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John K. Friesen

John K. Friesen
April 5, 1940 — November 26, 2017

On Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, John K. Friesen of Rayville, Missouri was transformed from his earthly life to a place Jesus had reserved for him in heaven. To God be the Glory!

John was born in Mountain Lake, Minnesota on April 5, 1940 to John A. and Katie (Rahn) Friesen and was the 13th of 14 children. He therefore considered the number 13 to be his lucky number. He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 35 years, Elna (Reedholm), seven children: Lynda Byerly (Mary), Jonna Schultz, Rick Byerly (Sue), Kim McAndrews (Mark), Londa Bilski (Dennis), Tony Byerly (Kari), Ryan Friesen (Theresa), 17 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and 9 surviving siblings.

As a salesman, John and Ellie traveled most highways from Dubuque, Iowa to Kansas City and west to the Colorado border. He loved the open countryside and the beauty of God’s creation. From the time he got his first job as a baker’s helper in high school, John’s love of baking never left him, which led to his ownership of three bakery and donut shop businesses during his career. Many people will associate John with his Mister Donut shops, his first in Faribault, Mn., or years later, the one in Excelsior Springs, Mo., as he loved to talk to his customers. Each business or enterprise in which John endeavored, allowed him to engage with people. John never met a stranger. In addition, he loved fresh bread and delighted in making that as well as donuts for his many appreciative grandchildren when they came to visit. Other enjoyments included visiting his children and grandchildren, singing in the church choir, phone calls from his children, early morning devotions with Ellie and mowing grass with the John Deere tractor.

Rarely seen without his cup of coffee in hand, John was a man of devout faith, great strength of character, a deep well-of-love in his heart, a solid devotion to his family and friends and the wisdom to offer comfort, advice and/or sage life lessons which were given to many seeking his guidance. A humble man, he could not see these gifts of his, or how tremendously helpful he was to all who knew him. Nevertheless, John would never shy away from lending a hand or heartfelt word to those in need of one or the other.

John’s love of the land and his family guided his creation of a hobby farm in which he envisioned his grandchildren enjoying many animals. Growing up, each would come to enjoy riding horses, playing with cats and dogs, petting the llamas, chasing the chickens, marveling at Jacob sheep and brightening at the sight of the peacocks. Beyond this, they drove the golf cart, built a tree house, wandered the fields and along the stream or peddled the boat in the pond. Not only did he build a playground of wonderment for his family, he built a foundation for love, character, morality and beauty.

A Celebration of Life will be given in John’s honor on Saturday, Dec. 2, at Barbee Memorial Presbyterian Church, 501 Tiger Drive in Excelsior Springs, MO., 64024 at 3 p.m. with fellowship dinner immediately following.

Having a great love for his church family and being very active with many of its organizations, memorials preferred to Barbee Memorial Presbyterian Church with a memo notation of Noah’s Ark Preschool Scholarship Fund.

Arrangements provided by Bross & Spidle Funeral Home.

By Brittany Zegers • zegers@leaderpress.com

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