Lawrence Bisonette

Rev. Lawrence L. Bisonette, 90, went to his eternal home on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, at the Mayo Clinic Health System-Northland in Barron.

Born in the small village of Signor on the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Ojibwe reservation, Lawrence (Larry) was the third child to William W. Bisonette and Philomena M. (White) Bisonette. Larry also lived and attended school in various surrounding communities, including Beaver Brook and Birchwood, in his youth. He had four brothers and two sisters.

During a portion of his high school years, Larry attended Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. He later attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. He received a bachelor’s degree in pastoral studies/ministry four years later. During this time, Larry worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Minneapolis. While at North Central Bible College, Larry also met his future wife. He married Eileen Cutsforth in Sand Creek, Wisconsin, in 1952.

Larry served in the U.S. Army and was sent to South Korea. He served alongside troops from Australia, New Zealand and England. He was later assigned to the 1st Marine Division. As a forward observer, Larry was assigned to the Special Units First Observation Battalion attached to the Eighth Army.

For many of their years together, Larry and Eileen were in the ministry in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado, Montana and into parts of Canada. Larry impacted many people through his evangelism, pastoring of small congregations, and the formation of a Bible college. Over 40 years ago, Lawrence and Eileen began a ministry on the LCO reservation. Eileen served alongside Larry until her passing in 2012. Larry continued ministering to his congregation until his recent passing. In 2018, the Church of God commissioned author Bobby Duncan to write “Lighted Trail: The Story of Chippewa Indian Lawrence Bisonette.”

Larry had a deep desire to help the Native American people in whatever way he could. He was also involved in Indian education programs throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. In the late 1960s, Larry was an instructor for the University of Minnesota College of Education, assisting disadvantaged Native American students. Larry was elected as chairman to represent 20 Indian organizations in the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth areas. Larry also worked in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, at McGill University in a new program to provide needed services to the Native American and Eskimo people throughout Quebec.

Larry was always a very social, quick-witted, and friendly individual. He made friends everywhere he went. He loved to travel the roads and just recently gave up driving. Larry always had an interesting story to share of his past experiences, and there were many. The love of his large family was a subject he liked to share he had so much pride in all they did.

Larry is survived by his children, Dale (Debbie) Bisonette of Rice Lake, Vicki (Steven) Lindberg and Duane Bisonette, both of Dallas, Wisconsin, Brenda (Duane) Link of Ridgeland, and Dawn (Lewie) of Honolulu, Hawaii; 17 grandchildren, Jamie (Kim), Bryan (Sarah), Aric (Kate), Justin (Shannon), Erin (Dustin), Lindsey (Caleb), Daniel, Matthew, Kady (Connor), Cassondra (Eric), Andrea (Tucker), Amanda, Adam (Grace), Andrew, Alizabeth, Dayne and Riley; and 25 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by a sister, Eunice Bisonette, Curt (Carissa) Cutsforth, Rev. Robert and Roberta Ross, Mike and Sharon Olin and James and MaryEllen Mattson; sisters-in-law, Marlyce and Elaine Cutsforth; brother-in-law, John Thoen; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and cherished friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife; four brothers, John Bisonette, Louie Bisonette, Robert Bisonette and Kenneth (Linda) Bisonette; one sister, Dorothy (Ray) Kemp; two brothers-in-law, David and Lorenzo Cutsforth; one sister-in-law, Juanita Thoen; and several nephews and nieces.

A private graveside service will be held for family with the Rev. Ralph Marquardt officiating. A memorial service for Lawrence Bisonette will be announced at a future date.

The Burnham-Ours-Kolstad Family Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

To plant a tree in memory of Lawrence Bisonette as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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