Bernel ReesBernel “Tuffy” Rees, 89, of Two Harbors, died Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, at Bayshore Health Center in Duluth with his family and favorite physician by his side.
Bernel “Tuffy” Rees, 89, of Two Harbors, died Friday, Oct. 29, 2010, at Bayshore Health Center in Duluth with his family and favorite physician by his side.
He was born July 21, 1921, to Merritt and Mary (Hamm) Rees in Valley Junction, Iowa. Tuffy grew up under the care of Ethel and Albin Nelson in Waubun, Minn. He graduated with honors from Waubun High School at age 16.
Tuffy enlisted in the United States Army Air Force in March of 1941. He was an aerial engineer. Part of his unit’s mission was to drop paratroopers and supplies to the troops on the ground. His plane was shot down when flying over Austria. Tuffy and those who survived the crash were captured by German troops. Tuffy was a prisoner of war in Krems, Austria, Stalag 17B, for 22 months. Upon his return from WWII in 1945, Tuffy was employed at the Wild Rice Electric Cooperative in Mahnomen.
Tuffy moved to Two Harbors in 1956 where he was employed at the Co-op Light and Power until his retirement in 1986. He then spent 20 years in Aitkin enjoying his leisure time. Throughout his life, Tuffy was active in local politics, was a Mason and then became a member of the Scottish Rites. He was a member of the VFW, American Legion and the Loyal Order of the Moose. Tuffy enjoyed farming, deer hunting, eating out at various restaurants, having coffee with the guys, and enjoyed countless hours of driving the least traveled roads in the Midwest while viewing the country side.
He is preceded in death by his parents; guardians, Ethel and Albin Nelson; infant daughter, Connie Kim; three sisters and one brother. Tuffy is survived by his daughters, Vicki (Fred) DuFresne of Two Harbors, and Darci Rees of Knife River; grandchildren Michael, Ashton, and Rees; sisters, Myrtle Linn in Iowa and Noelann Brown of Texas; the mother of his children, Delores Rees of Two Harbors; and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank Tuffy’s friends that provided comfort and companionship throughout his latter years. We would also like to express our gratitude for the positive influence and care provided by the staff at Sunrise on Superior assisted living facility, the staff at Bayshore Health Center, and a man that Tuffy had a great deal of respect for, Dr. Howard Josephs. A memorial service and a military observance will be held in his honor at a later date. To sign the online guestbook visit www.cavallinfuneral