Eugene ‘Gene’ Sell

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Eugene “Gene” Sell, 98, of Willmar, Minnesota (formerly of Murdock) died Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at Copperleaf Senior Living in Willmar.

Mass of Christian Burial was 11:00 a.m. Friday, December 18, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Murdock with visitation one hour prior to the Mass in the church sanctuary.  Interment with military honors was in the church cemetery.  Current guidelines were followed and masks and social distancing were mandatory.  A recording will be available on the funeral home website after the Mass.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred and will be given to the Diocesan Mission at San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala.

Eugene Joseph Sell was born February 28, 1922, in Clements, Minnesota, the son of Jacob and Susan (Welter) Sell.  He grew up on a farm near Clements and attended District 86 School in rural Clements and later Morgan Public School.   Gene worked as a farm hand for both his father and neighbors. He also attended the National Youth Administration Camp in 1943 and  moved to Bremerton, Washington, where he worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard repairing battle damaged ships in the U.S. fleet.  While working at the shipyard, he was inducted into the U.S. Army.  

July, 22, 1944, he married Eileen Wenisch at the Camp Robinson Chapel in Arkansas.  Shortly after their marriage, Gene was sent to Europe to fight in World War II.  He served as an Infantryman in the First Division in France and Germany and was wounded twice during his service.  His commendations include a Purple Heart and an Oak Leaf Cluster.

Following the war, Gene and Eileen lived in Visalia, California for a year before returning to Minnesota.  Gene attended the Veterans Agriculture School.  They farmed in the Sanborn area for 10 years before purchasing their farm near Murdock.  Gene was a dairy farmer for 45 years and was dedicated to the love of his family and the work that he did, caring for their cattle and raising food for the world.  Gene and Eileen were devoted to their love of farming and worked side-by-side in their fields for all of their working lives.  They rarely left their farm for more than chore time to chore time.  Gene was ambitious, had a strong work ethic, and was a good steward of the land.  Gene retired from farming in 1998, having farmed for 52 years in total.  They moved to Benson in 2011 and later to Copperleaf Senior Living in Willmar.

Gene was an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Murdock.  He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans.  He enjoyed square dancing, polka dancing, and fishing.  He also enjoyed traveling, especially their trip to Alaska with Gene driving every mile.  In all of the ups and downs of life, he believed in and lived his faith, trusting in the Lord.  He passed that faith, his work ethic, his values, and so much more to his family.  Gene was always willing to help his family or a neighbor.  He was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and will be dearly missed by his family and friends.

Gene is survived by his wife of 76 years, Eileen of Willmar; two children: Gerald (and Teresa) Sell of Bloomington, and Judith (and Philip) Hoffer of Kerkhoven; nine grandchildren: Matthew (and Tracee) Sell, Scott (and Rachael) Sell, Rachel Sell, Maria (and Scott) Steele, Kathy (and Mike) Busick; Michael Cook, Susanna (and Brent) Miller, Eric (and Jessica) Sell, and Kari (and Nicholas) Waller; and 18 great-grandchildren.  Also surviving are two brothers: Valerius Sell of Morgan, and Kenneth (and Marilyn) Sell of Springfield; and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a son: Daniel Sell; one brother, one sister; son-in-law William E. Cook, sister-in-law Rosalyn Sell, and infant grandchildren: Kate Sell, Aaron Sell, and Kristen Sell.

Funeral arrangements were with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home, www.hafh.org.

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