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Melburne Burdette Fjerkenstad was born on November 3, 1927, on the family farm near Boyd, MN, the youngest boy of John and Olga (Grefsrud) Fjerkenstad. He was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boyd, and he attended school in the Boyd area while also working on his family’s farm before enlisting in the Air Force in 1945. When in the service, Melburne served as an air traffic controller while stationed in Japan. Following his honorable discharge, Melburne continued doing what he knew and loved—farming. On October 29, 1949, Melburne and Arlene Beatrice Mauland were united in marriage in Clarkfield and to this union 5 children were born. Melburne and Arlene were married for 52 years until her death in 2002. In 2003 Melburne married Clarice Larson and they were married for 12 years.
Throughout his life, Melburne was devoted to farming, refusing to hang it up until after his last combine harvest at the age of 89. He also did custom baling and spraying and even ran the local pool hall for several years where he was known for making the best popcorn. A man of many diverse yet perhaps unknown talents, Melburne was very adept at playing the piano by ear, he enjoyed dancing, and could also roller skate and even ride bicycle backwards. He was an avid card player always willing to engage with friends or family. It seems like Melburne could remember every joke he ever heard and was always able to come up with several jokes to fit any occasion. Also, Melburne was known for his ability to tell stories about his past and all the people he knew over the years and his memory and wit were with him thru his ending days.
Melburne was a people person and will especially be remembered for his loyalty and devotion to the community and was very active in the Boyd American Legion, Boyd Booster Club, and VFW. He was also an active, life-long member of Trinity Lutheran Church and served as president, trustee, and deacon. Overall, Melburne was a giver and lived what it meant to be a small-town neighbor.
On Monday, February 6, 2023, having reached the wise age of 95, Melburne passed away surrounded by his loving family at the Johnson Memorial Health Services Care Center in Dawson. He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Olga Fjerkenstad; first wife, Arlene; second wife, Clarice, and eight siblings.
Melburne is survived by his children: Jerry (Marta Roth) Fjerkenstad, Jimmy (Brian Jones) Fjerkenstad, Sally (David) Stratmoen, Randy (Julie) Fjerkenstad, and Marcy (Jon) Bork; grandchildren, Mikaela (Kaden) Zych, Dillon Bork, Jessica (Ryan) Halvorson, James Stratmoen, Derek (Holly) Fjerkenstad, Jana Fjerkenstad, Angelica Fjerkenstad, Amelia Fjerkenstad-Hanson, and Josiah (Grace Harnois) Fjerkenstad-Hanson; two great-grandchildren, Ella and Emery Halvorson and two more on the way; brother-in-law, Arvid “Stub” Mauland; sister-in-law, Joyce Fjerkenstad, and six step-children: Dian, Judy, Curtis, Dean, Lorraine, Ray, and their families.
Visitation will be on Monday, February 13th, at the J.H. Lynner Funeral Home in Clarkfield from 5-7 PM with a prayer service beginning at 6:30 PM. A funeral service with military honors will be held on Tuesday, February 14th at 11 AM at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boyd, with visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. A private interment will take place in Trinity Lutheran Cemetery at a later date. Memorials can be made to Carris Health-Rice Hospice, Trinity Lutheran Church of Boyd, or the American Heart Association.