Ernest "Ernie" Oeltjen -- Rochester

Ernest "Ernie" Carl Oeltjen, 97, died from natural causes with "Tootie" and family by his side on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, at Rochester East Health Services.

Ernest was born on Dec. 18, 1922, in Villard, Minn. He was the third oldest of 17 children born to William and Anna (Pantze) Oeltjen. He moved to southeastern Minnesota at a young age and attended country schools in the Grand Meadow area.

He moved to Rochester in 1945, where he later met Marjorie "Tootie" Nesler on April 1, 1948. They married later that year on Sept. 4, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa and have since enjoyed a 71-1/2 year fulfilling marriage.

They shared their lives together in Rochester, where they raised their two children, Scott and Holly. Ernie and Marge have been members of Grace Lutheran Church since 1958. After 27 years of service, Ernie retired from the Rochester Public Schools in 1985 as Mayo High School's head building engineer. Ernie was also a 30-year cancer survivor.

Ernie enjoyed nature, deer and turkey hunting, gardening, dancing with "Tootie," and working in his workshops. He also enjoyed making several grandfather clocks for family and friends using lumber harvested from walnut trees that he had logged himself, as well as numerous other gifts and projects that he built by hand. Ernie truly enjoyed using his skills to help other people.

He was a loving husband and father, and helped to mold us into who we are today. He liked to teach his children and grandchildren new things and continued teaching them about life, even through his last minute.

Ernie's family would like to especially thank the staff at Rochester East Health Services and Mayo Clinic Hospice for their outstanding care and compassion. We can't say enough good things about how they influenced Ernie's quality of life.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Grace Lutheran Church or Dementia Society of America,

Ernest is survived by his wife, Marjorie; son, Scott (Amy) Oeltjen of Rochester; daughter, Holly (Willie) Stefan of Lockwood, Mo.; sisters, Mary Lou Rathbun of Rochester, and Darla (Gerald) Reno of Lamar, Mo.; brothers, Albert (Karen) Oeltjen of Rochester, Melvin (Barb) Oeltjen of Wichita Falls, Texas, and Don Oeltjen of Tremble, Mo.; and two grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, six step grandchildren, and several step great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, eight brothers and three sisters.

A funeral Service will be 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14 at Grace Lutheran Church, 800 East Silver Lake Drive, Rochester. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at Grandview Memorial Gardens cemetery.

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes is honored to be serving the Oeltjen family. To leave a special memory or condolence, please visit

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