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Michael Kochel

Michael Kochel

Michael “Mike” Leonard Kochel was born on October 5, 1948, to Francis and June (Dwyer) Kochel in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Mike grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his siblings, Leroy, Margaret and Tom. He graduated high school in 1966 and later graduated from vocational school in 1968. Shortly thereafter, Mike met Bonnie. 

Mike and Bonnie were a match from the start. After only a few dates, they knew that they would be in each other’s lives forever. Mike and Bonnie were married on February 3, 1973, at the Bethany Lutheran Church in Luverne, Minnesota. A marriage that thrived for 51 years and was blessed with two sons, Troy and Tony.

On September 15, 1969, Mike enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served during the Vietnam War. He was ranked as Corporal E-4 when he was honorably discharged on September 14, 1971. Mike’s main career was being a manufacturing engineer, working as a farm and tractor equipment dealer. 

Mike and Bonnie lived over 40 years together in Renner, South Dakota. Mike was on the Renner Volunteer Fire Department, along with being a commander of the Renner American Legion, Post 307.

After retirement, Mike and Bonnie spent many hours and days enjoying the sunshine and the calm at the lake. Mike would spend time fishing, golfing, collecting coins and watching old movies. He was an avid traveler, frequently going to the Black Hills to deer hunt. In the more recent years, Mike had taken to being a very good cook – his omelets will be greatly missed!

Mike and Bonnie have been residents of Luverne, Minnesota, for the past decade. Mike entered the Good Samaritan Society – Mary Jane Brown Home in Luverne early February 2024, where he peacefully passed away on Friday, May 31, 2024, at the age of 75, while surrounded by his wife and sons. 

Mike’s life was centered around Christ. He was a strong and devout Christian. He never stopped learning about Christ. He had recently learned the Apostle’s Creed with the help of large print and with the steady patience of Bonnie reading it with him. Mike had served as president on the Renner Lutheran Council. He was an outstanding lefse potato peeler when he and Bonnie were members of the Renner Lutheran Church.

Mike’s parents established in him a strong work ethic, a trait that he shared with Bonnie and that he taught his sons. He was a generous, loving, giving man who touched the lives of many people. His famous line “off like a wild herd of turtles!” will always have a special place in the hearts of those he left behind.

Mike is lovingly remembered by his wife, Bonnie (DeBooy) Kochel of Luverne, Minnesota; his sons, Troy Kochel of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Tony (Michele) Kochel of Madison, Wisconsin; and his siblings, Leroy Kochel of Chicago, Illinois, Margaret (Bill) of Texas, and Tom Kochel of St. Paul, Minnesota.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Koch and June, and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Dean and Donna DeBooy; daughter-in-law Jess; and his beloved dog, Bella.

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