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Truman Tilleraas

Truman W. Tilleraas, 91, of Great Falls MT, formerly of Crookston, MN, passed away Saturday, July 12, 2014 at Missouri River Manor in Great Falls.

Truman was born September 12, 1922, in Gary, MN, to John and Manda (Wermager) Tilleraas. He was baptized at St. Petri Lutheran Church and was raised on the family farm near Gary. He graduated from Gary High School in 1940.

He attended Moorhead State Teachers College and taught at a one room country school east of Gary for two years. He then served in the US Army from 1944-1946. In 1947 he was united in marriage to Dorothy Hovelson in Gary. He continued his education to receive a B.S. in Agricultural Education at NDSU in Fargo, ND, and a master's degree from the University of Minnesota.

He taught vocational agriculture in Hawley, MN, for 8 years and Blooming Prairie, MN, for 12 years. In 1969, he accepted a position at the University of Minnesota Crookston in the Agriculture Division, teaching courses in Animal Science. He developed new courses in Livestock Evaluation and in Sheep and Swine Production. He taught at UMC 19 years before retiring in 1988.

Truman had a great way of bringing out the best in others through his kind and caring ways and he was greatly admired by his family and students. He continuously encouraged students to participate in judging events, Ag Arama, Ag Activities Day, and student organizations. He coached UMC, 4-H, and FFA judging teams in many state, regional, and national contests with his teams winning numerous awards at all levels.

Truman was active in several organizations including the Dawn to Dusk Lions Club, American Legion, Eagles, Sons of Norway, Trinity Lutheran Church, Elim Lutheran Church, MN Vocational Ag Teachers, National Agricultural College Teachers Assn, and the local, district, regional and state FFA organizations.

He served as Superintendent of the Livestock Judging Contests at the Red River Valley Winter Shows for several years. The RRVWS was an important family event and they exhibited Registered Hampshire Sheep for many years. He also served 11 years as the Superintendent of the Minnesota State Fair FFA Sheep Show and three years in the Minnesota Lamb & Wool Growers Association.

Truman received numerous awards and recognitions over the years including Honorary FFA Chapter, District, Regional, State and American Farmer Degrees, Teacher of the Year in Blooming Prairie, WCCO Good Neighbor Award, RRVWS 75th Anniversary Award, Polk County 4-H Citation for Outstanding Support, RRV Livestock Association Fellow Breeder Award, 1962 Ag Arama Dedication Recipient, Nominee for UMC Teacher of the Year in 1987. The 1987 NACTA Sweepstakes Trophy was dedicated to him. He is honored to have a UMC Agricultural Scholarship in his name.

He received the Distinguished Service Award for being a Charter Member and first Club President of the Dawn to Dusk Lions Club in Crookston. He was inducted into the Halls of Fame for Ag Arama in 1988, MN FFA in 2005, Steele County Free Fair in 2006, and the Blooming Prairie FFA in 2008.

He spent many years enjoying raising and exhibiting sheep and pigs at county and state fairs with his children. He also loved to play Whist and golf with family and friends. After retiring, he and Dorothy moved to Fargo, and enjoyed spending winters in Alamo, TX, for 17 years. Continuing his love for teaching, he dedicated 10 years of service in the PSJA Mentor/Host program in Alamo, tutoring students.

Truman and Dorothy were married 67 wonderful years. They were very dedicated to their family and friends and he felt great strength and pride with Dorothy by his side. Their strong Christian faith has helped them through so many wonderful years.

Truman was a loving husband who cared deeply for his family. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; son, Steve (Brenda) Tilleraas and daughter, Lisa Carlson, both of Great Falls; brother, Duane (Joanne) Tilleraas of Gary; four grandchildren, Melissa (Cliff) Rust, Sarah (Dan) Kleinschmidt, Shawn Carlson, and Nathan Bring; five great-grandchildren, Desiree, Elizabeth, and Taylar Kleinschmidt, Lillian and Tanner Rust; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sons, Perry and Bruce; daughter, Susan; and siblings, Clayton Tilleraas, Palma Juelson and Margaret Dekko.

Memorials are preferred to the Truman Tilleraas Student Development Scholarship at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Visitation will be on Friday, from 5:00-7:00 PM at Korsmo Funeral Chapel in Moorhead, MN.

Funeral service will be held Saturday, July 19, 2014, at 11:00 AM in Elim Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND.

Burial will be at St. Petri Cemetery, Gary, MN.

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