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Vernon S. Stenoien, 89

The life of Vernon S. Stenoien ended peacefully at home in the early morning of March 4, 2021

Vern was born in Cooperstown, N.D. on March 13, 1931, to Pastor Gilbert and his wife, Emma. He was a child who loved to learn and grew up with nine siblings; only two remain: Daniel M. Stenoien and Borghild Gisselquist (101 years old). When he was 3, he lost his father, and his mother died when he was 13. He had many early learning opportunities, from being “obsessed with plowing a straight furrow at the age of 12” to doing “all the required maintenance” on his treasured bike because it was “important to me both from the standpoint of pleasure and need (my paper route).”

Following his graduation from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, Vern’s formal education continued at Augsburg College. Sharing this experience and the rest of his life with him was Borghild Wold (Borgie), whom he married in 1952; they had their first child, Daniel, the following year. A long and satisfying career of teaching science and building their family ensued in Houston, Minn., where daughter Carol was born; Moorhead, Minn., birthplace of daughter Barbara; and Waterloo, Iowa, where son Dale completed the family. Vern then accepted a teaching position at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, Ill. The family lived in Elk Grove Village, Ill. He continued his love of teaching for 23 years until his retirement in 1986. These years were filled with constant learning, teaching classes at Harper College and Roosevelt University, training science teachers, taking more college classes (accumulating 66 hours beyond his master’s degree), and, most importantly, spending time with his family, the center of his life.

After retirement, Vern and Borgie moved to Woodstock, Ill., where he helped to plan and build their Rose Farm Road home. From clearing the six-acre plot of land to constructing furniture, Vern’s hands shaped their home, and later their Woodstock home maintained many of the same features and designs. In those homes, Vern enjoyed reading (often many books in many genres at the same time), entertaining family and friends, especially the Friday Night Group and other members of Grace Lutheran Church, where he was an active member, and spending time with Borgie. When once asked what he was most proud of in his entire life, his answer was simple – Borgie.

Vern is survived by wife Borghild; brother Daniel Stenoien (Minneapolis); sister Borghild Gisselquist (Minneapolis), and four children: son Daniel (Anne) and children Rose, Luke, and Carl; daughter Carol (Charlie) and children David, Allie, and Roysten; daughter Barbara (Jack) and children Amanda, Gregory, and Evyn; and son Dale (Jamie) and children Riley and Emily; as well as 15 great-grandchildren.

His love of family and passion for learning is a legacy that will remain important to his many family members and friends for years to come.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Grace Lutheran Church, Woodstock, or Augsburg University, Minneapolis.

Due to COVID-19 current restrictions, services will be announced at a later date.

For information, contact the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home at 815-338-1710, or leave a condolence at

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