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Wiese, Lie leave indelible marks on community

Two prominent Morris residents passed away this week.

Curt Wiese, who served as Chief of Police for the Morris and Hancock police departments, died June 18 at his home in Morris. He was 63.

And Leif Lie, for years a fixture as Agriculture Agent in Stevens County and wrestling coach at the high school level and at the University of Minnesota, Morris, died June 15. He was 92.

Funeral services for Wiese are at 10:30 a.m. today, June 21, at Assumption Catholic Church in Morris. Visitation is one hour prior to services at the church. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Morris with military rites.

Memorial services for Lie are Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 11 a.m. at the Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris. Visitation will be held one hour prior to services at the funeral home. Burial will be at Summit Cemetery in Morris with military rites.

For full obituaries for Weise and Lie on this Web site.

Wiese was born in 1945 in Morris and graduated from Hancock High School in 1963.

Wiese then attended Willmar Technical College, St. Thomas College and the Anoka-Ramsey Community College. His first law enforcement job was with the Hancock Police Department. He then moved to Roseville, where he worked as a supervisor and then to Tracy, Minn., where he continued as Police Chief. In 1987, Curt returned to Morris, where he served as Chief of Police until he retired in 2001.

Wiese was diagnosed with ALS in 2006, battling the disease until his death. He was open about the disease and he and his wife of 11 years, Lori, were appreciative of all the help they received from the community.

"It's a death sentence," Wiese said in a May 2007 story in the Sun Tribune. "But a lot of positives have come out of it. We do a lot of crying -- a lot of happy crying. It lets you know again how great it is living in a small town."

The community held a benefit supper in Wiese's honor last spring, and you would have sworn Curt was still on the force -- the cars of law enforcement officers were regularly in the Wieses' driveway as they'd stop in for a visit.

People often showed up unannounced to do chores or run errands. One resident donated a motorized scooter so the Wieses could continue on their walks together. The couple met in 1996 while taking a walk on a trail in Morris.

"One of the positives from this is that you get to see how good people are," Curt said last year. "Some people just can't do enough. I can't thank them enough."

Lie was born in 1915. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Agriculture and Economics in 1940 and completed training at the U.S. Naval Aviator Training Center in 1940. He served from 1940 to 1945 as a pilot with the U.S. Navy, and from 1945 to 1960, he was a member of the Active Reserve with the Navy.

Leif married Doris Ann (Sanny) Smith in 1941. Sanny died in 1985. In 1987, he married Evelynn Joyce Williams and they resided in Utah and later in the Black Hills in Custer and Hill City, S.D. before moving back to the Morris area in 2000.

Lie was an avid outdoorsman, hunter and enjoyed identifying trees, wildflowers, plants and animals and birds. His interest in his wrestling team members continued long after retirement, and his annual pancake suppers for his wrestlers were an event he looked forward to every year as a coach.

In 1946, he became Assistant Agriculture Agent in Mille Lacs County, then Agriculture Agent in Stevens County from 1945 to 1962. His love of wrestling led him to become a wrestling coach at the University Farm School in St. Paul. While in Morris, he served as the wrestling coach for the West Central School (1960 to 1972), and later for the University of Minnesota at Morris.

In 1956, the West Central School yearbook, the Moccasin, was dedicated to Lie. Written was "We dedicate...To you, Mr. Leif Lie, this 1956 Moccasin... for your successful piloting of our wrestling crews through many successful voyages when the prospects have not seemed to promising at the onset...for your untiring efforts in molding the characters, minds and bodies of our students into the type of sailors who will be the ideal citizens of tomorrow."

After retiring from the job as Agricultural Agent in Morris, he worked as Executive Secretary for the Minnesota Beef Council from 1977 to 1978.

Lie was a member of the NCAA Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association from 1940 to 1967 and received a 25 year Distinguished Service Award. He was also a member of the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association, the Minnesota Extension Agents Association and National Association as well as serving on the Board of Directors. Lie also served tirelessly on other clubs and boards over the years.