Allen Sorenson

Allen Sorenson, 89, of Spencer, formerly of Sioux Rapids, died Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 at Spencer Municipal Hospital.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Sept. 23, at 10:30 a.m. at First United Church in Sioux Rapids. Burial will follow in Lone Tree Cemetery in Sioux Rapids. Sliefert Funeral Home in Sioux Rapids is in charge of the arrangements.

Allen Lee Sorenson was born nearly 90 years ago on Nov. 5, 1916 to Thelma (Wing) and Sigurd Sorenson. Allen graduated from Highview in 1944.

On Aug. 17, 1947 Allen took the hand of Gayla Mae Hanson at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Rapids. To this union, they were blessed with two children. In 1948, Rebecca Ruth and in 1952, Robert Allen.

Allen and Gayla made their home in rural Linn Grove while the kids were young both working at Highview School.  Their 69 years of marriage was filled with many jobs for Allen.  Allen was a person who enjoyed talking to people and working with his hands. Allen helped on the family farm south of Linn Grove, worked as a janitor at Highview, sold life insurance, was a traveling sales person for Wynn’s Friction Proofing, and worked on appliances. His pride and joy came when he purchased the hardware store in Sioux Rapids in 1968, where not only did he have all the nuts and bolts you needed, he was a very talented electrician and plumber. It was not unusual for the house phone to ring in the middle of the night and Allen was up and on his way to help someone with their furnace that was out. Sorenson Hardware was a staple of Sioux Rapids through the early 2000s.  Allen’s son, Robert, worked at the store in the early years, and later on, Allen brought in his son-in-law, James, and grandson, John, to help with the service calls. In 2004, Gayla convinced Allen it was time to retire from the hardware store, and converted their home into a small bed and breakfast so that they could continue to entertain people and share the stories of the people of the community. 

Allen was a 50 year member of Enterprise Lodge of Sioux Rapids and Buena Vista Chapter of the Eastern Star.  He was the Past Master of Enterprise Lodge Sioux Rapids and was the secretary for the last few decades. He was the Past Patron of the Buena Vista Chapter of OES Sioux Rapids. Allen actively supported both organizations until he could no longer climb the steps to attend meetings.  Allen belonged to other Masonic bodies including the Tall Corn Study group, Commandary, Royal Arch Masons and White Shrine.

Allen was an amazing historian, he knew more about the founders of Sioux Rapids than most historical books.  Allen took on a task to learn about the Vikings and their paths through Buena Vista and Clay counties. Allen mapped out the Viking rocks throughout the counties and loved to share that information with anyone from historical meetings to school classrooms. 

Allen was a very outgoing pillar of the community. Often the grandkids would introduce themselves as Allen Sorenson’s grandchild. Allen served the community as the mayor for two terms and also served on the city council numerous terms. Allen was a proud and active member of First United Church in Sioux Rapids. He served on many committees, counsels and led the choir. He was also noted for meditating during the sermon, as he described it, if you caught him with his eyes closed.

Allen always made time for his family, whether it be helping with a home fix-it project, or tutoring during those hard history or math lessons, he was always patient and kind with his family.  Allen attended as many activities as he was able from sporting events, musical performances, to recitals and plays.

If you had time for a cup of coffee, Allen had time to share some of his knowledge with you. He enjoyed talking about the past and present. Allen always had an opinion on pressing issues, and shared his view point. Allen enjoyed playing cards with a group of people or taking Gayla on in a game of cribbage. Allen enjoyed doing puzzles or any sort of word search, always keeping his mind sharp, and he never missed a rerun episode of MASH.

Once the decision was made to move to Riverview Terrace in Spencer so that medical needs could be met, Allen grasped the new faces and environment sharing stories and taking part in a variety of activities.

Allen Lee Sorenson entered into the gates of Heaven on Sept. 17, 2016.

Allen is survived by his wife of 69 years, Gayla Sorenson; one daughter and husband, Rebecca and James Fahrenkrog of Linn Grove; one son and his wife, Robert and Jeanne Sorenson of Des Moines; four grandchildren who adored him, and their spouses: Kevin and Kim Sorenson of Ames; Jen and Chris Prior of Sioux Rapids; Lisa and Nelson Dunbar of Ogden; and John and Josie Fahrenkrog of Sioux Rapids. Their joy extended to great-grandkids, donning the nick name of Papa GG – Addy, Mac, AJ Cody, Trent April, Carter Jacob, Kinnick, Bryce, Hayden; one brother, Dale and Janice Sorenson of Alta; sisters-in-law, Solveig Spears of Minneapolis, Minn.; and Diane Haburn of Nevada; along with a host of other family and friends.

Allen was preceded in death by his parents, Thelma and Sigurd Sorenson.

A father, a grandfather, a brother, a friend, a man who will be missed and remembered for a lifetime.