Forstrom, Kelly Jan. 18, 1929 - Nov. 17, 2015 Kelly Forstrom, 86, of Venice, Florida and Spicer, Minnesota was born on January 18, 1929 in Kandiyohi County to Herman and Rose Forstrom. He died November 17, 2015 at Rice Memorial Hospice of natural causes. His Christian funeral will be on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 11:00 am at Bethel Lutheran Church, 411 Becker Ave. SW, Willmar, Minnesota. Visitation will be from 9:30 am until the time of the service at the church. Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar.
Memorials preferred to Bethel Lutheran Church. He was marked with the cross of Christ through baptism and confirmed in the Christian faith at Bethel Lutheran Church. In 1947 he graduated from Willmar Public High School. After graduation, he began working as a teller at First National Bank of Willmar (now US BANK). Kelly was called to active duty with the Minnesota National Guard in January, 1951. He served in combat to contain the spread of communism in the
until May, 1952. His service was in the United States 8th Army, Second Infantry Division, 23rd Infantry Regiment, Third Battalion, Head Quarters Company. He was in charge of the forward ammunition dump for his Battalion. Kelly was promoted in the battlefield several times and at age 20 he earned the rank of Master Sergeant. He exited his military experience in 1953 as a First Lieutenant. Kelly also served as commander of the Willmar National Guard station until 1954. On July 25, 1952, Kelly returned to work at First National Bank of Willmar. He was then employed as the bank's assistant cashier. On July 25, 1953 he married Norma Thram of Lamberton, Minnesota at Bethel Lutheran Church. In December, 1955 Kelly, Norma and son, Philip, moved to Clara City, Minnesota as they began purchasing stock in Citizens State Bank of Clara City (now Citizens Alliance Bank). Later, he became President and Chairman of the Board. By 1964 he had acquired 100% of the bank's stock as well as the stock of Citizens State Insurance Agency. In 1955 when Kelly started at Citizens State Bank the total assets of the bank were $3 million. In 1964, Kelly, along with four other Willmar businessmen and friends (Thomas B. Torgerson, Barney Nelson, George Hulstrand Sr. and Oscar Johnson), became a one-fifth charter shareholder of Citizens National Bank of Willmar (now Heritage Bank, NA). He was initially president of the bank and remained Chairman of the Board from its inception until the bank was sold in 1979. In 1967, Kelly and Thomas B. Torgerson purchased the First State Bank of Lake Lillian (now a branch of Citizens Alliance Bank). In 1973, he co-founded and developed the Holiday Inn in Willmar with Thomas B. Torgerson. In 1978, Kelly and his cousin, Duane H. Lindgren, co-founded First State Marketing Corporation (FSMC) of Lake Lillian. FSMC was the nation's largest processor of consumer rebate checks and WIC (Women, Infant and Children) drafts. He was the Chairman of the Board for both the First State Bank of Lake Lillian and FSMC until FSMC was sold to Travelers Group in 1997 and the bank was sold to Citizens Alliance Bank in 2006. In 1983, Kelly became Chairman of the Board of Forstrom Bancorporation Inc, a parent bank holding company of Citizens whose subsidiary also included Security State Bank of Howard Lake (acquired in 1982) (now also a branch of Citizens Alliance Bank). During his career as an independent community banker, Kelly also acquired Americana State Bank of Clara City (1988), and Security State Bank of Maynard (1989). He and his wife, Norma, resigned from active participation in Forstrom Bancorporation Inc. and its subsidiary entities on December 31, 1990. Kelly was a member of the Lions Club of Clara City, Elks in Willmar, Ducks Unlimited, the independent community bank group, the Gopher Exchange Club, and the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota. He also taught Sunday School and served on the church board of Immanuel Lutheran Church of Clara City. He had a passion for creating success as his 'own boss' as an independent businessman. Kelly was motivated by the challenges and opportunities of capitalism. He was born into the economic hardships of the Great Depression. He never forgot the lessons learned during those lean times. Daily, he was grateful for being in business for himself. Kelly especially enjoyed working with the farmers around the Clara City area. He had enormous respect for their abilities and integrity. Throughout his life, Kelly enjoyed hunting and fishing with family and friends. He also liked traveling with his wife of 62 years. He valued his time with friends that he made while spending winters in Venice, Florida and summers relaxing on Green Lake in Spicer. He enjoyed gardening, other yard tasks and walking the family dog, Pebbles, who will miss him dearly. He looked forward to the autumn leaves, duck hunting on the Florida Sloughs and treasured great conversations in front of the fire at 'The Shack.' Those who knew him will remember he liked things done 'right' and liked them done 'on time.' He was not afraid to work and knew how to save! Ambition more than compensated for what he lacked in advanced education. He believed strongly in the concept of self-fulfillment. Kelly often said, 'If you take care of the businesses, they will take care of you.' He led by example and with conviction. He savored mentoring his four sons in the dynamics of independent business and held many lessons on entrepreneurialism around the dining room table. Kelly was the epitome of a kind patriarch. Kelly is survived by his wife, Norma, three sons and their families: Philip (Marsha), Perry (Erin) & John (Janet); grandchildren: Alison (Marco) Cruz, Amanda (Joe) Mellon, Ashley Forstrom, Nicole Forstrom, Zachary Forstrom, Olivia & Amelia Forstrom, Alex Forstrom; great grandson, Antonio Cruz; sisters-in-law, Mae Forstrom and Shirley Thram as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by father, Herman (1982); mother, Rose (1997); brother, Herlon (1999); son, Paul C. (2001); and granddaughter, Lauren Kelly Forstrom (2003). The entire Forstrom family would like to express our sincere gratitude to William Galvan, the 24/7 in-home caregiver who left the comforts of San Diego to care for our parents' needs these past 20 months.