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Louis Oliver Cournia Jr, 85, of Crookston, MN, passed away peacefully Tuesday morning, September 11, 2018, at the Villa St. Vincent in Crookston with many of his family at his side. Throughout his life he was affectionately known by many in his family as Sonny, and by his friends as Louie. He was born at Crookston on November 8, 1932 to Louis Oliver and Ann Elizabeth (Mulvaney) Cournia Sr and was 1 of 11 children. He grew up on the family farm, was baptized and confirmed at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and attended Cathedral High School where he played football and baseball for the Blue Wave. Louie graduated with the Class of 1950 and then began farming with his father, and brothers Delmont and LeRoy. On December 8, 1951 he was united in marriage to Nancy Lou Hovland at the Cathedral Rectory. The couple made their home in Crookston at 811 North Broadway and settled in to begin raising a family. Six babies later, and with a seventh on the way, it was time to move to the farm.
In addition to farming, Louie was very much a businessman and entrepreneur. At various times he held equity in Agri-Energy, three A&W Restaurants in Minnesota, the Peppermint Square in Red Lake Falls, Crookston Ability Construction, and Triple A Ready Mix, and at one time was an agent for Planned Return Life. Louie maintained a lifelong love for the land and was one of the early stockholders during the forming of the Red River Valley Sugar Beet Growers’ Association. Over the years he was also associated with the Red River Valley Winter Shows, the Crookston Jaycees, and was a director of Midland Valley Co-op.
As a lifelong member of the Cathedral parish, Louie was a communion server, a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, and an altar boy for masses and funerals until well into his 70’s. Many years ago, Louie and Fr. Pryor were coaches of the Cathedral Grade School “Ripple” football team, which will bring back memories to many men of today who were boys back then. Nancy and Louie loved to travel and make new friends wherever they went. The couples spent thirty winters at Weslaco, TX and were very active in St. Pius X Catholic Church there. Louie was very much a leader and activity organizer in the mobile home park where they lived and he and Nancy enjoyed square dancing and playing shuffle board with their many ‘Texas friends’. Louie had a kind heart, and he was very giving to those who were less fortunate, whether in Crookston or down south on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border. He was humble to a fault and never did a single thing for recognition. His motto was, if something needs to be done to help others, do it! He was fortunate enough to have been on several mission trips to Mexico, and pilgrimages to spiritual significance to Medjugorie, Herzegovina and Yugoslavia.
Louie’s deep and abiding love for Nancy and their family was as important to him as his faith. When the kids were growing up he loved nothing more than to host their friends at the farm for hayrides, bonfires, and various parties celebrating the seasons. He was never judgmental and loved unconditionally. His family always knew they could come to him for advice and direction and would go away with heads held high ready to face the world. This is the legacy he leaves a family that will miss him beyond measure. May God bless the memory of Louie Cournia as his new life is just beginning.
Surviving along with Nancy, Louie’s beloved wife and best friend of over sixty-six years, are their eight living children and spouses: Deb Hanson of Crookston, MN, Louis “Skip” and JoLynn Cournia of Murfreesboro, TN, Jean and Richard Rock of Erskine, MN, Mary Jo Cournia and Sue and Lester Wilkens of Crookston, Tom and Violet Cournia of Moorhead, MN, Nancy Kay Kujawa of Rochester, MN, and Pat Cournia of Virginia Beach, VA; twenty-five grandchildren; forty-one great-grandchildren; 2 brothers-in-law, Tom (Darlene) Hovland of Cass Lake, MN, Melvin Podevels of Franklin, WI; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. Preceding him in death, Louie has been reunited with his son, Dan; son-in-law, Lynn Hanson; grandchildren, Matthew and Sarah Hanson; great-grandchild, Riley Knuckles; parents, Louis and Ann; Step-mother Jenny Sullivan Cournia; parents-in-law, Arnold and Ivadelle Hovland; and ten siblings: LeRoy (Eleanor) Cournia, Esther (Bernard) Palubicki, Delmont (Lorraine) Cournia, Lauretta (Doc) Welter, MaDonna (Peg) Moran, Margaret Podevels, Betty (Art) Pretory, RoseMarie (Torgie) Torgerson, Anna Mae (Jack) Sullivan, and LaVonne (Allen) Hoeft.