A Funeral Service for Gregory R. Grahn of Roseau, MN will be held on Friday, January 22, 2021 following all MN State Covid Guidelines at Roseau Community Church at 11:00 AM. Visitation will be held at the church one hour prior to the service. Interment to be held at Spruce Cemetery at a later date.
Gregory Ronald Grahn, age 70, died on January 17, 2021 at his home in Roseau, MN. Arlene, his wife, compassionately cared for him throughout his decline until his death.
Greg was born in Roseau, MN on February 28, 1950. He was the oldest of 3 children born to Jack and Jean (Karlsson) Grahn. He grew up in Roseau and graduated from Roseau High School.
Greg’s long and varied work life began when he landed his first job at the age of five at his father’s business, OK Machine Company. He was paid $.05 per day to sweep the floor and $.25 on Saturdays to clean the bathrooms and wash windows. His duties expanded as he grew and provided valuable opportunities to develop skills he drew on throughout his life. His later duties included helping to assemble machinery, filling machines with gas and oil, checking ditch depths for the equipment operators, and finally driving a D7 Caterpillar.
From age 15-20, he raced snowmobiles for Polaris and was on the Polaris race team. He also raced in local races for his father, who was a Snow Jet snowmobile distributor. Greg later used the money he won racing to make the down payment on his farm.
Following his high school graduation, Greg left with 3 friends for a summer job in Alaska where he worked as a boat mechanic and fought fire on the northern fire lines. Greg returned from Alaska with a private pilot’s license and enrolled in trade school in Thief River Falls, MN to become an airplane mechanic.
Greg was driven by his curious nature and sense of adventure. He performed aerial aerobatics and air shows with his father for many years. Greg had an entrepreneurial spirit. He worked in and started several businesses, often at the same time. He and several others left Polaris in 1971 and formed Brutanza Engineering in Brooten, MN to build the Brut snowmobile. Brutanza was later sold to Scorpion in 1974.
Greg married Bonnie Illies in 1973. They divorced in 1977.
In 1974 Greg started Brooten Fabricating, later Farmstar, a company which built grain bodies for trucks, irrigation equipment and manure spreading equipment. In 1981, he sold the business and moved back to Roseau to farm.
In 1982 Greg married Pam Mundth and they worked together on the farm and had a custom combining business. They were blessed with two daughters, Erin and Dana. The couple later divorced.
In 1999 Greg started North American Nutrition, growing, processing and selling Nature’s Gem Premium Golden Flaxseed. When he married Arlene, she became an active partner in the business. He was an Ag aerial spray pilot for Gary Slater, Slater Spraying Service in Roseau from 1989 to 2011. He worked with Mitchell Johnson in his company, SVI from 2012 until he died, providing daily guidance most every morning.
Greg was not raised on a farm and compensated through learning and experimenting. This led him to adopt no-till farming practices after studying its advantages. He was dedicated to building and conserving the soil.
Greg was introduced to Arlene Dollentas by her older sister Belinda, who suggested they write to each other. Arlene was living in Taiwan at the time and they corresponded by mail off and on for several years. In 1999, Greg traveled to the Philippines to meet Arlene. They were married in June 2001 in Roosevelt, MN. Arlene’s love and help transformed Greg and together they formed a strong team and family. They were blessed with one daughter, Charlene.
Greg always knew there was a God and could see in hindsight that his life had been preserved many times, but it was not until the 1990s that Greg accepted Christ as his Savior and fully turned his life to him. He said that believing in God and trusting in him were two very different things.
Greg felt his most important legacy was his family. He loved them deeply and was proud of their accomplishments and the families they built for themselves. He was amazed by their abilities and how they had developed their talents. Greg is survived by his wife, Arlene, daughters Erin Grahn (Eric Straus), Dana (Brian) Kloeppner, and Charlene (CJ), sister, Debbie (Jim) Groves, granddaughter, Cadence Kloeppner, nephew Ben Groves, and nieces Brita (Groves) Kimble, Olivia, and Katelynn Groves. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Jean Grahn, and brother Jimmy.
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