1940 – 2022
Lester Martin Zentner, age 81, of North Branch, Minnesota peacefully passed away on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at Encore Assisted Living in North Branch.
Lester was born on October 22, 1940 in Cass County, Minnesota to Lester and Evelena “Hemmie” (Blanchard) Zentner. He was the third of five children and only son. His family dairy farmed outside of Huntersville before moving into Menahga in the mid-1940s. He graduated from Menahga High School. Lester was united in marriage to Kathleen Munn on February 21, 1959. He began cutting meat early on and the couple moved each time there was a better opportunity. They made their home in Menahga, Parker’s Prairie, and Long Prairie before settling in North Branch in 1972. He cut meat at Nelson’s Country Market and was well-known for his fun personality and gift-of-gab. Following several years of meat-cutting, he was employed by Drywall Supply until his retirement. He then moved back to Menahga to be with his companion and life-long family friend, Bonnie Newhouse. He returned to North Branch in November 2020 to be near his family.
Lester had many interests and enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, and birdwatching. He fed any animal that strayed into the yard including cats, turkeys, and deer. He enjoyed raising chickens and sold many eggs to the Cottage House cafe in Menahga. He also enjoyed bingo and lottery games and was “still waiting to win” the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes! He was an avid Twins and Vikings fan. During his high-school years, he excelled at baseball and received an invitation to play for the Minnesota Gophers. He was later inducted into the Lakes and Pine Hall of Fame. He played baseball for the Huntersville Horseflies for many years, and then began slow-pitch softball with Lee’s Pro Shop of Pine City. Les also enjoyed watching his kids play sports. Les was a true prankster and quick-witted. Wherever he was, there was laughter. He and Kathy experienced much joy with the birth of each new grandchild – 12 in all – and spoiling them was one of his favorite pastimes.
Lester is survived by five children: Lester (Pam) of North Branch, Douglas (Pam) of Princeton, Michelle (Scott) of Forney, Texas, Michael (Martha) of Rochester, and Lisa (Dave) of North Branch. Also, left to cherish his memory are 12 grandchildren: David (Amy) Zentner, Amanda (Richard) Noaeill, Joseph Zentner, Jerad (Sarah) Ehrnriter, Randi (Andy) Kittelson, Brittany Lindstrom, Megan Ehrnriter, Ashley (Jeremy) Valentin, Douglas Zentner, Ryan (Mary) Zentner, Conor Fortuna, and Chloe Fortuna; 11 great-grandchildren, sister Connie (Carl) Johnson of St. Michael, brothers-in-law, Dick Harsha of Park Rapids and Doug (Joan) Spencer of Fargo, North Dakota, sister-in-law, Bernadette Lipkin of North Carolina and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Kathy in 2004, and his sisters, Darlene “Toby” (Melvin) Pulju, Donna Harsha, and Arlis (Dave) Kern.
Memorials are preferred to the charity of choice.
Visitation is Thursday, March 24 from 10-11 a.m. with services following at 11 a.m. at the Grandstrand Funeral Home & Cremation Service – North Branch, 6580 Main Street, North Branch. Luncheon following service at Tailgaters in North Branch.
Arrangement were entrusted to Grandstrand Funeral Home of North Branch, MN. Online condolences may be left at www.grandstrandfh.com