December 21, 2017 at 12:56 p.m.
John Charles Ploetz was born on December 4, 1942 in Winona, Minnesota. He was the oldest of six children born to Lester and Marcella (Herrick) Ploetz and raised on a farm outside St. Charles, Minnesota, where he attended high school and excelled in football, basketball, and baseball. Following graduation, he attended St. Thomas University until he was drafted into the United States Army. He proudly served his country in Vietnam from 1966-1967 as a topographical surveyor in the 66th Engineering Company. Upon his honorable discharge, he was employed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In 1969, he met and married Joanne Lofgren and they made their home in New Hope, Minnesota. In 1976, they moved to the Harris area and ultimately purchased and operated Lofgren Trucking Service in Rush City for 30 years.
They raised their three children Corey, Christina, and Craig on Fish Lake. He was a devoted father, spending innumerable hours on the lake with his children and their friends. He and Joanne attended many sporting events to watch their children play in high school and college.
After selling the company in 2005, John continued to utilize his excellent driving skills as a medical courier, and was currently working as a driver for Heartland Express.
He served as the commander for the Harris American Legion Post 139, which provided military honors for funerals of veterans and Memorial Day services to commemorate the fallen. In this position he was able to engage veterans and impact many lives. His leadership skills will be missed by many. John was also a member of the North Branch VFW, and a lifetime member of VVA - Vietnam Veterans of America.
More recently he enjoyed being a grandfather and embraced the opportunity to begin water skiing lessons for a new generation. He also took on the added challenge of giving driving lessons to his granddaughters.
Big John’s 6’4” frame was dwarfed by the kindness of his heart, the breadth of compassion, and the depth of his character. He positively influenced all he met and will be missed by all who knew him.
John is survived by his wife of 48 years Joanne Ploetz of Harris; children Corey (Michelle) Ploetz of Henderson, Nevada, Christina (Ken) Hughes of Rochester, Indiana and Craig (Rachel) Ploetz of Hermantown; grandchildren: Garrett and Grant Ploetz, Catherine, Blake, Emily Hughes, Lindsey and Zach Ploetz; sisters Ellen (Mike) Roles of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, Anne (Bob) Page of Winona, Chris (Martha Mutch) Ploetz of Roseville; brother Julius (Kay) Ploetz of Andover; sister-in-law Linnea Lofgren; many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents Lester and Marcella Ploetz; brother Joseph Ploetz; father-in-law and mother-in-law Robert and Inez Lofgren and brother-in-law David Lofgren.
Pastor Jon Yurk and Deacon Jerry Dufeck officiated funeral services Thursday, Dec. 14 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in North Branch. Visitation and reviewal was Wednesday, Dec. 13 from 4-8 PM at the Olson Funeral Chapel in Rush City and also one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment took place at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.
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