebrand, Kate Herman, Matthew Ingebrand, Rebecca Nienaber, Elisa Litfin, Ryan Geris, Jay Geris, Jared Smith, Molly Deschenes, Ben Brown, and Sara Brown; 14 great-grandchildren, Anna, Ellen, Gus, Louie, Vidya, Asha, Naveen, Irani, Eleanor, Michael, Mae, Lucas, Lyla, and Asa; brother, Edgar Elfmann; sister, Linda (Joe) Hruby; and many brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and other relatives and friends.

Martha was preceded in death by her husband, Russell Paumen; parents, Edwin and Olga (Bartels) Elfmann; granddaughter, Elizabeth Paumen; brothers, Alvin and LeRoy Elfmann; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Leonard and Muriel Paumen; sisters-in-law, Mary Ann Elfmann, Lenore Paumen, and Lavonne Paumen; and brothers-in-law, Robert Paumen, George Van Offeren, and Douglas Paumen.

Martha’s grandchildren will serve as casket bearers. Arrangements are entrusted with Dingmann Funeral Care Burial and Cremation Services of Maple Lake.

Obituary, Guestbook, Video Tribute, and Funeral Webcast online at


Gene Sorenson, 78

Gene D. Sorenson, age 78, of Waverly passed away on March 8, 2023.

He was born on September 12, 1944 in Sisseton, South Dakota the son of Oscar and Renae (Mortenson) Sorenson.

Through the years, Gene worked in the asphalt business. He enjoyed appaloosa horses. He was fond of playing pool, painting, woodworking, spending time with his family, and 4-wheeling with friends. He had a great sense of humor.

Gene is survived by his three children Chad (Martha) Sorenson of California, Nicolle Sievers of Wisconsin and Dakotah (Aaron) Grefsrud of Clearwater, Minnesota; special friend Pat Morrisette; seven grandchildren; siblings Lynn Sorenson, Mark Sorenson and Janice Tuff; many other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Michelle; his parents and sister Mary.

A visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 14th at The Peterson Chapel, Buffalo, MN 4:00-8:00 PM. Further visitation will take place one hour prior to the memorial service on Wednesday, March 15th. Memorial service will be held on Wednesday, March 15th at 11:00 AM at The Peterson Chapel, Buffalo, MN. Pastor Michael Madsen will officiate. Inurnment will be held at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Waverly, MN.

The Peterson Chapel, Buffalo, MN assisted the family with funeral arrangements. On-line condolences can be made at


Lana Vieau, 82

Lana Louise (Bailey) Vieau was born on March 18, 1940, at Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She was the only child born to her parents, James and Nola Bailey. Lana graduated from St. Louis Park High school in 1958, and from the Minnesota Business College Legal Secretarial Program in 1959. She spent some of her time during the summer months at the family cabin her parents built on Daggett Lake on the Whitefish Chain in Crosslake, Minnesota, but due to the lack of running water or indoor plumbing during the early years, would rather spend her time at Grandma Nelson’s in Cokato. She enjoyed ice skating, and from very early on had an interest in and a knack for arts, crafts, and sewing, hobbies she never let go.

Lana married Ralph H. Vieau on October 10, 1959. They had two children, Andrea Margaret Vieau and Christopher James Vieau. Unfortunately, they lost Andrea when she was eight years old, a void that was never truly filled.

After time spent in Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, and Slayton, Minnesota, the family settled on Lake Pulaski in Buffalo, Minnesota, in the fall of 1971. They made this their home for 20 years. Although Lana did work outside the home at times, and did assist in the family business when needed, her true passion was taking care of her family, something she did with great pride. Home-cooked meals were never in question, the family checkbook was balanced to the penny, and her interests during these years included boating, yard and housework, sewing, and wiener roasts with neighbors and friends down by the lake. Although she wouldn’t refuse to go out for dinner, she would much rather host a dinner party and would spend hours in the kitchen preparing hors d’oeuvres and meals. People raved about her unique and delicious selections.

In 1991, a business opportunity resulted in a move to Sun City West, Arizona. Because they had many close friends, as well as family in Minnesota, they quickly purchased a cabin on Clearwater Lake in Annandale, Minnesota. For the past 32 years, they have been fortunate enough to have spent the winter months in Arizona and the summer months in Minnesota. Lana spent much of her time sewing by hand (no sewing machine) beautiful quilts and other works of art and crafts for family, friends, and people in need. She also loved an occasional trip to the casino, enjoyed visiting antique stores, looked forward to the annual trip to southern Minnesota in search of the fall colors, and relished doing arts and crafts with her grandchildren, as well as spoiling them with Minnesota Sundaes and blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes. Her desire to continue cooking homemade meals for her family never weakened, even when a quick visit to a restaurant or hot dogs and burgers on the grill seemed much easier to all of us. We will surely miss all of her cooking, but in particular her homemade potato salad, coleslaw, and goulash.

Lana passed away peacefully at home with her husband at her side on February 25, 2023. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her and were touched by her generosity and selflessness. Lana was preceded in death by her parents, James and Nola Bailey; and daughter, Andrea Vieau. 

Survived by her loving husband of 63 years, Ralph; son, Christopher (Heather) Vieau; grandchildren, Zachary (Kailey), Nicholas, Bailey, Austin, Alexandrea, and Alayna; great-grandchild, Easton.

Funeral and a celebration of Lana’s life will take place in the spring in Minnesota.


Gayle Whitesell, 88

Gayle Marie (Jasmin) Whitesell, age 88, of Plymouth, Minnesota, passed away February 27, 2023. She grew up in Minneapolis, graduated from Washburn High and the University of Minnesota (B.A. 1955, M.A. in Library Science 1956). With husband Ashley, a family doctor (married 1957), she moved to Buffalo, MN, to raise their four children and put down roots in the community. She worked as a substitute teacher and took an active role in local culture and education, co-founding the Little Buffalo Nursery School and the Wright County Arts Association.

A dedicated champion of lifelong learning, she was a citizen activist for 30 years in community education, receiving state and national awards in this field. She was a founding member of the National Advisory Council Network for Community Education, and proudly received her Ph.D. for research in this field in 2000 at the age of 65. Her memberships include Alpha Phi Sorority, University of Minnesota Alumni Association, and Minnesota Medical Association Auxiliary.

In 1993, she and Ashley retired to Arizona, surrounded by friends old and new. They took advantage of opportunities to travel the world, touring France, Greece, Europe, the Holy Land, Bangkok, Peru, Russia, Africa, and many other destinations.

Gayle treasured the time she spent with her grandchildren when she was in Minnesota and when they traveled to Arizona. She passed on her love of reading, music, travel, creative play, and quirky fun! She had a great love for French culture, learning new words, delving into books, spontaneously dancing to organ music, singing in choir, designing kooky Christmas cards, and archiving family history. With her sharp intelligence, devilish wit, organizational skill, and personal resolve, her talents often overflowed their outlets.

 Gayle is survived by her children, Lloyd “Chip” (Gunny) Whitesell (Montreal, Canada), Tim (Nancy) Whitesell (Annandale), Heather (Ev) Whitesell (Minnetonka), and Heidi (Lisa) Whitesell (Silver Spring, Maryland); grandchildren, Erika (John) Zignego, Elise (Sam) Olson, Emeral (Tanner) Olean, Marichel (Adam) Mejia, and Julian (Kristina) Mejia; great-grandchildren, Lily Zignego, Lucy Zignego, Johnny Zignego, and Porter Olean; brother, Judd (Faye) Jasmin; sister, Merrily (Jerry) Smale; sister-in-law, Karen Whitesell; and many cousins, nephews and nieces.

She was preceded in death by husband, Lloyd “Ashley” Whitesell; parents, Paul and Mary Jasmin; sister, Judy Jorgensen; brother-in-law, Al Whitesell; and sister-in-law, Jean Jasinski. 

A celebration for Gayle’s life will be held April 14, 2023, at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 5224 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park (visitation at 10:00 a.m., service at 11:00 with lunch to follow). Her children ask that you wear purple in honor of their mom. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the University of Minnesota Foundation in support of the medical school (inquiries 612-624-3333; 800-775-2187;; or the St. George’s Episcopal Church music department fund (inquiries 952-926-1646)., Edina Chapel, 952-920-3996.



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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