Denis R. Haefner was born on November 4, 1928, to John and Clara (Scheurer) Haefner in Mankato, MN. Denis Haefner was a 1946 graduate of Loyola High School. After graduation, Denis attended Mankato Commercial College studying bookkeeping. He volunteered for the U.S. Army in
January 1951. Denis married Phyllis Meurer of Mankato in June 1951 and then was deployed to Camp Kobe, Japan during the Korean War where he served with distinction.
Upon his return from the Korean War, Denis resumed working in the Blue Earth County's Auditor's Office. With the help of his brother-in-law, Al Bruns, Denis built his and Phyllis' first house on Monks Avenue. In 1957, he was appointed Supervisor of Assessments for Blue Earth County. In 1963, while Supervisor of Assessments, with five children in tow and two additional part time jobs, Denis earned his baccalaureate degree at Mankato State University.
In 1964, Denis took a position with Northern Natural Gas. This position required that Denis and Phyllis move their family to Omaha, Nebraska. Their family was complete with seven children. Denis and Phyllis moved to Midland, Michigan, in 1971 when Denis was hired by Dow Chemical Company to work in their Tax Department. He was quickly promoted through the Tax Department, resulting in transfers to Houston, Texas and then Lake Jackson, Texas.
In 1985, General Motors recruited Denis to become the Director of Sales, Use and Property Tax. Subsequently, he retired from Dow Chemical as their Western Regional Manager of Property and Sales Tax. Denis, Phyllis, and their youngest child moved to Detroit, Michigan. In 1995, Denis retired from General Motors and Denis and Phyllis moved to Madison Lake, Minnesota.
Unable to sit still for long, Denis started St. Denis' Antiques and Collectibles. In 1996 Denis ran for and was elected Mayor of Madison Lake, MN, enabling him to give more to the community he called home. He served two terms as Mayor working toward smart residential and commercial growth. Denis lived with his life-long companion, Phyllis, in Madison Lake for over 17 years. In November 2012, Denis moved into an assisted care memory facility.
Denis is survived by his wife, Phyllis; seven children, Bridget Haefner (Steve McCurry), John (Mary Lambright), Keith, Paul (Laurie), Christopher (Jennifer), Marybeth (Gregg) Edeen, and Marc; grandchildren, Elizabeth, Katherine, Sam and Simon McCurry, Josh (Amy) Haefner, Sarah (Joe) Sacco, and Kate Haefner (Kevin Healy), Douglas and Eileen Haefner, Ben and Jasmine Haefner, Lawrence, Teresa, and Carl Edeen, and Michael and Jack Haefner; great-grandchildren, Lillian Haefner and Camden Sacco; brothers, Walt (Lee), Harry (Donna), George (Anne), and Eddie (Jean); sisters, Janet Nelson, Dee (Ron) Wright, Ruth Haefner, and Audrey (Dewey) Mettler; and sisters-in-law, Nila Haefner and Susan Meurer.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Ralph, Lester, Stanley, and Clair; sisters, Mary Ann Kudrle and Angie Bruns.
On April 19, 2013, in the presence of the loving caregivers of Laurel's Edge, several of his children, and his wife of 62 years, Denis Roman Haefner passed from this world. He now relaxes in Heaven, undoubtedly keeping everything orderly, filed, catalogued, boxed and labeled.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at All Saints Catholic Church in Madison Lake with Rev. Robert Schneider officiating. Visitation will be on Friday from 4-6 p.m. at Mankato Mortuary with a 4 p.m. prayer service. Visitation will also continue one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at Calvary All Saints Cemetery in Madison Lake. Memorials suggestions: John and Clara Haefner Scholarship Fund at Loyola or All Saints Front Step Project.