Kyle Norman Wolfe was born March 14, 1959 to Dale and Charlotte (Christian) Wolfe in Kiester, MN and was joined by sister, Nona, 4 years later. Kyle took his last flight on February 12, 2021 after an impactful life which was cut short by pancreatic cancer.
Kyle was born with an adventurous spirit. He was introduced to snowmobiles, airplanes and a love of the great outdoors from the start. Kyle grew up working at his father's service station, East Side Motors, where he learned to fix everything, put things back where they belong and the ability to converse with everyone. As soon as he earned his driver's license, he asked Becky Kruger on a date. She earned his heart including 10 years of courtship, 36 years of marriage and was his co-pilot for life. He graduated from Kiester High School where he played football, was in the National Honor Society, was a leader in many activities and played a decent trombone.
Kyle chose Winona State University for scholastic enrichment..... and the fact that the hills surrounding the river town were a playground to many outdoor adventures and afternoon hunts. While studying for college courses he also studied and earned his private pilot license.
Graduating a quarter early with three job offers, he chose Federated Insurance in Owatonna as his employer and promised to give it a two year try. This April would mark 40 years of employment and the number of colleagues who became valued friends is impossible to count. He continued to enjoy work as a business analyst into his last week on earth.
Kyle's love of aviation drew him on a quest to find the airplane just like the one Dad Wolfe owned for much of his life. A vintage Cessna 170B became Kyle and Becky's baby and opened the airways to a host of special friends. Magical memories include weekend flights to area fly-in breakfasts, a monthly "Third Thursday Burger Burn" and of course, camping under the wing at Oshkosh.
Someone invited the kid from Fed to the Owatonna Gun Club and it became part of the fabric of his life. He was a keen trap shooter and helped make the Gun Club tick. He was a board member for over 35 years. His impact on young shooters was profound and he treasured his time as a high school clay target team coach.
As hard as Kyle worked, his passion for the outdoors was greater. He looked forward to each new season with the anticipation of a giddy child. He cherished the new growth in the woods while waiting for a gobble and the challenging climb of a mountain trek in anticipation of a bugle. He knew the pain of a fall from a tree stand, but it dulled to the anticipation of the next quest. Kyle beamed with pride with each steady point of his pup, Jada. His fellowship with his hunting buddies was one of the most precious gifts he possessed. Even with chemo 2x a month, he achieved 90 days in the field in his final season of life. Weekends at the Whitewater cabin were more cherished than any exotic vacation.
He earned the title of Uncle Kyle and wore it proudly. Driving the yellow Easter Egg car (Izetta) to get ice cream or flying many children in his plane for their first plane ride brought as much joy to Kyle as it did to the youth. Throngs of people called him Uncle Kyle, even those not related. His scary campfire stories are legendary and led to sleepless nights for many little kids!
Wherever Kyle went, he made a significant impact on PEOPLE and his contributions include the Owatonna Gun Club Board, Wee Pals Board, Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, Owatonna Airport Commission, Federated Employees Credit Union Board of Directors Chair, Big Brother Mentor (Big Brothers Big Sisters), Owatonna Clay Target Team Coach and Board of Directors.
Blessed to be his family are his wife and best friend, Becky, Sister and brother-in-law, Nona and Tom Nesseth, nieces Clara and Celia Charlotte Nesseth. He is also survived by brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Raymond Kruger, Ron and Gail Kruger, Pam and Pat Cordova, and Mike and Dawn Kruger. Nieces and nephews Josh (Paige) Kruger, Chelsey (Zach) Hegge and Alex Kruger.
As Kyle's season comes to a close, cherish the camaraderie, his oversized grin and the adventures you shared. Kyle LIVED life. Kyle always returned things in better condition than when he borrowed them. It seems he left all of us better than he found us. Smile when you hear an owl hoot or someone tell a scary campfire story. Honk when you drive past the cabin or rock your wings as you do a flyover. Smile when you yell, "pull" for a target. Remember him when you hear a rooster cackle or an ice cube clink in a glass of whisky.
As a fellow pilot bid farewell, "Blue Skies and Tailwinds, my friend!"
A private service is planned, and a celebration of life will be held as the Spring season of rebirth unfolds. In place of sending flowers, please donate to charities important to Kyle: the Owatonna Foundation, Owatonna Clay Target Team, Allina Health Hospice Foundation (Owatonna Designation), Kiester Fire Department or Kiester Ambulance. Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Wolfe family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
"Becky, our prayers are with you. We enjoyed our times together and hearing of your hunting adventures. You will shed many a tear, and even a chuckle or two as you think of all the goods you enjoyed together....just needed a few more years of those good times. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Gary & Karen Tobiason."
"Kyle was one of those people you meet, like, and never forget! He was a member of The International Cessna 170 Association, and he and Becky made a lot of long-time friends in the Association. Many will miss him. I will miss him."
"I am deeply saddened to learn of Kyle's passing. I met Kyle through the Owatonna Gun Club and always enjoyed talking to, and seeing him at the club. He will be greatly missed. Sincere condolences to you, Becky. "
"I met Kyle through his work on the Steele Soil and Water Conservation District Board. He was always uplifting people. He was smart, funny, caring, compassionate, and always upbeat. I never once heard him complain. As someone who went through cancer treatment that amazed me. I will miss him."
"Kyle was such a generous man. He was always willing to lend a hand. Kyle was a great friend and neighbor and was always smiling. We miss him. Becky, we are praying for you and your family.
Jerry, JoAnne, John, and Briana Hartmann"
I was deeply saddened to hear about Kyle's passing....my heart goes out to you.
"So sorry for your loss Becky and family. Kyle was a kind soul and I know he will be missed. Lots of good memories with him back in Kiester."
"I am so sorry to hear of Kyle's passing. I have many memories of Kyle, Dale, my dad Maynerd, and many other assorted characters some gone and some still with us down at East Side Motors. On my first deer hunting trip up north Kyle and I were assigned to dig the latrine hole for the Wolfe Den in the frozen ground. We were told it was too small by the elders in our crew. We were not surprised it did not meet expectations. It was still quite an adventure.
Take care of yourself.
"Kyle's passing leaves a huge hole in the heart of all who knew him and I count myself fortunate to have been one of those. He served faithfully on the Board of Directors for Cannon River Watershed Partnership in his role as SWCD Supervisor and when I was thrown into the Interim Executive Director role, he was a steady presence and supportive voice I learned quickly to be grateful for. I knew I was on the right track when he would flash me that smile and when he would raise his voice in support of my baby steps as I walked into a leadership role. I had him as an excellent example to look up to and I am very sad his light has gone out from this world. Sending sincere condolences and sympathy to you, Becky and your extended family and friends. "
"Becky- I was in shock when I found this obituary of Kyle. He was a GREAT human being. It was a sincere please to have him as one of my supervisors at the Soil and Water Conservation Office. When you both invited staff to your home for a Christmas party was awesome. Becky if you ever want to talk just call. He will be missed by everyone so much. Take care."
"Hi Becky--I'm very sorry to hear of Kyle's passing. I didn't know kyle very well but always enjoyed visiting wiith you at the Stanton fly.in I also enjoyed my association with you at Cybex. You have my sympathies. Virlyn Molmen"
"We are so sorry to hear of Kyle?s passing Becky.
Thinking about his contagious smile and our many Credit UnIon memories! His obituary is a wonderful tribute to him!
Prayers to you and family,
Jane and Dave Ihrke"
You and all of Kyle's family will be in our prayers. God bless and keep you all.
Dale & Charlotte Elvebak"
"Thinking of you and Nona at this time. What a full life you two have had over the years since High School. I'm sure you'll have many fond memories. Take care.
Audrey and Mike"
"We loved hearing his voice when in the hanger and his fly in visits. We will miss his kind gentle spirit.. John and Colleen Beal"
"Sorry for your loss, Becky. Holding you in thoughts and prayers.
"Becky, Sending our deepest sympathy from a fellow trapshooter! Bob & Shirley Newman "
"Becky - Kyle was a GREAT guy! I have way too many memories to list here. Just know that he touched so many lives and will be greatly missed. He made the world a better place. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.. Keith and Norma Back"
"Becky, our condolences and prayers are with you. I remember Kyle's kindness when he helped newbies like me at the Gun club during our company offsite event.
May God give you the strength and courage to overcome this loss.
"My Sincere condolences. May God strengthen and comfort you during this difficult times."
"Prayers for you and the family during this difficult time. You are both shining examples of how we should live our lives. Thank you for the inspiration Becky and Kyle. "
"Kyle was such a good businessman and planner--but better than that, he was one of those people that are JUST FUN TO BE AROUND! He was universally of good cheer, and I always enjoyed his company around the Owatonna Airport.
"My sincere thoughts and prayers are with you Becky, Nona and family!! Kyle was one of the kindest guys I've ever met. He truly brought joy to all around him and will be truly missed, but never forgotten!!! Hugs to you all!"
"Kyle was a great man, worked with Kyle on Cabelas trap shoot for several years. Deepest sympathy to the family.
We were so sad to hear about Kyle?s passing. He always had a smile, a story, & that contagious laugh to share with everyone. We will miss seeing him at the airport, his second home. He had an adventurous spirit and keen sense of humor. Our thoughts & prayers are with you & your family from Arizona.
Donald & Karen Myers"