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Sanford Skarsten, February 10, 1935 • March 8, 2023

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Sanford Skarsten, 88, of Swift Falls, Minnesota, died peacefully in his sleep March 8, 2023 at the Glenwood Retirement Village after a brief stay in Hospice care.   

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 31 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Swift Falls, with Pastor Steve Carmany officiating. Visitation will be at the church beginning at 9:00 a.m. and running until the time of service. Those unable to attend in person may view the memorial service live, or at a later date, on Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church Facebook page. Inurnment will be at a later date in the Swift Falls Cemetery.

Sanford Skarsten, son of Melvin and Lillie (Reme) Skarsten, was born at home on the family farm near Swift Falls, Minnesota February 10, 1935. The youngest of the couple’s three children, Sanford grew up on the farm with his two brothers, Myron and LaVerne. He was a baptized and confirmed member of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church and he attended school in Swift Falls and Benson before graduating from Benson High School in 1953.  While in high school, Sanford showed great talent in both basketball and baseball. After high school, he continued to play baseball for various area teams.  He also served in the National Guard from December of 1957 to December of 1963. While in the Guard, Sanford played baseball with K.C. Jones who later became the coach of the Boston Celtics. At one point, Sanford was approached to sign a contract with the New York Yankees, but declined.

February 18, 1962, he was united in marriage to Carol Hoffman at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Hancock, Minnesota. Following their wedding, the two made their home on Sanford’s family farm near Swift Falls, where they raised their two children, Phillip and Sherri. Sanford farmed for a total of 58 years.

Sanford was active in his church and community. He served as a board member at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Swift Falls School District #13, the Corn Growers Association, Farmer’s Union Co-op, Swift County Hospital and the Swift County Museum. He also coached Little League for many years with his good friend, Arden Loen. Sanford’s hobbies included playing the accordion, fishing and deer hunting.  He enjoyed going up to the Town Hall to visit with the guys and play cards.  He will be remembered for his friendly, easy-going nature, for his quick wit, and for his storytelling and card playing abilities.

Sanford is survived by his wife of 61 years, Carol Skarsten of Swift Falls; their children: Phillip (Karen Geyer) Skarsten of Benson and Sherri (Terry) Detloff of Farwell; along with other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Lillie Skarsten and his two brothers and their wives, Myron and Peggy Skarsten and LaVerne and Lorraine Skarsten; and Myron’s first wife, Marilyn.

To send online condolences, visit

Arrangements are with the Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood.

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