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Bartholomew John Fena

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Bartholomew John Fena’s family gave him many names, most famously “Boots” and “Bartski”  and “Lalow,” the last because his younger siblings could not quite pronounce his full name. His  kind and gentle soul was born into the world on July 26, 1961, the eighth child in our large  family. Bart Died in his sleep on June 11, 2021 in Proctor, MN.  His absence leaves a hole in our hearts.

Sadly, as a very young adult, Bart began a life-long struggle with mental illness which started in  the spring of his freshman year at the College of St. Thomas in 1980. Several years later, his  illness was compounded by a serious seizure disorder. Finally, in early 2020, he was diagnosed  with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, which caused his death. He would have been 60 years old next  month.

Throughout his life, Bart was engaged in family and community life. He was a playful brother  who loved a good joke, a proud and generous uncle, a loving and devoted son. To his high  school friends, Bart was known as “Bulldog” because of his short stature and great strength. He  was the strongest man per pound on the HHS 1978 state qualifying football team. He carried a  strong work ethic throughout his life, willingly moving rocks, splitting and piling wood,  shoveling after a snowstorm, crushing cans and offering to lend a hand as long as he could. He  visited cousins and family members in the hospital. He collected coins and antiques. When he  was 16 years old, he spent the summer making and selling wild blueberry pies with his sister  Sue for a resort at Side Lake.

Bart graduated from Hibbing High School, was accepted at the college of St. Thomas and  completed an Associate of Arts degree in accounting practices at Vermillion Community college  in May, 1985. He was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hibbing where he  served as an altar boy. He held to his Catholic faith and attended St. Raphael’s parish in Pike  Lake. Much of his adult life was spent in the Duluth area. He owned a home in Morgan Park for  several years, lived at Seville House in Saginaw, and most recently, he lived at Lifestone Assisted  Living Center in Proctor.

Bart was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Kay Fena of Hibbing. He is survived by his  brothers: Jim Fena, Hibbing; Peter Fena and Andrew Fena (Libby), Duluth; and Christopher  Fena, Stillwater; and sisters: Marianna Nelson, Minneapolis; Lynn Fena (Jerry Bakke) and Susan  Fena (Lee Holte), Duluth; Sally Fena, Kansas City, MO; Margaret Coldwell (Bill), Excelsior; Mary  Ann Benke (David), Gilbert, AZ, and many nieces, nephews and cousins who knew him well.

Our family appreciates the support and care Bart received over the years from community  support programs in our area and in particular the kindness of staff at Lifestone in Proctor  through the particularly difficult days of the pandemic during the last year. We are grateful as  well for the Northern Minnesota ALS Support Group services available to our family. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, June 17, 2021 at the  Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Hibbing, MN at 12:00PM. The  Reverend Father Gabriel Waweru will preside over services. Visitation will  take place one hour prior to the mass at church at 11:00AM. Interment will take place on Friday, June 18, 2021  at the Chisholm Cemetery at 10:00AM.

Arrangements are with the Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing.   In lieu of  flowers, donations to the Northern Minnesota ALS Association are recommended,  www.alsmn.org.

Visit Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing website to leave a message of condolence.

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