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Noel Lawrence Phifer, 90, of Glencoe

Noel Phifer
Noel Lawrence Phifer, 90, of Glencoe, died Monday, April 11, 2016, at his home.
 
Funeral services were held Friday, April 15, at Christ Lutheran Church in Glencoe with the Rev. Katherine Rood officiating. Twyla Kirkeby was the organist. Soloist Randy Wilson sang “The Lord’s Prayer.” Congregational hymns were “How Great Thou Art,” “Amazing Grace” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Special music by Cara, Cayla and Kendra Kluver was “Into the West.”
 
Military honors were by Glencoe VFW Post 5102. Casket bearers were middle school staff. Interment was in the Glencoe City Cemetery.
Noel Lawrence Phifer was born June 29, 1925, to Joseph and Ora (Kloos) Phifer in Donnelly, Minnesota, the youngest of six children. He was baptized on July 19, 1925, at St. John’s American Lutheran Church in Donnelly by the Rev. Gustav A. Pilgrim, and confirmed at the same church on June 12, 1938, by the Rev. C.J. Kumpf. He received his elementary education in Donnelly and secondary education in Alberta, Minnesota, graduating in 1943.
 
Following graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served 33 months. He went through boot camp in San Diego, California, and took his combat training in communications at Camp Pendleton. He was shipped overseas to Pearl Harbor, the Midway Islands for 15 months, back to Pearl Harbor, then on to Okinawa and Guam, serving a total of 27 months in the Pacific Theatre, and his last six months in China. He was honorably discharged in April 1946. After being discharged, he worked at various jobs until he attended the College of Commerce in Minneapolis and received an accounting degree. He then attended St. Cloud State Teachers College, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951 with majors in physical education and business. He received his master’s degree in school administration at South Dakota State University in 1965.
 
Mr. Phifer’s first teaching and coaching position was in Stewart in 1951. He also taught in Alberta, coached and taught in Butterfield and returned to Stewart as the high school principal in 1964. In 1968, he came to Glencoe, where he started one of the first middle schools in the state of Minnesota and served as the principal until his retirement in 1984. In the years between Stewart and Butterfield, he also worked as a cashier at the First State Bank of Stewart, and sold Lutheran Brotherhood insurance, living in Olivia and Bird Island, before returning to his true love of teaching and coaching.
 
On May 29, 1955, he married Beverly Miller at St. Paul’s American Lutheran Church in Stewart. This union was blessed with three children, Noel Jr. “Ace,” Kimberly and Scott. The couple enjoyed 60 years of married life and did everything together.
 
Mr. Phifer was a member of the Lutheran church in Butterfield; St. Paul’s Lutheran in Stewart, where he taught Sunday school for the high school classes; Christ Lutheran in Glencoe, where he taught confirmation classes, served as a lay minister and was on the church council. He served on the hospital board, library board and Pioneerland Library Board, and was a member of “Befrienders,” Hospice, the Hutchinson American Legion Post 96 and a life member of the Glencoe Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5102. He was a past member of the Butterfield Fire Department, Stewart American Legion, Stewart and Glencoe Lions clubs and the Hutchinson and Glencoe country clubs, as well as president of the McLeod Avenue Townhome Association. Following retirement, he also served as an instructor for the “55 Alive” course, delivered Meals on Wheels and worked at Ford Mercury. He served one term as the mayor of Glencoe and received the 1999 Glencoe Chamber of Commerce Senior Citizen of the Year award.
 
He loved his vacations, especially traveling to the west coast, visiting Thailand and the Hawaiian Islands, and taking a Caribbean cruise, seeing the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Statue of Liberty in New York City, and many other points of interest in the U.S. He also enjoyed golfing, bowling, dancing, playing cards, family reunions with siblings, visiting with friends and relatives, and attending his children’s and grandchildren’s athletic and theater events.
 
He is survived by his wife, Beverly Phifer of Glencoe; children, Noel (Bridget) Phifer Jr. of New Ulm, Kimberly Phifer of Winthrop, formerly of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and Scott (Paradee) Phifer of Hutchinson; grandchildren, Luke and Matthew Phifer, Cara, Cayla and Kendra Kluver, and Wiphawi Phifer; sister, Cora Caldart; sisters-in-law, Ordell Klucas and Ronna Miller; nieces, nephews and many friends and relatives.
 
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Ora Phifer; sisters, Helen Phifer and Jean Sherstad; brothers, Joseph Phifer and Lee Phifer; brothers-in-law, Cars Sherstad, Clyde Caldart, Roger Miller and Quentin Klucas; sisters-in-law, Katherine Phifer and Lois Phifer; and nephew, Ricky Sherstad.
 
Arrangements were with the Johnson-McBride Funeral Chapel in Glencoe. Online obituaries and guest book are available at www.hantge .com