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Michael Fern, 55

Michael David Fern, age 55, of Hammond, retired St. Croix Central High School teacher, died Monday, Aug. 12, at United Hospital in St. Paul with his family by his side.

Mike was born on April 1, 1958, in New Richmond, Wis., the son of Kenneth and Mary (Lamson) Fern. He was raised in Roberts where he attended elementary school prior to graduating from St. Croix Central High School. As a young man, he worked for Nor-Lake Refrigeration in Hudson and later Andersen Windows in Bayport. On June 27, 1981, he was united in marriage to Jody Ann Evenson at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hammond. They have made Hammond their home where they have raised three great sons: Nathan, Jared, and Jeffrey.

Roughly 15 years ago, Mike was diagnosed with brain cancer. He aggressively fought it. It was evident to him that he wanted something more in life. So, he knew his calling was to mentor kids and became a teacher at St. Croix Central High School. "Coach" Fern, as so many knew him as, taught physical education and coached basketball and baseball. His genuine, honest, and motivating approach had far more implications than on the field or the court - rather life in general. Those who knew him will fondly remember his smile and energetic zest for life.

Mike was not only a SCC backer but Wisconsin sports in general: Badgers, Packers, and Brewers. He loved spending time with his best friend/soul mate Jody and the boys at their cabin near Frederic on Round Lake. Around the house, he loved a well-manicured yard and keeping his gardens in top shape. Recently, Mike was acknowledged for being a charter member of and 31 years of dedicated service to the Hammond Lions Club.

Mike will forever remain in the hearts of his wife, Jody; sons, Nathan, Jared, and Jeffrey; parents, Kenny (Mary) Fern of New Richmond; siblings, Greg (Donna) Fern of Hudson, Gary (Brenda) Fern of New Richmond, Julie (Joe) Bolder of Amery, Joan (Jeff) Forsythe of Spring Valley; parents-in-law, William (Colleen) Evenson of Hammond; brothers/sisters-in-law Lori (Dan) Hawkins of Hammond, Vicki (Dennis) Ullom of Hudson, Gary Evenson of Baldwin; as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents and nephew Kyle Forsythe.

Mass of Christian Burial for Mike Fern will be 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at St. Bridget Catholic Church, 211 E. Division St., River Falls. Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. Thursday with a prayer service and story sharing at 7 p.m., also at St. Bridget Catholic Church. Interment will be in the St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Hammond with casketbearers being Garrett Ullom, David Reyzer, Tyler Welch, Derek Raebel, Dustin Meyer, Tyler Cody, Luke Brown, and Tony Wiersgalla. Memorials are preferred to the family.

Funeral services have been entrusted to the O'Connell Family Funeral Homes.