Clifford Albert Tonn was born on July 20, 1922 to Edward and Emma Hierlinger Tonn on the family farm in Wyanett Township, Isanti County, MN. He was a 1939 Princeton High School graduate. Clifford began farming with his dad following high school.
Clifford and Harriet met through the young people's group at Karmel. Harriet and Clifford fell in love and were engaged in August 1944. During the next year, Clifford and his dad added on to their farm home a 3 room
"apartment" for Edward and Emma to live in. Clifford and Harriet were married June 23, 1945 at Karmel Mission Church. They lived in the original part of the home and the two couples shared the family home for many years.
Clifford and his dad were dairy farmers. He was the Treasurer for the Wyanett Township Board for 35 years, retiring from that position in 1994. He also served on the Isanti County Board of Adjustment for many years. In 1966, both Clifford and Harriet saw a need for supplementing the farm's income. Clifford began selling insurance and Harriet started a knitting business. In 1984, their son, Dwight took over the farming operations. Harriet's business was increasing, including writing knitting pattern books and traveling to seminars. Clifford became her right hand man, assembling books, shipping them to customers and making travel arrangements. Knitting seminars were about 10% work and 90% fun for Clifford. He enjoyed many hours visiting with customers and knitters.
Clifford faithfully served his Lord throughout his life. Clifford and Harriet were members of Karmel Covenant Church. He held many positions there including Chairman, Treasurer, Deacon, Adult Sunday School teacher and for many years Head Usher with his good friend, Vernon Olson. After retirement, he enjoyed attending the morning bible study held at church.
Clifford and Harriet were the parents of four children: Richard, Beverly, Gary and Dwight. He loved attending the many activities they were involved in and was their biggest fan. In the mid-80's, Paul Wood, a friend of Dwight's, came to live with Clifford and Harriet for a time and became part of the family.
Clifford loved a good joke. When you saw that twinkle in his eye and the smirk on his face you knew you were in for some of his humor. "Cut that pizza in 6, please, I can't eat eight" "there is more cotton in an aspirin bottle than that girl has on". If you wanted to know which team was winning, it was the one with the most points. Clifford was also always ready for a good game of Rook.
In April of 2000, Clifford was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease with dementia. Shortly after that his wife, Harriet suffered a major setback when a surgery did not go the way it was hoped it would. That summer was very stressful and Clifford also had a setback that fall. He did not regain the use of his legs following that incident. He has been a resident at Grandview Christian Home since that time. Through his dementia, Clifford was able to see things that others could not. He had many visits from family and friends who had gone on ahead. One of the questions about heaven that he always wanted to know was whether the streets were paved with gold. He was very upset when neither Vernon or Reynold Olson during their "visit" would answer his question. Clifford knows the answer to that question now. On January 12, 2007, he left his earthly body and is walking the streets of gold.
Clifford was preceded in death by his beloved Harriet in August of 2002, his parents, and his sister Eleanor Olson. He is survived by his children: Richard and wife Maxine of Princeton; Beverly and husband Jerry Pollema of Milaca; Gary and wife Nina of Clear Lake, WI ; Dwight and wife Shirley of Princeton; and Paul Wood and wife Mari-Etta of Shoreview. His grandchildren: Derek and wife Becky Tonn of Springfield, MN; Anji Palmer of Princeton; Todd and wife Jean Pollema of Browerville, MN; Matt and wife Dea of Wauwatosa, WI; Peter and wife Paula Tonn of Lodi, WI; Philip Tonn and fiance Andrea of Hudson, WI; Rebekah and husband Wes Letkeman of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Paul Tonn of Clear Lake, WI; Maria and Joshua Tonn of Princeton; Marissah, Kaelah and Angelah Wood of Shorview, MN. His great-grandchildren: Blake, Brooke and Bryce Pollema, Alisha and Abbey Palmer, Libby and Ellie Tonn, and Luke Pollema.
1:00 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Karmel Covenant Church
5799 County Road
6 NW Princeton, Minnesota, United States