Darrel J Thelen Sr & Michelle K Thelen


Kansas- Darrel John Thelen Sr, age 76, and Michelle Kathryn Thelen, age 75, of Brainerd, MN and Mission, Texas, were killed in an automobile accident on May 1st, 2020. They were traveling from their winter home in Mission, Texas back to Brainerd where they have summered for the past 18 years when the accident occurred. Darrel and Michelle were originally from Staples and Brainerd, respectfully.

They are survived by daughters Kimberly (David) Tyson, Debbie Thelen; sons Darrel Jr. (goes by John) (Adelina) Thelen, Jeff Thelen as well as 13 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Darrel and Michelle met in high school and were always meant to be together. Darrel selflessly served our country in the Air Force for just over 20 years before being Honorably Discharged in 1982. Michelle was an entrepreneur, building and operating several successful small businesses over the years, from matching antique glassware and China to a successful embroidery and knitted wash cloth business where Darrel worked by her side. Darrel loved golf, hanging out, making children laugh, being social, and gabbing with everyone. Michelle was always by his side and was an avid reader, a great bargain-hunter, and absolutely loved time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They had wonderful friends both in Texas and Minnesota, who they enjoyed playing cards with, spending holiday dinners together, and just being in each other’s company. They were loving grandparents and parents, and were extremely proud of the children they raised, and the family that resulted.

They will be missed by siblings of Darrel, Terry (Ruth), Deni (Mary), Kathy (Mike), Judy Heimstead, Mary (Bill) Lenk, Cliff (Wendy), Mike (Donna), Bob, sister-in-law Shawn and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Darrel’s older brother Lonnie passed just a few months after he did. Michelle was preceded in death by her brother William Buth, and sister Janine Wold.

Private family services and burial will be held at the Minnesota Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls. Memorials preferred to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or to any veteran association.

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