Robert "Bob" Dean Applen, 83, of Rochester, died Monday, June 3, 2013, at Maple Manor Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Rochester.

He was born Aug. 19, 1929, in Granger, to William and Laura Applen. He grew up in Granger and attended the country school there. His four-person, first-grade class was taught by the country school teacher, his sister, Alberta. He graduated from Harmony High School in 1947.

Following high school, he worked on the family farm, where he developed an interest in honey-bee keeping. He became an accomplished gardener, and notably kept a large garden that surrounded the Viola Creamery.

On Nov. 1, 1951, he and five of his Granger friends enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He served as an airplane mechanic in the 509th Airborne Division. He was honorably discharged on Nov. 1, 1954.

He worked as a mechanic for Gopher Aviation at the Rochester Airport and Guesthouse, Inc., until his retirement. He later worked at Rochester Central Lutheran School and the Elgin American Legion.

On June 8, 1979, he married Delores Cassidy at the Viola Church.

He was an expert storyteller, and those who knew him, say he painted a vivid picture in their minds using the words of his stories.

He is survived by his wife, Delores of Rochester; a brother, Lauren Applen of Harmony; step-children, Thomas (Carol) Cassidy, Daniel (Wanda) Cassidy, Mark (Cindy) Cassidy, Paul Cassidy and Richard Cassidy, all of Rochester, Marcia (Frank) Greco of Naperville, Ill., and Judy (Tina) of San Diego, Calif.; nephews, Steve (Mary) of Minneapolis, and Scott of Oklahoma; nieces, Sharon Applen of Minneapolis and Sandy (Glen) Alberts of Hanover.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Odrie; and two sisters, Margaret (Samuel) Bigalk and Alberta (William) Kulstad.

A funeral service was held last Saturday in The River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home. Burial was in the St. Matthews Lutheran Cemetery in Granger.

Online condolences are welcome at mackenfuneralhome.com.