Keith V. Tryggestad, age 90, of Wyoming died July 25th at home. A public visitation will be held from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM Wednesday, July 29th at Strike Life Tributes in Isanti. A private funeral will be held at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in East Bethel. A public graveside service will be held at 4:00 PM Thursday, July 30th at Hay River Lutheran Cemetery in Wheeler, Wisconsin. (Near insterection of WI #25 @ WI #64) Memorials suggested to Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church – Hard Hats, or Allina Health Hospice.
Keith Verdell Tryggestad
Born September 5, 1929, Viroqua, Wisconsin; died July 25, 2020, Wyoming, Minnesota.
Keith, “wood dweller,” was well named. Waves of grain, rows of corn, rustling leaves, towering pines: these were more beautiful to him than the waves of the sea. He was a farm boy at heart, and he never lost his love of the land. He was fortunate to own a piece of his parents’ home farm in Wisconsin, land that is still in the family.
Keith was raised to be a good man; three good women made him an even better one.
Leaving the farm shortly after marriage to Donna Stevens on September 3, 1949, the new family moved to St. Paul, where Keith eventually found stable employment with Ford Motor Company, working in the assembly plant in Highland Park. Going to night school, he became an electrician with Ford, a profession he enjoyed. Keith and Donna had five children together: David, Nancy, Gregory, Mary, and Jane. In 1959 the family (though not yet complete) purchased a home in North St. Paul, where the children thrived in a neighborhood filled with young families. There were enough kids on Navajo Road alone to fill out two pickup baseball teams.
Keith’s marriage ended in divorce in 1972. In January 1976, Keith married Alice Anderson, and lovingly welcomed her four children into the family: Jim, Karen, Mark, and Kevin. After living for a time in Robbinsdale, Keith and Alice purchased the home on Coon Lake, west of Wyoming, Minnesota. Together, they nursed each other back to a measure of emotional health and stability after the pain of divorce. Alice died of cancer in 1993.
Through grief support, Keith met Julianne Moen, whose husband, John, had also recently died of cancer. Keith married Julie on February 22, 1994, and also lovingly welcomed her children, Timothy and Barbara, into the family. To Julie’s grandchildren, Keith was “Grandpa.”
Having grown up on the farm, Keith could repair anything. Once he fixed the engine of a diesel bus along the highway on a mission trip in Monterey, Mexico, while forty-or-so fellow travelers circled the bus in prayer. In retirement, his tool shed in the pole barn was his palace. His most prized possessions were his red Ford Mustang (license plate PRSGOD) and his father’s John Deere tractor.
Keith loved to play Santa, with decades of Christmases spent with children and their spouses, and grandchildren, and even their spouses, Christmas stockings stuffed with gifts for all, his wife Alice, and later Julie, extending extravagant hospitality.
Keith was on intimate terms with his Lord, becoming a bold evangelist in his later years, even asking strangers, “Do you know Jesus?” Daily devotions were his first order of business, reading aloud to Julie and anyone else who might be visiting. He was known to often and without warning break into “How Great Thou Art,” even in public. Keith claimed the privilege of praying over holiday meals while the food was getting cold, family circling around the table, heads bowed, hands joined, by grace encircled, in love enfolded.
Blessed with good health even into their later years, Keith and Julie traveled extensively. In addition to thousands of miles over U.S. highways in the RV, they visited Norway, France, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, and Egypt. A particularly memorable Christmas photo features them seated on an enormous camel in front of an Egyptian pyramid.
Keith loved to stay active by watching his beloved Twins, Vikings and Gophers, as well as playing softball both at his church and in Arizona in his RV park league, well into his early 70’s. For years he was a member of the Hard Hats, a men’s group at church, meeting every Wednesday morning for coffee and pastries while tackling a multitude of projects.
The psalmist writes, “Three-score years and ten, and if, by reason of strength, four-score . . .” Keith made it to four-score years, and, by reason of sheer Norwegian stubbornness, more than ten more.
Keith was preceded in death by his parents, Otto and Olga of Boyceville, Wisconsin; three sisters, Ione Dana of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, Eunice Monteiro of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and Joyce Swenson of Prairie Farm, Wisconsin; two brothers, Gordon of Eleva, Wisconsin, and Wayne of Boyceville; his second wife, Alice; and his former daughter-in-law, Peggy Lawrence of Peoria, Arizona. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Julianne; first wife, Donna Tryggestad of Tomah, Wisconsin; sister, Eldoris Toycen of Colfax, Wisconsin, and sister-in-law Joyce Tryggestad of Boyceville; sons, David (Lynn) of Duluth, and Gregory (Diane) of Glendale, Arizona; daughters, Nancy Lease of Perham, Mary (Tom) Kacvinsky of Tomah, and Jane (Jerry) Trabant of Andover; step-children Jim (Suzanne Kennedy) Anderson of western U.S., Karen Anderson of Minneapolis, Mark (Sandy Phillips) Anderson of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Kevin Anderson of Minneapolis; Tim (Jody) Moen of Mounds View, and Barbara Moen and her two dogs Keith loved, Ollie and Ruby, of Minneapolis; 28 grandchildren and step-grandchildren; and 48 great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.
Burial will be in the cemetery of Hay River Lutheran Church, where Keith was confirmed and married, just south of Ridgeland, Wisconsin, not far from his parents’ home farm. He will share a burial plot with his parents and sister, Joyce.
Keith was a loving son, brother, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend, relentlessly reminding us who and Whose we are.
The family requests memorials to Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church/Hard Hats, East Bethel, Minnesota, or to Allina Health Hospice.
Rest eternal grant him, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him.