Obituaries » Noel K. Estenson

Noel K. Estenson

December 26, 1938 - December 11, 2019

U.S. Veteran

Service Date: December 30, 2019

Funeral Home Henry W. Anderson Mortuary, Apple Valley

Service Location Lord of Life Lutheran Church

Visitation from 3-5pm on Sun., Dec. 29, 2019 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 16200 Dodd Ln., Lakeville. Celebration of Life at 11am on Mon., Dec. 30, 2019 also at Lord of Life Lutheran with visitation one hour prior.

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Estenson, Noel K.

Age 80 of Lakeville, passed away peacefully on Dec. 11, 2019 at home surrounded by his family. Preceded in death by his parents, Ordean and Helen (Charais); his infant granddaughter and brothers, Wayne and Lionel. Survived by his loving wife of nearly 60 years, Ethel; children, Keith (Susan), Craig (Sharon), Kim (Scott) Amundson and Dennis (Barb); 12 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; sister, Kate (Steve) Hedman; sisters-in-law, Carol (Estenson) Malm & Bernie Estenson; many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.

Raised on a Climax, MN potato and grain farm, Noel’s goal was to follow his local cooperative manager uncle into the co-op world. At North Dakota State University, where he earned a degree in agriculture and economics, he served as both student body president and president of the school’s Co-op House. He joined the Cenex credit department immediately after his 1963 Army discharge and rose through the company’s finance ranks, becoming senior Vice President of petroleum and finance in 1981. Noel was named Cenex’s president and CEO in August 1987 during the depths of an agricultural economic crisis and made strengthening the company’s performance and balance sheet his priority. He was a key player in efforts to reduce co-op duplication and generate cost savings through the ground-breaking Cenex/Land O’ Lakes joint venture. He then helped spearhead the 1998 merger that created CHS Inc., the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperative, and served as its first CEO.

Noel retired in 2000 and served for many years on the board for Thrivant Mutual Funds. He also authored the book “Be Still and Know: Incredible Hunches from Your Creator” on the power of intuition. He was inducted into the National Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2010 and was recognized with the National Farmers Union’s  Meritorious Service Award, an Honorary American FFA Degree and the Cooperative Communicators Association’s CEO Outstanding Communicator recognition.

Noel was a loving family man and a friend to everyone he met. He loved the outdoors and  spent countless days camping or skiing with his family and the “camping group”. Later in life he became passionate about golf and you’d find him out on the course with family and friends on a beautiful or not-so-beautiful day. He had many wonderful family times at his lake homes in Cumberland, WI & later in Hayward, WI where he enjoyed cross country skiing, water skiing, boating & writing his book. There was almost always a game of Whist, 500 or Hearts to be had in the evenings when Noel’s family was around him. He also spent many nights out old-time dancing with family and friends or just in the kitchen at home with his wife.

Noel touched many hearts and will be missed by everyone who was part of his life.

Visitation from 3-5pm on Sun., Dec. 29, 2019 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 16200 Dodd Ln., Lakeville. Celebration of Life at 11am on Mon., Dec. 30, 2019 also at Lord of Life Lutheran with visitation one hour prior. Interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorials preferred to Lord of Life Lutheran Church.