Michael Anthony Guenther, age 52, of Mahnomen, MN, passed away on December 9, 2013, under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley and surrounded by loved ones.
Mike was born on September 27, 1961, in Detroit Lakes, MN. He was the sixth child, and first son, of George and Patricia (Jenkins) Guenther. He was raised on the family farm east of Mahnomen with his five sisters and three brothers.
Mike attended school in Mahnomen through his junior year and achieved his GED. He earned his degree in Agricultural Technology at Detroit Lakes Vo-Tech. At age 17, Mike began driving truck for Winter Truck Line. After four years of driving for Winter Truck Line, Mike purchased his own truck at age 21. He drove over-the-road until he secured a position with Wild Rice Electric in Mahnomen as a lineman in January of 1985.
Mike met his wife-to-be, Robin Wardlow, in Moorhead, MN, in 1982. They were united in marriage on December 2, 1983. One of Mike's goals was to make it to their 30th wedding anniversary, which he did. On April 5, 1985, Mike and Robin were graced with their first son, Derek John. Two months after Derek's arrival, Mike and Robin found they were expecting again and on March 9, 1986, Nicholas George joined the family. In 1987, Mike and Robin bought their first family home in Mahnomen, making Mahnomen their permanent home. In 1989, Mike bought the family farm and worked it while continuing his employment with Wild Rice Electric. For many years, he would get up, go to work at Wild Rice, come home long enough to drop off his lunch box and thermos before heading out to the farm, only to return well after dark. Mike ate a lot of sandwiches during this time! On December 3, 1989, Mike and Robin welcomed their third child, Jennifer Kay.
On October 4, 1996, Mike suffered a major heart attack that damaged 1/3 of his heart. He was unable to continue his work as a lineman. The house in town was sold and the family relocated to the Guenther farmstead. Mike continued farming after he regained enough health to do so. In 2001, he secured the road maintenance contract with Mahnomen County. After eight years and his health declining, he was unable to continue with road maintenance or farming, so Mike’s brother, Paul, and son, Nick, took over. On December 2, 2009, Mike received an LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device). He was declared disabled in 2010, and the farmland was then rented out.
Between Mike's heart disease, diabetes, infections, gastric bleeding, strokes and many other ailments, Mike fought hard and well to stay with us as long as he was able. "It's the combination of German and Irish blood," he used to say with a smile. "I'm too stubborn to go!"
Mike loved hunting, fishing, sitting around the camp fire watching the stars, spending time in the shop, and four-wheeling in the woods but his greatest loves were his grandchildren.
Mike is survived by his mother, Pat of Mahnomen; wife, Robin of Mahnomen; sons, Derek (Missy) and Nicholas both of St. Paul, MN; daughter, Jennifer (Cordell) Aldinger of Jamestown, ND; three grandchildren: Nicholas, Alexia, and Carter; four sisters: Debbie (Cory) Larson of Bemidji, MN, Judy (Keith) Francis of Twin Valley, MN, Sandra (Jay) Jurina of Mahnomen, MN; Joyce Guenther and fiancé, Charles Grieger of Detroit Lakes, MN; three brothers: Paul, Danny (Lisa) and Richard, all of Mahnomen, and many nieces and nephews. Mike was preceded in death by his father, George; sister, Shirley; and grandparents, Gustavis & Christine Guenther and Paul & Helen Jenkins.
Funeral Services will be held Friday, December 13, 2013, at 2 p.m. at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Mahnomen. Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 12, 2013, from 5-7 p.m. with a 6:30 p.m. Prayer Service at the church
Interment will be held at St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery, Mahnomen.