Warren Alfred Nunn, 98, passed away peacefully on July 30, 2022. Warren was born to Herbert and Minnie (Conklin) Nunn on March 7, 1924, in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. He was the second of four children.
In 1936, when he was 12, Warren’s father died. He helped his mom and sisters run the family farm south of Detroit Lakes. Warren told many stories of those lean, early years. He and his sisters used to drive a horse and wagon loaded with fresh sweet corn to sell to the tourists in Detroit Lakes for 25 cents a dozen. He worked hard on the farm but also told of many happy days playing with the neighborhood children, especially the Joy family. Warren was a member of the Heart O’ Lakes 4H Club. In 1939, at age 15, Warren and his friend and neighbor Leatrice (Joy) Wirtz won top honors in the health category at the Becker County Fair. They went on to represent the county at the Minnesota State Fair. Seventy years later in August of 2009, Warren and Leatrice returned to the Minnesota State Fair to again represent Becker County. Warren said those early days were “truly the good old days.”
Warren attended country school and Detroit Lakes High School. In 1942, the senior class dedicated the yearbook to Warren and another soldier in the Armed Forces following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Warren enlisted in the Navy in January of 1942 and began his training at the Great Lakes Naval Base after he turned 18 in March of 1942. He was a gunner's mate 1st Class and really did see the world. His ship provided support at Normandy and ran supply missions throughout the South Pacific. In December 1945, he was honorably discharged but remained in the Naval Reserve. He was called back to serve in the Korean Conflict until 1953. Warren had so many memories, both good and difficult, about wartime service. It was challenging for him to open up about those times, yet serving his country was his proudest accomplishment.
After leaving the service, Warren went to work for Standard Oil. He worked at “The Smallest Gas Station'' across from the Graystone Hotel. Warren later owned and operated Nunn’s Standard Oil in Detroit Lakes and Walton’s Standard in Moorhead, Minnesota. After selling his station in Moorhead, Warren began an enjoyable career in real estate. He first sold for Anderson Realty in Moorhead before moving back to Detroit Lakes in 1972 to work with Chuck Erickson and Harry Johnston at Northland Realty. In 1978 Warren opened 1st United Realty with Harry Johnston, Leo Eilertson, and Don Lefebvre. He took a hiatus from real estate in the mid-1980’s and worked for Red River Human Services in Fargo. Warren organized the Handicapable Golf Tournament fundraiser for that organization for several years.
Warren was very committed to his faith. In 1946, he joined Zion Lutheran in Detroit Lakes and remained a lifelong member. He belonged to various bible study groups and enjoyed the faith and fellowship.
Family and friends were of the highest priority for Warren. He had a sharp wit and legendary sense of humor, and he enjoyed any time he could spend with friends, having breakfast and coffee with them as often as he could. He excelled in the role of “Gramps” and “Great-Gramps,” facilitating many swimming adventures, teaching kids to throw and play golf, and inviting extended family to cookouts at public parks and private lots he improved over the years. When the kids got older, he kept playing ball with them, but secretly added padding to the inside of his glove to cool the sting. Warren was eager to share his knowledge of golf right down to the youngest of the great-grands.
Warren had many hobbies and was a naturally gifted athlete. He loved to hunt and fish throughout the United States and Canada, sharing stories of hunting and fishing adventures with friends, often accompanied by the disclaimer, “The truth was not in us!” He was an excellent bowler into his late 80s, winning tournaments and enjoying league play. He swam daily at 5 a.m. year-round. He said it was not a great performance, he just thrashed around to “pump new air down into his lungs.” Warren was an avid golfer into his early 90s, with many witnessed hole-in-ones to his credit in both Minnesota and Arizona. Into his late 80s, he loved to joke about “beating the pants off those youngsters,” usually referring to playing partners in their 60s and 70s, but also his grandson and friends in their early 20s. He was close friends with Les and Pat Kerscher, owners of the Maple Hills Golf Course, and for many years, he helped organize an annual golf event at Maple Hills for Zion Lutheran Church, with all proceeds made available to people in need.
Warren was married three times. He married Dorothy (Boock) Martin in 1946. They had three children; Kathleen Jeannette (Virgil) Kent in 1947, Janet Marie in 1949, and Patricia Adelle in 1954. They divorced in 1956. Warren married Carolyn J (Bettenhausen) Parker in 1965. Gregory Alan Nunn was born to the couple in 1966. In 1981, Warren married Arlene Darsow. They spent winters in Arizona for many years, coming home for the Minnesota summers. Together they enjoyed traveling, hosting friends from Minnesoata, and meeting new friends from all over the United States. Arlene had two adult children from a previous marriage, Rick Miller and Lisa Jacobs.
Warren will be greatly missed by his friends and family. He is survived by his daughter Patty (Mike LaCoursiere) Nunn, Frazee, his son Gregory Nunn, Omaha, Neb., four grandchildren, Jason (Ilse) Rolf, Minneapolis, Nate (Nora Sandstad) LaCoursiere, Duluth, Janelle (Lukas) Brandon, Moorhead, and Skyler Nunn, Omaha, Neb. Six great-grandchildren, Ian Rolf, St. Paul, Nissa Rolf, Minneapolis, Dylan Brandon, Moorhead, Ash Brandon, Moorhead, Henry Sandstad LaCoursiere, Duluth, and Charles LaCoursiere Sandstad, Duluth. Warren is also survived by brother-in-law Willie Messenger and many nieces and nephews.
Warren was preceded in death by two daughters, Kathy in 1967 and Janet in 1980. Also preceding him in death were his parents H.A. and Minnie Nunn, former wives Dorothy and Arlene, siblings, Zella Sebelius, Joybelle Smith, and Donna Hayes, and half siblings, Martin Nunn, Allie Nunn, Gordon Nunn, Elizabeth Edwards, Lottie Palmquist, and Berniece Flory as well as nieces and nephews.
Services for Warren Alfred Nunn will be held at Zion Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes. A visitation will be on Tuesday, August 16 from 5-7 PM with a time for sharing stories and remembering Warren. The funeral service will be on Wednesday, August 17, at 11 AM, followed by a light lunch at the church and an interment service at Lake View Cemetery in rural Detroit Lakes.