Allen “Al” Landa, 81

Allen “Al” Landa, 81, passed away surrounded by his loving family at Sanford Heart Hospital on July 28, 2022.

Al’s funeral service will take place at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on Saturday, August 6, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. Family will be present one hour prior for visitation and there will be a luncheon and fellowship at the conclusion of Al’s funeral before going to Jasper, MN for burial.

Allen “Al” Lawrence Landa was born on March 8, 1941 to Lawrence and Helen (Dynda) Landa in Lowry, MN. He grew up on his parents’ farm and attended school in Glenwood, MN.

Al graduated from South Dakota State University (SDSU) after earning his BA degree in education. In 1964, he married Rose Stavem and they moved to Tracy, MN where Al started teaching in the Tracy School District.

On November 26, 1982, Allen was united in marriage to Janis Gewecke. Al loved to keep busy: Raising sheep on their farm, teaching high school industrial arts, bravely instructing driver’s education and coaching high school sports teams—several which included his sons and granddaughter. Many of his teams went to state year after year. He still could vividly remember each of his student track athletes from his first year to his last plus recall the times and distance of any trackster he coached.

Al and Janis sold the farm and moved into Tracy in 1993. While he missed raising baby lambs, he filled his extra time by building a new family home in 1994.

In 1998, he retired from teaching and was elected to the State of Minnesota Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame in honor of having been a head coach more than 25 years.

With no intention or desire to slow down–Al started and operated his own construction company, building houses and home additions — including two homes for his own family. When the housing market tanked, Al closed the business and began working at Menards as a building estimator in Marshall, MN. Later he transferred to the Sioux Falls store until he retired in 2021.

Al and Janis enjoyed taking cruises, going fishing and sightseeing in Hawaii. When he needed a break, Janis would find Al sitting on a comfortable chair at the hotel or on a ship balcony reading an epic novel and catching a little sun to “deepen” his tan. He was always proud that his tan was darker than Janis’s.

Al loved sports, reading, movies (his favorite was “Jeramiah Johnson”), fishing, tending his smoker, cuddling his granddaughters, and spending precious time with his sons and daughters.

He enjoyed people from every walk of life, easily making new friends wherever he went. He had a good sense of humor and quick wit, known to trigger laughter and eyerolls with some of his “drier than a popcorn fart” not-so-politically-correct observations. He was an athlete at heart and known as a genuinely great guy who treated everyone (including his students) with kindness and respect.

While vacationing in Branson, MO, Al began to experience extreme discomfort and breathing issues. Rushing back to Sioux Falls, Al entered the hospital on Monday, July 25th, 2022. He passed away on Thursday, July 28, 2022, at the Sanford USD Medical Center at the age of 81 years, 4 months, and 20 days.

He is lovingly remembered by his wife, Janis, his sons Todd (Jean) Landa of Tracy, MN and Wade (Sandy) Landa of Currie, MN; daughters Bailey Fossum of Sioux Falls, SD, and Megan (RJ) Hulleman of Alton, IA; sisters, Barb Denhardt and Judy (Denny) Sager; granddaughters, Svea, Skylar, and Remi; sister-in-law, Pamela (Mark) Johnson; and his nieces, nephew and many friends.

He was predeceased by his parents and his brother-in-law Ken Denhardt.