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February 11, 1931 ~ June 6, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old
Reuben Kleven, 92, of East Grand Forks, formerly of rural Oslo, MN, went to meet his Lord on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Valley Senior Living, Grand Forks, ND.
Reuben was born on February 11, 1931, in Oak Park Township, to Ole and Della (Bjornstad) Kleven. Older than his twin brother, Rudy, by “as long as it took,” Reuben grew up outside Alvarado, MN on the family farm. Following his graduation from Alvarado High School in 1949, Reuben went into the workforce, laboring in the summer months for local farmers and doing both concrete work and bricklaying on projects that still stand to this day. The high schools in Oslo, Alvarado, and Warren, the runway at Grand Forks AFB, and parts of I-29 all bear the mark of Reuben's hands. In addition to working for Summers Fertilizer in those years, Reuben worked winter campaigns for American Crystal Sugar. In 1967, he was hired full-time by American Crystal and enjoyed his work there for 27 years until his retirement in 1994.
On October 16, 1960, Reuben was married to Marlys Hendrickson in Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. He moved into the farmyard on which Marlys grew up and the two lived in successive houses within that yard in Higdem Township for all of their married lives. They raised three boys and he enjoyed imparting what he knew on his sons from garage projects and carpentry, to fishing and teaching them how to appreciate a car. Reuben's life revolved around being with his family. They would pack up the car and camper and head to Pine Lake to go fishing and relax-though in the beginning he owned a motor... but no boat! …Not to worry, Pine Lake always had many boats available to rent for his frequent family outings, to spend time with family, friends, and of course plenty of fish for dinner.
He was an active and faithful member of Kongsvinger Church, sitting on the Church Board and acting as cemetery sexton; a member of the Sons of Norway, Gyda Varden Lodge #21; and a member of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) ND Chapter #129. In the latter he was selected King of North Dakota: he kept his weight stable for 39 years. Reuben was a proud 100% Norwegian, enjoying family history and his genealogy club.
Reuben is survived by his wife of 62 years, Marlys, of East Grand Forks; sisters-in-law, Fern (Richard) Fleck and Angeline (LeRoy) Schultz; sons, Duane (Becky) Kleven of Mayville, ND, Robert (Debbie) of Alvarado, and Byron (Judith) of Mayville; nine grandchildren, Jonathan (Heather) Kleven, Ashley Folarin, Kirsten, Katie, Hailey, Samantha, Alexander, Samuel, and Zachary Kleven; three great-grandchildren, Caleb and Sophia Folarin, Amelia Kleven; and his nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ole and Della; in-laws, Menford and Ida Hendrickson; siblings, Bloyd (Connie) and Alpha Kleven; twin-brother, Rudy (June) Kleven; brother-in-law, Mark Lizakowski.
In Lieu of Flowers, memorials are preferred to the Kongsvinger Lutheran Church, c/o the Tree Fund: a cause close to Reuben's heart.
FUNERAL SERVICE: Monday, June 19, 2023, at 11:00 AM, in Kongsvinger Lutheran Church, Rural Oslo, MN.