Russell LeRoy Heng


Russell Leroy Heng, age 87, died after a short illness on Saturday, February 4, 2023 at Hospice House at Sanford in Fargo. He lived near Downer, Minnesota, on the same homestead where he was born on August 17, 1935. He was the youngest child of Mathilda Johanna (Paulson) and John Arndt Heng.

Russ grew to manhood on the family farm, and attended country school through the second grade, walking a mile and half in snow and rain uphill every day. Luckily, he started catching the bus to school in Barnesville in the third grade. He graduated from Barnesville High School in 1953. In 1957, he was drafted and served in the Army, attending basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma before being stationed in Germany, near Bad Kissingen. He was honorably discharged in 1959, and returned to his parent’s home, where he resumed working on the farm with his father and brothers.

Russ met Claudia at a dance in Sabin, MN and married Claudia Kay Motschenbacher on November 5, 1960, at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Sabin, Minnesota. Russ and Claudia lived on the home place when his parents moved to Barnesville after Russ’s marriage. Together they had three children, Debora, Paul, and Sara.

Buying his parents farm after a few years, Russ and Claudia ran a small dairy, raised weaning pigs, as well as grains while expanding the farm before retiring in 2000. He was presented the Century Farm award for keeping the family farm in the Heng name for over 100 years, having accomplished this feat in just two generations.

After Claudia’s death in 2001, Russ met and married Henrietta (Neubauer) Mann, on February 14, 2004, at Assumption Catholic Church in Barnesville, Minnesota.

Russ was known by all as outgoing and friendly, enjoying dancing, playing cards, telling jokes and stories, as well as visiting with friends and family. Although he was unwilling to read or follow directions, he found a way to touch the lives of many, with a smile and a laugh, and will be sadly missed.

Russ is survived by his wife Henrietta, his three children: Debora (Neil) Sapin, Scottsdale, Arizona; Paul, Peoria, Arizona; Sara (Scott) Fairfield, Moorhead, Minnesota; and two grandchildren Noah Fairfield, Plymouth, Minnesota;, and Ethan Fairfield, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; a special nephew, David (Tracy) Heng, Barnesville, Minnesota. He is also survived by his three step children: Larry (Holly) Mann, Arizona, LeAnn (Dan) Gregory, Elkhart, Indiana, and Kevin (Vicky) Mann, Cottage Grove, Minnesota; and one sister in-law Lavonne Heng, Barnesville, Minnesota, as well as many step grandchildren, step great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews that all knew Uncle Russ.

He is preceded in death by his wife Claudia, his parents; his brothers: Elmer (1909), Arndt, Elmer Gunn (1918-1979), Stanley, Raymond, and Lloyd; and his sisters: Ethel Cody, Ellen Olson, Bertha (Bertie) Geschke, Harriet Schmidt, and Bernice Ernst.

Visitation will be from 4-7 PM, Tuesday, February 7, 2023, at Dobmeier Funeral Home with a Prayer Service at 7:00 PM. Visitation will continue for one hour prior to the funeral service at the church on Wednesday.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 AM, Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at Assumption Catholic Church in Barnesville, with Father Todd Arends presiding. Burial will follow in Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Skree Township, Clay County, MN. Military honors will be provided by the Barnesville Honor Guard of the Barnesville American Legion and VFW Posts.

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