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Werner Michael Zent passed away peacefully on Sunday, 22 April, 2018 in Albert Lea, MN. His loving wife and family stayed by his bedside up to his final moments. Werner was born June 28th, 1927 in a two-room farm house in Adams County, North Dakota to Raphael and Mary (Renner) Zent. He was the sixth oldest in a family of 16 – eight girls and eight boys. After courting the love of his life Velma Eileen Strampher for one year they married on June 16, 1952. Werner and Velma created a beautiful life on the rugged and often unforgiving prairies of North Dakota. As a devoted team they worked tirelessly at farming, ranching and raising a large family of eight. In his later years after retiring from a successful and fulfilling farm life, he and Velma moved to Clarks Grove, MN where he owned and operated a flourishing woodworking shop. His customers were overcome with joy when he was able to bring their precious family heirlooms back to life.
Werner was not only a skilled carpenter, he was also an excellent mechanic and always took great care and pride in keeping everything he owned like new. Values that Dad possessed and we admired most were his perseverance and honor. He was known to say, “if you are going to do a job, do it right”, and “finish what you start”. His strong hands, perpetually calloused and chapped, were a physical testament to his hard work ethic. As children we always marveled at “those” hands and were blessed to be able to hold them during his last days with us. Werner embodied the true pioneer man; he always worked hard, loved his family, took time to enjoy the fruits of his labors and never forgot to be grateful to God for all his blessings.
Werner leaves us with many wonderful thoughts and memories; his wonderful smile, twinkling blue eyes and sly witty humor are what we will carry in our hearts and minds forever. Werner loved to have fun and knew how to relax. He loved to nap and always took time out of his busy day to rest and rejuvenate. We believe it is one reason he lived such a full and healthy life. He also cherished spending time with Velma, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Some of the things that brought him joy were Florida vacations, walking on the beach searching for the perfect sea shell, fishing and boating. Werner was dedicated to his large family of brothers and sisters, always staying in touch over long distances. He brought great energy and enthusiasm to their long conversations and debates on any subject, especially farming and politics. Family reunions and gatherings were special times for him and he was always very attentive to his nieces and nephews. Most can agree that Werner could “really” boogie woogie on the dance floor.
So long for now beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and neighbor. The crops are now in. You have made it home. A part of us all goes with you. Your spirit and strength will remain within us all. We are deeply grateful for having you in our lives and all the gifts you have given us. Werner you followed the grain in your own wood.
Werner is survived by his “Only Sunshine” and wife Velma, seven children Valerie Budd (Paul), Howard Zent (Jenny), Renee Ruble (Harry), Richard Zent (Gwen), Donald Zent (Priscilla), Jacqueline Zent (Joseph), Deanna Zent, fourteen grandchildren, fifteen great grandchildren, sisters Delores Chambers, Eleanor Fortuna, and Marie Dempsey.
He is preceded in death by daughter Kimberly Zent, son in-law Daniel McDowell, parents Raphael and Mary, sisters Eunice, Lillian, Laura, Elsie, and Irene, brothers Kenneth, Ira, Clarence, Gerald, Curtis, Raymond and Arnold.
Services will be held Saturday, May 5, at 1030 am at St. Theodore Catholic Church, 315 E. Clark Street, Albert Lea, MN 56007. Visitation will be one-hour prior.
The family wishes to thank St. John’s Lutheran Home and MCHS Albert Lea Hospice for their exemplary care, kindness and love they showed to Werner.
In leu of flowers the family wishes that donations be made to your favorite charity in Werner’s memory.