American Veteran 04

Johnny Lee Torgrimson

August 24, 1946 ~ June 22, 2020 (age 73)


Johnny Lee Torgrimson, 73, of rural Dalton, passed away Monday, June 22, 2020 at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls.

Johnny was born August 24, 1946 to Wilbur and Irene (Kirkeby) Torgrimson.  He was baptized and confirmed by Rev. Ringstad at Grue Lutheran Church.  He attended country school District 114 and after his parents moved into Ashby, he attended Ashby High School, graduating from there in 1964.  He attended one year of college, but as he put it— “just to play baseball.”

Johnny joined the Marines and served in Vietnam.  He was proud to serve his country and as they say, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine.”  After his time in the service, he lived in California before moving back to rural Dalton.

Johnny was married to Eve Staring until her passing.  He met Phyllis (Winslow) in 1991, and they were married in November of 1992.  We can never remember the date because they eloped and were married in South Dakota the day after Thanksgiving.  They spent 28 wonderful years together.

He worked various jobs over the years and spent time working with his brother-in-law Clarion Ellwanger in his shop.  Johnny spent years working with his brother Steve doing trenching and excavating as well.  He eventually went out on his own, operating Torgy’s Trenching and Excavating, later convincing his lovely wife to work alongside him.  He would be on the machinery and she would be in the ditches, shoveling or holding the transit for him.

Johnny was a private man and although he knew everybody, he had a pretty tight circle of friends.  He loved visiting with family and friends over coffee, telling a good joke, and making you laugh.  He was a tough guy, but when the grandchildren came along, he seemed to melt like chocolate.  We will miss his wisdom and wit, his laughter and his sneezes, his guidance and his nightly phone calls.

He leaves behind his loving wife, Phyllis, who resides at PioneerCare in Fergus Falls; four daughters, Kim (Bruce) Kallhoff of Moorhead, MN, Christine (Jim) Pralle of Battle Lake, MN, Dottie Norton of Okanogan, Washington, and ShyAnne (Jody) Crutchfield of Georgia.  The proudest gifts were his three grandchildren, Paul Norton of Okanogan, WA, Cydney and Jameson Pralle of Battle Lake.  He is also survived by three siblings, Bob (Betty) Torgrimson of Alamo, Texas, Kathy Ellwanger of rural Dalton, and Steve (Pauline) Torgrimson of Sartell, MN; and much-loved nieces, nephews and cousins.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife, Eve Staring; and brother-in-law, Clarion Ellwanger.

Memorials preferred to Bethel Lutheran Church, 34258 140th Street, Battle Lake, MN 56515.

Semper Fidelis!

Visitation: 5 – 7 PM Friday, at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home in Ashby, and one hour prior to services at the church.

Funeral Service: 3 PM Saturday, June 27, 2020, at Zion-Sarpsborg Free Lutheran Church, Dalton.  For those unable to attend, a live stream of Johnny’s service will be available on his memorial page at

Clergy: Reverend Todd Hylden

Military Honors:  Ashby American Legion Post #357

Interment: Bethel Lutheran Cemetery, rural Battle Lake

Online Guestbook:



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June 26, 2020

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Glende-Nilson Funeral Home (Ashby)
107 Main Street
Ashby, Minnesota 56309

Funeral Service
June 27, 2020

3:00 PM
Zion-Sarpborg Free Lutheran
208 N, Dalton, MN 56324
DALTON, MN 56324


Bethel Lutheran Church
34258 140th Street
Battle Lake, MN 56515

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