Stanley Richard Defries of Mankato, MN passed away at the age of 79, Monday, February 27th, 2023 surrounded by his loving family. Stan was born in Windom, MN on November 2nd, 1943 to Richard and Dorothy (Smith) Defries of Windom. Stan was the middle child of three and the best brother to his sisters Barb and Janelle. After attending grammar school in Windom, the family briefly moved to Cosmos before settling in Dawson, MN where Stan attended high school, graduating in 1961.
While in Dawson, Stan met the love of his life, Beverly Hoyum, and the high school sweethearts were married April 20th, 1963. Stan continued to Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis where he studied refrigeration. After graduating Dunwoody in 1963, Stan and Bev settled in Mankato, MN where he found a job working for Don Wills Countryside Refrigeration.
Stan and Bev had two children, Bruce and Brenda. Stan and Bev purchased Countryside Refrigeration in 1968 and worked hard to grow and expand the business. They added residential and commercial heating services to eventually become Countryside Refrigeration and Heating. Stan, Bev and their son Bruce ran the business successfully for many years, supporting their own family and the families of many employees until they retired and sold Countryside in 2021.
Stan led an incredibly active life with many passions including bowling, softball, golf and traveling in their motor home. But chief among his passions were hunting and racing. Stan was an avid outdoorsman and skilled bow hunter supporting the Mankato Bow Benders for many years. He took many trips out West in search of trophy elk, but most of all enjoyed time with family and friends during the annual deer hunting trip up north at the cabin on Long Lost Lake.
Stan started stock car dirt track racing in 1965, quickly becoming a fixture at tracks in St Peter, Fairmont, Redwood, and Jackson, MN. His first car was an orange 1934 Ford coupe which quickly became known as “The Pumpkin Special.” Stan had many cars over the years always featuring #15 and weekends at the track became a Defries family tradition. The tradition has been carried on by his son Bruce, his grandchildren, and even great grandchildren, who are now racing Go Karts. The Defries family was active for many years at the Arlington Raceway supporting the track in many ways through sponsorships and various other activities.
Anyone who knew Stan recognized what a generous and giving person he was. He was willing to help anyone in need and demonstrated his generosity in so many ways. He continually supported friends and family, his employees, and many organizations in the Mankato Community. As a member of Sons of the America Legion, he was an active supporter of the Legion Post 518 and he was recently honored as Member of the Month.
Stan will always be remembered for his smile, his hearty laugh, and his fierce pride and love for his family. Stan was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Dorothy Defries, brothers-in-law Dunc Grimm and Rodney Miller and sister-in-law Joyce Lindquist. He is survived by his wife Bev Defries; his children Bruce (Becky) Defries and Brenda (Mark) Christenson; sisters Barb Miller and Janelle Grimm; grandchildren Travis (Calla) Defries and Heather Defries (Conner Meyer), Kayleigh Christenson, Alexa Christenson and Erin Christenson; great grandchildren Kendrah Lamont, Kaylyn Defries, Jaxson Defries, Evie Hecker, Vivian Defries and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
A visitation will be held Thursday March 2nd from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at Woodland Hills Funeral Home, 1605 Woodland Avenue. Services will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 720 South 2nd Street on Friday, March 3rd at 11:00am, with a brief visitation starting at 10:00am the same day. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Post 518 American Legion, or donor’s choice.
Recording of Memorial Service is available to watch (copy and paste link below)