Eldon Tessman, a Brooklyn Park Community Pillar, Dies at 95
Along 85th Avenue in Brooklyn Park sits a literal blast from the past.
“One of the landmarks in Brooklyn Park is that barn on 85th Avenue that says ‘God Bless America,'” said Shalin Johnson, a member of the Brooklyn Park Rotary.
That barn is one of the few visible reminders of the city’s proud potato farming history, and it was the longtime home of Eldon Tessman.
“This was my great grandfather’s place,” Tessman told CCX News in 2017. “The barn that’s behind us was already here, and then my grandfather in 1883 built the home that we are currently in today.”
Tessman, the lifelong Brooklyn Park resident, died this week at the age of 95. But he left a remarkable imprint on those who knew him.
“He was just an active participant who had great pride in Brooklyn Park and Osseo,” said Johnson. “Great historical perspective.”
Johnson has been a member of the Brooklyn Park Rotary for nearly two decades and struck up a friendship with Tessman.
“He lived by his heart, and he loved people,” Johnson said of Tessman. “He loved his friends, he loved his family, and he’s just a tremendous role model.”
Tessman was a role model, in large part, because he helped provide financial support for causes he believed in, such as the Osseo Fire Department.
“They had a fire department before we had one in Brooklyn Park or Maple Grove,” Tessman told CCX in 2016. “A good group to give our money to, so I feel very comfortable in our decision.”
Meanwhile, former Brooklyn Park Mayor and current County Commissioner Jeff Lunde had fond memories of Tessman.
“Eldon was always kind of one of those wise community leaders that you would kind of seek out and ask questions because he had been around for so long and had his hand in North Hennepin, Hennepin Tech, the school districts,” Lunde said.
As a politician, Lunde said having someone with Tessman’s vast knowledge was invaluable because he provided historical perspective.
“He wasn’t there to tell people what to do,” said Lunde. “He was just there to support, provide some information, just provide kind of like be there in the community and say hey, ‘We’re working on this together.'”
Tessman was influential person who was admired by many.
“There will be a void with his passing,” said Johnson.
A visitation for Eldon Tessman will take place on Monday, Jan. 29 at Brooklyn United Methodist Church from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The funeral service will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 10:30 a.m. at the same church.
Related: Our Town’s Story – Brooklyn Park