Daniel Koester

Daniel Malcolm Koester, age 69, passed away on Saturday, December 16, 2017, with his family by his side. Dan, the son of Malcolm and Ruth (Nelsen) Koester, was born on December 13, 1948, in Northfield. He was raised on the family farm near Dennison and graduated from Northfield High School in 1967—just recently attending his 50th class reunion.
Dan was an active member of Rice County 4-H and the Big Giants Club, receiving Rice County Outstanding Junior Leader and the I Dare You award. A parliamentary tactician, Dan was “Mr. Robert’s Rules of Order”, and honed his early leadership skills conducting Rice County 4-H Federation meetings. He was a founding member of the Minnesota Jr. Hereford Association and attended many American Jr. Hereford Association (AJHA) events in Kansas City.
After high school, he attended the University of Minnesota and majored in animal science. He was President of the St. Paul Board of Colleges in 1970-71, was awarded the A.M. Freeman Student Leadership Medal, and introduced Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug at the reception given in his honor. As a member of the College Republicans, he worked on many campaigns. For 17 years, his family was committed to the University of Minnesota Agriculture Foreign Exchange Program, bringing more than 25 students from Europe, New Zealand and South Africa to the farm during the summer months.
While at college, Dan met Karen Wetter who was a Bailey Hall resident advisor. They were married May 19, 1972, and together they returned to the family farm, GVF Herefords. For many years, Dan worked early mornings at the South St. Paul stockyards as a hog buyer. Dan and Karen enjoyed being together, whether it was showing cattle, being active 4-H adult leaders, drives along the Mississippi, overnights at La Crosse, cutting the annual Christmas tree, collecting Hereford art, or attending national Hereford activities, particularly AJHA Expos.
In 1977, Dan and Karen welcomed their first daughter, Audra. She was a joy to Dan who loved Herefords, too. Barbie joined her big sister in 1980 and would ultimately become Dan’s right-hand man. Though Dan respected their femininity, he raised them to do all the things boys were expected to do on the farm. While he was tremendously proud of his daughters, his family would tell you the role he was most suited to play was dad—the best dad. He relished in his promotion of becoming Grandpa to Vivian (5), Dean (4), and Thomas (2). In particular, he and Dean were “best buddies”, spending many days of the week colluding and conspiring together.
Dan loved showing Herefords, particularly at the MN State Fair, and did so for 42 years missing only one year (a most unbearable experience). In 2009, Dan was honored by the American Hereford Association with The Golden Hereford Breeder medallion for fifty years as a Hereford breeder. Dan remained active in Rice County 4-H, being named Outstanding Adult Leader in 1988 and receiving the 4-H Alumni Award in 1994. Additionally, he was a board member of the Rice County Agricultural Society and a member of the State 4-H Livestock Project Development Committee. Dan was active in the Dennison Lutheran Church council.
In the past year, he had endured and conquered a number of health issues. On the day of his accident, he was happy and feeling great, compiling an organized itinerary of the cattle work that was to be done the next day.
He is survived by his wife, Karen; daughters Audra Koester (David) Thomas of Fountain Hills, AZ, and Barbara Koester-Amy (Ryan) of Dennison; grandchildren Vivian Koester Thomas, Dean Malcolm Amy, and Thomas William Amy; sister Sharon Wolseth of Aurora, CO; many nieces, nephews, and cousins, as well as other relatives, cattle friends, and neighbors. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services will be Friday, December 22, 2017, beginning at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield with Reverend Paul Graham officiating. Visitation will be Thursday, December 21, 2017, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bierman Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service in the church. Burial will be at Prairie Creek Cemetery. Arrangements by Bierman Funeral Home. biermanfuneralhome.com

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