On November 26, 2017 John K. Friesen of Rayville, Missouri was transformed from his earthly life to a place Jesus had reserved for him in heaven. To God be the Glory!
John was born in Mountain Lake, Minnesota on April 5, 1940 to John A. and Katie (Rahn) Friesen and was the thirteenth of fourteen children. He therefore considered the number 13 to be his lucky number! He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 35 years, Elna (Reedholm); seven children, Lynda Byerly (Mary), Jonna Schultz, Rick Byerly (Sue), Kim McAndrews (Mark), Londa Bilski (Dennis), Tony Byerly (Kari), and Ryan Friesen (Theresa); 17 grandchildren,11 great-grandchildren and nine surviving siblings.
As a salesman, John and Ellie traveled most highways from Dubuque, Iowa to Kansas City and west to the Colorado border. He loved the open countryside and the beauty of God’s creation. From the time he got his first job as a baker’s helper in high school, John’s love of baking never left him which led to his ownership of three bakery and donut shop businesses during his career. Many people will associate John with his Mister Donut shops, his first in Faribault, MN, or years later the one in Excelsior Springs, MO, as he loved to talk to his customers. Each business or enterprise in which John endeavored, allowed him to engage with people. John never met a stranger! In addition, he loved fresh bread and delighted in making that as well as donuts for his many appreciative grandchildren when they came to visit. Other enjoyments included visiting his children and grandchildren, singing in the church choir, phone calls from his children, early morning devotions with Ellie and mowing grass with the John Deere tractor.
Rarely seen without his cup of coffee in hand, John was a man of devout faith, great strength of character, a deep well of love in his heart, a solid devotion to his family and friends and the wisdom to offer comfort, advice and/or sage life lessons which were given to many seeking his guidance. A humble man, he could not see these gifts of his or how tremendously helpful he was to all who knew him. Nevertheless, John would never shy away from lending a hand or heartfelt word to those in need of one or the other.
John’s love of the land and his family guided his creation of a hobby farm in which he envisioned his grandchildren enjoying many animals. Growing up, each would come to enjoy riding horses, playing with cats and dogs, petting the llamas, chasing the chickens, marveling at Jacob sheep and brightening at the sight of the peacocks. Beyond this, they drove the golf cart, built a tree house, wandered the fields and along the stream or peddled the boat in the pond. Not only did he build a playground of wonderment for his family, he built a foundation for love, character, morality and beauty.
A Celebration of Life will be given in John’s honor on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at Barbee Memorial Presbyterian Church, 501 Tiger Drive in Excelsior Springs, MO 64024 at 3:00 p.m., with fellowship dinner immediately following.
Having a great love for his church family and being very active with many of its organizations, memorials preferred to Barbee Memorial Presbyterian Church with a memo notation of Noah’s Ark Preschool Scholarship Fund.
Our Sincere Condolences
Dear Elna and Family…
It is with a sad heart that we send our caring thoughts and sympathy to you all. John has been a friend for almost 50 years and even though we haven’t seen him in person for many years, we treasure the friendship we had. We have been so sorry that he had to suffer through cancer the last couple of years, but I am sure he was up to the challenge.
Elna, you were a perfect fit for John and I am sure you have wonderful memories over the years. We can still see him at the bakery in Faribault … so glad he never lost his love of baking. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all … Wish we were closer in distance so we could attend the celebration of his life … We will be there in spirit!
God’s Blessings to You All.
Love, Jerry and Barb Cornell
Since i will be out of state during the celebration of life, i just wanted to say i always enjoyed spending time with John. I remember when he had the doughnut shop and I’d stop by on my way into work occasionally and chat and all the times we talked at church. He will be greatly missed, but I am thankful for the time I got to spend with him.
Extending deepest sympathy and caring thoughts and prayers.
Elna, We were sad to hear of John’s passing. We are so sorry as we know he’ll be missed. We share stories of our time as neighbors all the time and stories of you and he always bring smiles to our and the kids faces from the dogs playing toss with the kittens to us baby sitting the llamas to Korbin jumping on and riding Bob before he was broke. John was always so welcoming and had a place in the kids lives and will always have a place in our hearts. Please know we are lifting you and the family up in prayer
Love, The Miller’s
Friesen family, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Helen Voelker Koch
I wish to express my heartfelt condolences go out to Elna and the John K. Friesen family.
I also want to pay tribute to this wonderful man I was privileged to call Uncle. When I was a child, John was one of the “young” uncles. I so well remember the twinkle in his eye and his ready smile. He conveyed both a loving spirit and a love of life. As an adult, I grew to know his gentle spirit and wise insights – as well as his wonderful sense of humor and love for all.
I has occurred to me that there will be a “size 13” hole in the John A. and Katie Friesen family fabric – but then I thought, it is not really a hole, it is a pocket in which all the wonderful memories are stored and able to be brought out and enjoyed.
So glad for the many memories to cherish.
Lavonne Friesen Pelsy
Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I remember when you lived next door in Faribault and we were permanent fixtures at each others houses for a while. Thinking of you at this difficult time.
Barb Tuthill Stadler