Harlan N. Thompson

April 22, 1943 ~ July 14, 2021 (age 78)


Harlan Nordean Thompson passed away peacefully at his home in Stewartville, MN on Wednesday, July 14, following an accelerated battle with lung cancer.

Harlan was born on April 22, 1943, in Ostrander, MN to Arne and Millie (Hanson) Thompson. He was the sixth of eight children. He grew up in Ostrander, MN and graduated from LeRoy-Ostrander High School in 1961. After graduating, he was employed by Crenlo Manufacturing in Rochester, MN as a spot welder. He met Karen Kay Affeldt of Wykoff, MN at the Pla-Mor Ballroom in Rochester, and the couple was married on April 20, 1963, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wykoff, MN. They briefly made their home in Rochester before relocating to Stewartville, where they raised their children and have lived for the past 57 years. Harlan was employed with IBM in Rochester for 33 years, retiring as a senior procurement administrator. While at IBM, he was a key team member honored with the Malcom Baldridge Award for Quality in 1990. After retiring from IBM, Harlan was anxious to still work; he then worked part-time at Fleet Farm and Child Care Resource and Referral in Rochester.

Harlan was very active in coaching his children in youth softball, tee-ball, and baseball. As his children and grandchildren grew, he and Karen were very active in Stewartville sports and enjoyed attending every event they were involved in--Grandpa Harlan and Grandma Karen very rarely missed a grandchild’s activity and were their greatest cheerleaders. He and Karen were founding members of the Stewartville High School football and basketball booster clubs. They were named Fans of the Year for both Stewartville football and wrestling. Harlan loved woodworking and created many, many pieces for friends and family over the years. He was always willing to help a friend, neighbor or relative with any project or task. Harlan was an original founding member of the Stewartville Driftskippers snowmobile club. He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his brothers, son, grandsons, and nephews; he was also an avid antique and gun collector. Harlan was an active member of Zion Lutheran Church for 57 years. He served on the church council and was an usher for decades.

Harlan’s family would like to extend a special thank you to the many family members and close friends and neighbors that helped and supported him during his illness. Sincere thanks goes to Mayo Clinic Hospice, and Pastors Byron Meline, Pastor Kim Kyllo and Pastor Robert Berglund for their visits, phone calls and spiritual guidance.

He is survived by daughter Sheila (Steve) McNeill of Minneapolis, and sons Mike (Karla Strain) Thompson of Stewartville and Mitchell (Jayme) Thompson of Minneapolis; grandchildren Drew (Helena) McNeill, Katelyn (Tanner) Diggs, Marie McNeill( Joey Charlesworth), Justin Thompson, and Joey Thompson; two great-grandchildren, Amelia McNeill and Everett Diggs; Karla Strain’s children Maverick, Celina and Brennan and grandchild Jameson; two sisters,  Arlys(Larry) Terbeest of Spring Valley; Gail(Dennis) Johnson of Stewartville; two brothers,  Vernon Thompson of Ostrander,MN and Raymond(Kathy) Thompson of Chaska,MN; two sister-in-laws,  Marlys Thompson of Caledonia,MN; Barb Thompson of Mankato,MN and brother-in-law,  Dave Robb of Carver,MN  and many nieces and nephews. Harlan wa preceded in death by his wife of 57 years Karen (2020), as well as his parents, brothers Harold and Glenn Thompson, sister, Ileen Robb and sister-in-law,  Diana Thompson.

Funeral services will be at Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville at 1:00 P.M.on Sunday, July 18, 2021 followed by burial and a committal service at Woodlawn Cemetery in Stewartville. Visitation will be at Zion Lutheran Church from 1 to 3:00 PM on Saturday, July 17, 2021. Pallbearers will be Harlan’s grandchildren. Honorary pallbearers will be the John and Ginnie King family, and longtime friends Herman Miller and Lester Voigt. Memorials, if desired, can be forwarded directly to the family or to Mayo Clinic Hospice. Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray F.H. in Stewartville. Memories and condolences of Harlan are welcome at A live stream of the funeral service can be watched on Sunday afternoon at the Zion Lutheran Church website

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Harlan N. Thompson, please visit our floral store.


July 17, 2021

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Zion Lutheran Church (Griffin - Gray F.H, Stewartville)

Funeral Service
July 18, 2021

1:00 PM
Zion Lutheran Church (Stewartville, Woodlawn Cemetery)

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