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Chrest Hamness, Strathcona MN, passed away peacefully at the age of 95 years, 11 months and 14 days on February 28, 2023 at Greenbush LifeCare Manor.
Chrest Ibenhart Hamness was born March 14, 1927 to Daniel & Hilda (Selstad) Hamness at their home in Sec. 28, Huss Twsp, rural Strathcona, Minnesota.
He has been an active member of Grace Evangelical Church his entire life, as recent as December 4th opening the Christmas program with a greeting & prayer. Grace fellowship was started in the early 1900's by the Selstad's, Chrest's maternal grandmother's family.
He walked and skied to Sunnyside School District #75 where he first learned the English language graduating in only 7 yrs. with a Roseau County Schools 8th grade diploma. Prior to school he spoke only Norwegian.
Chrest's lifelong passions have always been giving, ministry, the farm, mechanical challenges and working with his hands. He was a mechanical genius and craftsman. His uncles Tom & Ralph Hamness were his idols.
The youngest of four children, Chrest's favorite place to play was in the scrap iron pile. At age 10 he spotted an old 4 cylinder engine block with crankshaft, one piston & connecting rod in the scrap. He built a fully operating single cylinder engine after also discovering a Model T coil in the scrap creating his own version of a hit & miss ignition with the use of the coil and a hacksaw blade.
At age 13 he went to his first job working for Ralph Gjovik as an equipment operator and farmhand. In 1942 Chrest left home and started using his God given mechanical talents as service technician for Overvold Chevrolet Buick in Middle River.
1945 Chrest was drafted into the U.S. Army Engineers stationed in Hannah Germany serving in the Occupational Forces as Sargent of Heavy Equipment Motor Pool until his honorable discharge in 1947. Returning home and working with his father he began farming with a few head of livestock and growing grains on the original Hamness homestead.
Chrest married Nora Wahl of rural Greenbush in 1951. They established their family home on the Andreas’ Hamness homestead Sec. 27, Huss Twsp. where they raised their 5 children. Nora passed 68 years after marriage.
In the early 50's he began buying used cars while visiting brother Andrew in Minnetonka as a small sideline used car business in the Strathcona area to subsidize the farm. Due to financial hardship Chrest moved his family to Minnetonka in 1955. He was employed as a Research & Development job site engineer at Superior Separator (Div.of Farmhand) specializing in food handling & pneumatic conveying. Following Chrest’s resignation in 1958 he & Nora moved their family back to the farm. While farming Chrest also went to work at Schenkey Inc. for Oscar & Lawrence as fabricator machinist and mechanic building custom equipment.
1961 he & his life-long friend, Eldor Lorenson, each got into growing turkeys on their farms. Chrest was buying & developing tillable farmland also for grains. He was a turkey grower for 29 years and had beef cows. Chrest always had a heart for ministry and was instrumental in getting "The Kings Messengers" T.V. outreach ministry started in 1962 and sat on the board of directors until 1967.
He owned & operated Rupp Sales snowmobile dealership 1968-1975 located on the farm and also worked for Witcher Construction as a millwork finish carpenter during these years.
1972-1973 Chrest was one of the visionary principals in clearing the land & original developing of the Strathcona Community Club snowmobile race track. He had a very deep passion for ice oval racing and followed Wahl Bros. & the Westlund girls up until last week.
In 1985 he was instrumental in bringing Paradise Restaurant C-store and a new Post Office facility to fruition as donor and construction site co-supervisor. Most recently Chrest launched the restoration of the town’s original 1912 bank.
Chrest’s greatest joy in his life came from his family. He passed down his love for farming, working with his hands, and determination to his children. He was proud of his children and each and every grandchild, great grandchild, and great great grandchildren. It was very rare for Chrest and Nora to miss an event that their grandchildren were a part of. They attended each game, recital, race, school program, church program, graduation, and prom that they could make it to, traveling near and far. The joy he received from being a part of his family members’ lives was evident in his daily conversations with others. Chrest and Nora's legacy and greatest accomplishment was their family.
He is survived by daughters, Naomi (Allan) Zak of Thief River Falls; Marvel (Guy) Strandberg of Strathcona, Kay Prothero of Roseau; sons, Chris (Jeanie) Hamness of Roseau, and Dale (Laurie) Hamness of Strathcona; grandchildren, Robin, Scott, Sarah, Karissa, Burt, Aaron, Melissa, Crystal, Brandon, Brianna, Emily, Chelsey, Logan; also 17 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grands; sisters-in-law, Sonja Hanson of Strathcona and Phyllis Wahl of Greenbush; and several nieces & nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents; wife, Nora; brothers, Andrew Hamness & Danferd Hamness; sister Nanna Netterlund; brother-in-law, Swen Netterlund; sisters-in-law, Sally Hamness & Velma Hamness; son-in-law, John Prothero; and lifelong childhood friend Ralph Gaarde.
The funeral service for Chrest Hamness will be held Saturday, March 4th, at Grace Evangelical Church in Strathcona at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Curt Johnson officiating. Celebration of Life will be on Friday, March 3rd from 5-8 p.m. at Grace Evangelical with a special service for family and friends at 6:00 p.m.