Saturday, December 14, 2019

Jon Tollefson, 89, Mantorville

Jon Russell Tollefson, 89, of Mantorville passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 at Seasons Hospice Rochester.

Jon was born on July 5, 1930 in Kasson to Howard and Dorothy Tollefson (Lindberg). He was graduated from Kasson High School in 1948. After high school, he briefly attended St. Olaf College until he was drafted into the U.S Army. He served for two years and was stationed in Japan during the Korean War. Upon completing his service, Jon returned to the family business, the Kasson & Mantorville Telephone Company. Jon served as president of the company until his retirement in 1993.

Jon met nurse Glenda “Dee” Tollefson (Minske) during a brief hospital stay, and they were married on Oct. 14, 1956 in New Richland. Jon and Dee eventually purchased an acreage in rural Mantorville where they raised their three children. 

Jon’s greatest joy and accomplishments were his family, land, the telephone company and community. During his working years, Jon served on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Telephone Association (MTA), MEANS, IES, Hiawatha Cellular and numerous other industry committees. 

Jon believed in serving and giving back to the community that supported him. He served as a volunteer firefighter, was active in the Kasson Chamber, Kasson and Dodge County EDA’s, Zumbro Valley Golf Course, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Dodge County Historical Society, KM Snowdrifters, Masons and served on the Kasson Cemetery Board for over 35 years, computerizing all the records. As a great historian, he believed in keeping history alive.  He was active in restoring the Kasson Water Tower and KARE, which was a group trying to save the Old Kasson School Building. In 1988, he was Kasson’s Business Person of the Year.

Jon was most content when he was doing things with and for his family. He enjoyed fishing trips to Kabetogama, snowmobiling and working in the woods. One of his notable ventures was tapping trees to make Masten Branch Maple syrup. Then, after purchasing adjacent farmland, he and Dee restored the land to its native origin of prairie grass and wildflowers, planted over 3,000 trees and built a pond.

In his later years, he would often be seen at Daniels Restaurant enjoying time with his daily coffee group. If not there, he could be found driving his golf cart around town; always picking up trash. He was an avid coin collector and was always willing to help others with their coins.

Jon is survived by his wife of nearly 64 years, Dee; three children, Paul of Tacoma, Wash., Mary Ehmke (Diane Banach) of Mantorville and Beth Tollefson of Mantorville; five grandchildren, Jon Ehmke, Broc Tollefson, Derek (Ashley) Ehmke, Brittany (Zeb) Henaman and Amanda Banach, along with eight great-grandchildren.

Jon was preceded in death by his parents Howard and Dorothy Tollefson, his brother Bob (Grog) Tollefson and granddaughter Rachel Ehmke.

Jon donated his body to Mayo Clinic.  A Service of Remembrance was held on Friday, Oct. 4 at St John’s Lutheran Church, Kasson with the Rev. Canon James C. Zotalis and the Ven. Canon Benjamin I. Scott of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Kasson officiating.  

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the following organizations:  Dodge County Historical Society, St Peter’s Episcopal Church, Kasson - “A Place at the Table”, Zumbro Valley Golf Course or the American Cancer Society.

Dibble Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Kasson is in charge of arrangements.  Online condolences may be shared at


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Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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