Fred Thomas Elzen, Sr., passed away Thursday, August 2 at home. The prominent Minden businessman was 91.
Elzen, born in May, 1921, was a retired businessman and prominent civic leader in his native Minden.
His parents came to Minden from Syria and reared Elzen, his brother, and five sisters behind their grocery store, which was located on a portion of the site now occupied by the Minden Civic Center.
Elzen graduated from Minden High School in 1939 where he played on the 1939 Minden High School State Championship football team.
He was self-employed as owner of Elzen's Grocery for more than 20 years. He served in the United States Army during World War II.
He was a member of St. Paul Catholic Church and its men's organization, the Knights of Columbus.
In 1952, at the age of 31, Elzen was selected as the Jaycees' "Young Man of the Year." In addition to the Lions Club, he was active in the Minden Riding Club and the Minden High Quarterback Club.
For some two decades, Elzen served as announcer for the MHS football games. Still an avid golfer well into his 80s, Elzen was a decades-long member of the Pine Hills Country Club in Minden.
Elzen was a member of the Minden Volunteer Fire Department and a charter member of the Minden Rescue Squad, on which he served for 40 years.
He was elected four times to the Minden City Council, having served from 1958-1974, when the city operated under the commission form of government. He was public utilities commissioner during the entire terms of mayors Frank T. Norman (1958-1966) and Tom Colten (1966-1974).
On December 4, 2007, Elzen served as grand marshal of the annual Minden Christmas parade sponsored by the Lions Club, of which he is a long-term member.
Elzen once said that he, among his siblings, was "designated to run the local business; so I happily stayed in Minden. I've lived and loved here and most likely will die here. Through the years, I've made many good friends. Minden is a wonderful place to raise a family, and I feel that it's just the greatest city in the world," he once told the Minden Press-Herald.
Elzen was married for more than 63 years to the former Doris Gruner (April 15, 1925 through January 15, 2006). He has three sons, Fred Jr. (MHS Class of 1962), Rodney (MHS Class of 1965) and Ken; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
See Monday's Minden Press-Herald for Elzen's obituary.
(Information courtesy of mindenmemories.org.)