John A. Smieja


John A. Smieja, age 73, of Burtrum, died unexpectedly and peacefully, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at his home in Burtrum.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held Friday, Dec. 13 at St. John The Baptist Catholic Church in Swanville with the Rev. Ronald Dockendorf officiating. Interment was at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls following the lunch.
John Alfred Smieja was born June 26, 1940, at his childhood home near Royalton, to Frank and Emily (Kroll) Smieja. He graduated from Royalton High School in 1958. John enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps May 22, 1959, and was released with an honorable discharge April 12, 1963. On June 18, 1966, he married Diane Arnold at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Royalton. He worked at S.J. Louis Company until his injury May 1, 1990. At this time his life changed as he was confined to a wheelchair. This did not stop him; he chose to live a full and independent life. John enjoyed hunting, being outdoors, and most of all, watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow. He was a member of St. Josephs Catholic Church in Grey Eagle.
Survivors include his children, Tony (Diane) Smieja of Burtrum, Ken (Lynette) Smieja of Burtrum, Ann Marie (Scott) Denzer of DeGraff and Julie (Mike) Lambrecht of Burtrum; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; sisters and brothers, Valeria (Dave) Manders of Forest Lake, Irene Brown of Loveland, Colo., Bernard (Annette) Smieja of Hackensack, Theodore (Darlene) Smieja of Fort Ripley, and Veronica Smieja of Loveland, Color.; many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
John was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Diane Smieja April 15, 2013; brother-in-law, John Brown; and niece/Godchild, Tina Poegel.
Serving as casket bearers was Ken Smieja, Tony Smieja, Austin Smieja, Avery Smieja Kristen Smieja, and Kaelin Smieja. Crossbearer was Nathan Lambrecht and scripture bearer was be Kiley Smieja. Gift bearers were Tyler Smieja and Shane Lambrecht. Honorary bearers were Ashley Fladung, Kiley Smieja, Tyler Smieja, Nathan Lambrecht, Shane Lambrecht, Remmi Jensen, Cooper Jensen, Nickallis Fladung, Miley Fladung, and Nathan Fladung.

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