Rodney Tonnessen

Rodney Allen Tonnessen, the son of Kenneth and Mary Kay (Lueck) Tonnessen, was born Sept. 1, 1956, in Rugby. He died Wednesday, June 19, 2013, at the age of 56 on his ranch in Denbigh from injuries suffered in an ATV accident while doing what he loved . . . ranching.

Rodney was raised in the rural Denbigh home of his parents and attended the White Rock School until the eighth grade. He completed his education at Towner High School, where he was very active in F.F.A., graduating there in 1974. Following high school, Rodney worked on various ranches, including the Gerald and Allan Genetzky ranches, the Edward’s Ranch, the Eaton Ranch and for David and Vera Fairbrother Farms. He also worked for Bechtold Excavating and the North Dakota Highway Department.

On June 9, 1978, he was united in marriage to Jaclyn “Jacki” Anfinson at Norway Lutheran Church near Denbigh. The couple have made their home, ranched and raised their family in the Denbigh/Towner area. Family was the most important part of his life, dearly loving his inseparable partner, Jacki, and extremely proud of his children. A special blessing to him was being called “Papa” by Gracyn Kay and Koy Levi.

He was a member of the N.D. Stockmen’s Association, the Towner Ranchers Scale Association, the Badlands Professional Bullriders Association, the American Quarter Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the North Dakota Ranch Horse Association and Zion Lutheran Church. He had a great passion for horses and bucking bulls.

Survivors include: his wife, Jaclyn; daughter, Tasha (Levi) Johnson, and son, Tanner, all of Towner; grandchildren, Gracyn and Koy Johnson; father, Kenneth Tonnessen (Bev Lynch) of Towner; brothers, Terry (Pam), of Towner, and Scott (Jeanne), of Kerrville, Texas; sister, Karen (Randy) Jensen, of Soldotna, Alaska; brothers-in-law, Dr. C.M. Smith, of Minot and Chester (Marti) Anfinson, of Casper, Wyo.; sisters-in-law, Jeanette (Bob) Brothers, of Minot, and Judy Leggett, of Independence, Mo.; aunts, uncles, numerous nieces, nephews; other relatives and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Kay; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Chester and Stella Anfinson; a sister-in-law, Janice Smith; and his grandparents.

Funeral services: Will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, June 24, at Zion Lutheran Church in Towner, with burial in the Granville Community Cemetery at 3 p.m., with Wally Fretland and Pastor Linda Wimmer, officiating.

Visitation: Will be from 2 to 5 p.m. today, June 23, at the Anderson Funeral Home in Towner. Visitation will continue for one hour prior to the time of services at the church on Monday.

Pianist: Mandy Hall.

Music By: Joyful Noise; Mary Ann (Larson) Wahl, Rex Larson and Vernon Larson.

Casket Bearers: John Rognlien, Larry Piatz, Shane Gunderson, Jim Hystad, Richard Berndt, Hal Kramer, Rod Hiatt, Allan Genetzky and spouses.

Arrangements with the Anderson Funeral Home of Towner. Online registry: (

Anderson Funeral Homes of Rugby and Towner.