Leo George Van Minsel, 85, of Spring Grove, died Aug. 8, 2013, at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis.

He was born Oct. 22, 1927, in Buffalo City, Wis., to August and Elsie (Doebbert) Van Minsel. He was baptized as an infant at St. Martin's Lutheran Church in Winona and later confirmed his faith at St. John's Lutheran Church in Caledonia.

He attended school in Buffalo City through the eighth grade. When his mother died at a young age, he worked at various jobs to help his dad care for his younger siblings. 

He spent two years in the U.S. Army serving in Korea during the Korean Conflict. After returning home, he worked for Janesville Transport.

On Jan. 1, 1956, he met the love of his life, Elaine Haugstad. They were married Nov. 11, 1956, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Spring Grove. After returning from a wedding trip to California, the couple settled in rural Spring Grove, where they farmed and were blessed with 13 children, eight sons and five daughters.

Mr. Van Minsel hauled local milk to Spring Grove Creamery, worked at Roverud Construction, set monuments for Odell Lee Monument Co. and was a DHIA milk tester. 

He and his wife loved to travel. They would find someone to milk the cows and load up the kids (and often grandkids) and drive to the East or West Coast, visiting Disney parks and Vegas along the way. In 1977 and 1979 they were chaperones for the Spring Grove class trip to Washington, D.C. They had a memorable vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico, in 2006, and in 2012, they enjoyed a trip to Miami, Fla.

He also enjoyed Twins baseball, playing bingo and watching children and grandchildren participate in sporting events. 

He is survived by his wife, Elaine; 12 children, Roger (Sue) of Adams, Karen (Jim) Hitchins of Lansing, Iowa, Lois (Adam) Guberud of Mabel, Sue (Robert) Heiller of Lakeville, Minn., Brian (Michelle) of Spring Grove, Robert of La Crosse, Deb (Tim) Brumm of Mabel, Jon of Spring Grove, Gary (Lia) of Spring Grove, Scott (Jacqui) of Spring Grove, Jody (Jared) Church of Minnesota City and Jeremy (Nichole) of Oak Creek, Wis.; 39 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren with two more on the way; three brothers, Kenny (Carol), Earl (Marijean) and Howard (Arlene); one sister, Arvilla Burmeister; one stepsister, Charlene Hansen; one brother-in-law, Truman Haugstad; and two sisters-in-law, Edith Nerstad and Carmona Wiste.

He was preceded in death by his fourth child, Donnie; a grandson, Kaleb Hitchins; his parents; his stepmother, Elsie (Olson) Van Minsel; two brothers, Alan and Clarwin (Jack); his father and mother-in-law, Julius and Emma Haugstad; sisters and brothers-in-law, Hazel and Arnold Moen, Marjorie and Arthur Moen, James Nerstad and Arvid Wiste; and a stepbrother-in-law, Bernie Hansen.

Friends may call Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Roble Guneral Home in Spring Grove and one hour prior to services at the church on Wednesday. Funeral services will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Spring Grove. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Military rites will be provided by American Legion Post #249 of Spring Grove.