Services for Erling Lian

Erling Lian, 84, of Thief River Falls, MN and Gatzke, MN passed away on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at Sanford Medical Center, Thief River Falls, MN.

Visitation will be held from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM with a 5:00 PM prayer service on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, MN. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to the funeral at United Lutheran Church in Gatzke.

The funeral to celebrate Erling’s life will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, February 17, 2020 at United Lutheran Church in Gatzke, MN with Rev. Timothy Lundeen officiating. Burial will follow at Moose River Cemetery in Gatzke, MN.

Erling Herman Lian was born on October 6, 1935 in a log cabin near Gatzke, MN the son of Herman and Ethel (Johnson) Lian. He was baptized into the Lutheran faith and confirmed at United Lutheran Church in Gatzke. He attended school in Gatzke.

Following high school, Erling moved to Minneapolis, MN where he worked different jobs including Land-O-Lakes and Applegrens Service Station.

On September 4, 1955 Erling was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Mary Finnerud, in Minneapolis.  They made their home in Minneapolis until 1970 when they moved to California with their family of five children. He worked at Alcorn Fence as a mechanic and welder.

In the fall of 1989 Erling and Mary moved to Thief River Falls where they have since resided. He went to work at Arctic Cat until his retirement. He also had rental properties in Thief River Falls which kept him busy with carpentry work.

He loved spending time with his family and friends and he spent hours playing Rook. He loved the outdoors and in his younger years, enjoyed camping, hunting and 4-wheeler riding. Home for Erling was always coming to Gatzke to spend time at his land and visiting with his neighbors and friends.

Erling was a social man who loved telling stories, with an intoxicating laugh, and a twinkle in his eye.

He was a member of United Lutheran Church in Gatzke. He enjoyed participating in Gatzke and Grygla Seniors, and meals at the Grain Bin Café in Grygla.

Survivors include children, Darrell (Deborah) Lian of Bremerton, WA, Marilyn McKee of Thief River Falls, Scott (Mary-Beth) Lian of Palmdale, CA, Mike Lian of East Grand Forks, MN; grandchildren, John Lian of Georgia, Cassidy Lian of St. Hilaire, MN, Emilie (Steve) Rons of Simi Valley, CA, Roxana (Sasha) Lian of Seattle, WA, Crystal McKee of Thief River Falls, Melissa McKee of St. Hilaire, MN, Joshua Lian of California, Megan Lian of California; great-grandchildren, Brody, Lily, Chloe, Rylie, Anthony, Chloe, Avery, Amaya, Mary Jane, and Skylar; sister, Marvel Dahl; brother, Keith (Linda) Lian; many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Mary in 2013; son, Richard in 2014; grandson, Jesse James Lian; siblings, Kenneth LeRoy (Darlene) Lian and JoJean (Lee) Ronspiez; and brother-in-law, Arvin Dahl.

Condolences may be sent at


Richards Publishing

P.O. Box 159
239 2nd Ave
Gonvick, MN 56644
Telephone: (218) 487-5225

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