Harris Sorensen

Harris J. Sorensen, age 96, of Fairmont, MN, passed away on Friday morning, May 24, 2019, at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont. A Celebration of Life Service for Harris will be 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 30 at Grace Lutheran Church in Fairmont.

Interment will be in Lakeside Cemetery in Fairmont with military honors provided by the Lee C. Prentice American Legion Post 36 and Martin County Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1222.

Visitation will be Wednesday, May 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Lakeview Funeral Home in Fairmont and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday.

Harris John Sorensen was born on November 27, 1922, at Ringsted, IA, the son of Axel and Alma (Nielsen) Sorensen. The family moved to a farm at Tyler, MN, where he attended Tyler High School and graduated with honors in 1940.

He was active in 4-H work and received the State of Minnesota Agricultural 4-H Award for Livestock Production in 1942. He was also a president of the Rural Youth Association in Lincoln County.

During World War II, he attended Purdue University and was commissioned as Ensign after graduating from Cornell Midshipman’s School at Cornell University in New York. Naval Duty was served aboard a destroyer mine sweeper in the Pacific and at Pearl Harbor in the District Legal Office.

He was honorably discharged in 1946. Harris was united in marriage to June Lenore Carlson in St. Paul, MN at Arlington Hills Lutheran Church on September 27, 1947.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he accepted a job at Merchants National Bank of Fargo as the first full time agriculture rep in North Dakota.

During his seven years there, he was president of the Upper Midwest 5 State Agriculture Council, national director for the Junior Chamber of Commerce, director of the Red River Valley Boy Scouts, Northwest Farm Managers Association and an active member of First Lutheran Church.

In 1954, he was promoted to vice president and cashier of the Wahpeton National Bank.  Activities included director of the Greater North Dakota Association, president of the Wahpeton Kiwanis Club, Elks Club and Golf Club.

He served as a trustee of the Bethel Lutheran Church and assisted in building a new church. The family moved to Minneota, MN, in 1960, where as president and C.E.O., he presided over the building of a new bank. He was president of the Business Club and a member of various service clubs.

In 1965, the family moved to Fairmont where children, Sandra, JoAnn, and John graduated from Fairmont High School. As president and C.E.O of First Bank Fairmont in 1967, Harris was active in community development being president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1971, director of Interlaken Golf Club, trustee of Grace Lutheran Church, Bureau 14, Fairmont Go, Fairmont Development Corp., Life-time member of V.F.W Post #1222, Lee C. Prentice American Legion Post #36, the Elks Club and former member of the Exchange Club.

Upon retirement on July 1, 1985, Harris and June spent winters in Arizona until 2006 when they returned to Fairmont full time. Harris enjoyed fishing, golfing, dancing, music, horses, boating, hunting, traveling and playing bridge.

Left to cherish his memory are his children, Sandra Sunde and her husband, Steven of St. James, MN, John Sorensen and his wife, Jennie of Fairmont, MN; and JoAnn Huss and her husband, Michael of New Ulm, MN; grandchildren, Berit (Charlie) Morse, Maren (Darren) Viland, Kristina (Eric) Sunde-Wood, Jesse Sorensen, Rebecca Sorensen, Franz Huss and Karl Huss; great-grandchildren, Grace Viland, Maggie Viland, Elliott Viland, Sheldon Wood, Annabelle Morse and William Morse; sister-in-law, Betty Swenson of Gilbert, AZ; as well as many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Harris was preceded in death by his parents, Axel and Alma Sorensen; wife, June Sorensen; brother, Harold Sorensen; sister and her husband, Helen and Robert Boulton; sister-in-law and husband, Bonnie and Elmer Odegard; brother-in-law, Roger Swenson; and nephews, Gene and Roger Boulton.

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