Owen Kenneth Bjerkness, age 55, of Brainerd, Minn., died Friday April 3, 2009, at his home.
Owen was born on Sept. 28, 1953, in Jersey City, N.J., to Lois and Ken Bjerkness. He graduated from Brainerd High School in 1971. On June 23, 1973, he was united in marriage to Caralee Schellin at First Lutheran Church in Brainerd. On December 30, 1977, son Michael was born and daughter Jamie on August 21, 1982.
Following high school, Owen worked for Scorpion Snowmobiles and Bunny Bread. On July 13, 1977, Owen went to work for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railroad. Owen proudly worked at the railroad for the past 31 years. Owen served on the Board of Directors for the Burlington Northern Credit Union and is a member of First Lutheran Church.
Owen was an active outdoorsman. He was an avid fisherman, hunter, and snowmobile enthusiast. Owen taught many children to hunt and fish, and he cherished spending pheasant hunting season with his son Mike and Uncle Pedar.
Owen was blessed by his daughter Jamie with three beautiful grandchildren and loved being a grandpa. His passion for sports was evident in his endeavors. Owen played co-rec softball with his wife, raced snowmobiles, and was the crew chief for the 3T race team. Motorcycle and boat rides with Caralee were typical weekend events when the weather was nice. He loved to have breakfast at the Westside Cafe and rarely missed a Taco Tuesday with his BN buddies. He was a jack-of-all-trades and could fix and build like none other. In 1975, he built the home where he enjoyed having meals with his entire family. He will be remembered for having a bright smile, being a great conversationalist, and looking out for others.
Owen is survived by his wife, Caralee; one son, Michael (Kristi) Bjerkness of Brainerd; one daughter, Jamie (Jeremy) Neyens of Brainerd; and three grandchildren, Austin, Kloi, and Madison Neyens; his mother, Lois Wardell of Venice, Fla.; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Roy and Lucille Schellin of Brainerd; three brothers, Keith (Sandy) Bjerkness of Rochester, Minn., Keith "Whitey" Bjerkness of Little Falls, Minn., Neil Case of San Francisco, Calif.; three sisters, Lois Ann Loughran of Point Pleasant, N.J., Holly McGee of Venice, Fla., Debra Case of Bemidji, Minn.
He is preceded in death by his beloved father Kenny Bjerkness and step-mother Emily.
Funeral Services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at First Lutheran Church in Brainerd with Pastor Kristin Oltmann officiating. Visitation will be 3:30-8 p.m. Monday at Nelson-Doran Funeral Home in Brainerd and continue at the church Tuesday the hour before services.
Arrangements by Nelson-Doran Funeral Home, Brainerd.
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