Eldon Tessman Remembered for Potatoes, Kindness
Eldon Tessman, described as a larger-than-life figure in Brooklyn Park, was laid to rest on Tuesday.
Tessman died on Jan. 22 at the age of 95.
During a funeral service Tuesday at Brooklyn United Methodist Church, family and friends remembered him as a family man, a potato farmer and a supporter of various organizations throughout the northwest suburbs.
“Reflecting back on all that his life was, and all that he meant to each of us, it’s impossible to picture this place without him,” said Derek Tessman, Eldon’s grandson. “And not just because of the big red barn still standing on 85th, but because of the life that he cultivated for 95 years, moment by moment, with each of us. We love you grandpa.”
That “big red barn” along 85th Avenue is one of the last remnants of Brooklyn Park’s potato farming past.
According to Tessman’s obituary, he was crowned the “State Potato King” at the age of 16 and grew Pride of Brooklyn Park brand potatoes on that land until 1976.
During the funeral service, family and friends reflected on his contributions to education, the friendships he developed and his association with potatoes.
“It’s a gift to have known and loved people in this world, so love those around you, and eat potatoes,” said the Rev. Jen Spickelmier of Osseo United Methodist Church. “I mean, every time you eat a potato, think about Eldon.”
The University of Minnesota’s Department of Horticultural Science offers the Eldon A. and June E. Tessman Fellowship to graduate students studying potato breeding and genetics.
At the closing of Tuesday’s services, everyone in attendance sang the “Minnesota Rouser,” the University of Minnesota’s fight song.