John Lillegraven

Sunday, December 10, 2023 8:53 pm

John Lillegraven, age 85, of Decorah, passed away Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, at WinnMed Hospital, Decorah, surrounded by his family.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 13, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 1638 Big Canoe Rd, Decorah, with Rev. Randy Kittelson presiding. The burial will follow at the St. John’s Locust cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Helms Funeral Home, 306 East Water St., Decorah.

In lieu of flowers, the family will appreciate donations to be made to the WinnMed Hospice program, 901 Montomery St, Decorah, IA 52101.

John Roland Lillegraven was born Oct. 16, 1938, to Roland and Hattie (Baethke) Lillegraven in Cresco, Iowa. He was confirmed at First Lutheran Church in Decorah, Iowa, and graduated from Decorah High School with the class of 1956.

On Aug. 28, 1960, John married Wanda Anderson at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Locust. To this union their one son, Paul, was born.

John worked at the Decorah Feed Store (old mill). He also worked at the Winneshiek COOP, New Concepts Feed, and Gemini until he retired in 2011.

John was a member of the Decorah Fire Department for 29 years. He joined in 1965 and retired in 1996, having held many positions including Training officer, 2nd Assistant Chief, 1st Assistant Chief, and Secretary.  He also volunteered for the Fire Department ambulance crew.

John enjoyed camping and hunting. He was an avid race car fan, having dabbled in some local stock car racing around the area with some friends and enjoyed watching from the stands with his grandkids on many weekends. John’s second home was the fire-station. He spent many mornings there having coffee and playing cards with the guys. John loved spending time with his grandkids. John and Wanda rarely missed the grandkid’s sporting events and school activities, endlessly supporting and cheering them on. John was known as a very kind man, never saying a bad thing about anyone. He was a steady and loving family man. Anyone that knew him will remember the twinkle in his eye, and the little smirk on his face, as he was brewing up a smart-aleck thing to say. He was very loved and will be missed by all.

Left to honor John’s memory are his loving wife of 63 years, Wanda. His son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Nicki Lillegraven. Grandchildren, McKinley Lillegraven and Anderson “Andy” Lillegraven. Niece and Nephews: Brian Williams, John (Stacy) Williams, and Ashely (Jonnie) Klingaman. Along with many great-nieces and nephews.

John was preceded in death by his parents, sister, and brother-in-law, Susan (Lillegraven) and Dave Williams. Father and Mother-in-law, Palmer and June (Barth) Anderson.

The family extends great appreciation and thanks to the WinnMed hospital staff, WinnMed Hospice staff, and Kathy Petersburg for the incredible care John received.


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