Carlyn George Kraabel died at his farm south of Spring Grove, Minn., on June 7, 2023, following complications from congestive heart failure. The oldest of five boys, Carlyn was born on June 19, 1942, in Belgrade, Minn. He attended country school and graduated from Belgrade High School in 1960. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, he met Janet Williams and they were married on August 24, 1969. They both attended the University of Minnesota, where Carlyn graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education.
Carlyn began his teaching career in Caledonia, Minn., where he taught for four years before going to Mabel-Canton – a position he expected to be in for one year and ended up staying for 12. He completed his 30-year teaching career at Fillmore Central High School in Harmony, where he was recruited to start a Vo-Ag and FFA program. During his time at Fillmore Central, he shared his passion for history and the Civil War – leading senior class trips to Gettysburg, Williamsburg and Washington, D.C. He was a natural teacher who really enjoyed interacting with students and parents.
After retiring from teaching, Carlyn worked for Legacy Tour & Travel in Decorah, Iowa, building the student tour program in southeastern Minnesota, Iowa and western Wisconsin. He continued to lead groups and develop tours until the age of 77.
In his community, Carlyn was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church, serving as congregation president and Chair of the Trinity Cemetery Association. He also served on the Spring Grove School Board, the Tweeten Apartment Board and as finance officer for Legion Post 249.
In addition to teaching, Carlyn was engaged in farming in Wilmington Township, where he raised his family and lived for 51 years. His farm was a source of pride and his favorite place. Carlyn’s family will always remember – his talent for weaving stories, his chuckle at a good joke, his joy exploring country roads and his love.
Carlyn is survived by his wife Janet, of 53 years; his daughters Alisa (Jay) Braaten, Krista (Daniel Palmer) Kraabel, and Erica (Adam) Falkner; and grandchildren Graham, Annika, Myles and Violet; and brothers David (Cheryl), Bruce (Fredrica), and Mark (Christie).
Carlyn was preceded in death by his parents Victor and Harriet, an infant sister, Virginia; and brother Harvey (Julie).
Visitation will be at Trinity Lutheran Church on Thursday, July 27 from 5-7 p.m., followed by a celebration of Carlyn’s life on Friday, July 28 at 1 p.m. The Mengis Funeral Home in Mabel is assisting with arrangements.