Anne Ione Kanten – Obit

Anne Ione Kanten, age 93, of Crookston, MN, formerly of Milan, MN, passed away on Monday, December 7, 2020, at the Villa St. Vincent Nursing Home in Crookston, MN of COVID-19.  Anne spent much of her life-shaping Minnesota Agriculture, with the family farm, the land, and her faith all mobilizing her as a fierce advocate for families remaining on the land.

Anne Ione Knutson was born on August 20, 1927, in Goldfield, IA, the daughter of the late Gunner and Gertrude (Thorsheim) Knutson who immigrated from Norway in 1920.  She graduated from high school in Goldfield and went on to St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where she earned a degree in education and began teaching in Clarkfield, MN.  It was there she met Chuck Kanten. She married Charles “Chuck” Kanten in 1952 in Eagle Grove, IA, and began her life on the family farm in Milan MN, which she and Chuck worked for 40 + years.

During the economic farm crisis, Anne and Chuck became more involved in the politics of Agriculture and helped form the American Agricultural Movement (AAM) whose mission was to keep families on their farms during the financial farm crisis in the late ’70s and ’80s.   Anne and Chuck spent much of their time during 1978, 1979, and 1980 working, speaking and lobbying for AAM. This included a national tractorcade to Washington, D.C. in 1979 (son Kent, accompanied by Chuck, drove the family tractor to Washington). Anne also worked in the AAM state office in Appleton, with many local farmers including former Governor Elmer Benson.  She came to the attention of Rudy Perpich during his 1982 gubernatorial campaign and was appointed to serve as the state’s Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture.  After her tenure as Deputy Commissioner, Anne continued to be a strong advocate for farmers and their families.  Anne along with fellow farm activist Lou Anne Kling founded the Minnesota Farm Advocate Program. In 2000 she was named to the DFL’s Women’s Hall of Fame.

In 2012 following retirement, Chuck and Anne moved to Crookston MN. Sadly, Chuck passed away in July of 2014.

Anne is survived by her sons, Kent (Kim) Kanten of Milan, MN, and Dr. Erik (Judie) Kanten of Crookston, MN; daughter, Rebecca (Jack) McCoy of White Bear Lake, MN; 9 grandchildren, Jim (Laura) Kanten, Kristi Kanten, Tim (Sierra) Kanten, Emily (Alex) Ranz, Sarah (Christian) Pester, Mollie Kanten, Rachel Kanten (John Kreitzer), Noah McCoy and Caitlin McCoy; 10 great-grandchildren; and brother, Pastor Gerhard Knutson of Minneapolis MN; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.  She was preceded in death by her husband Charles Kanten; parents, Gunner and Gertrude Knutson; sister, Mildred Knutson; and brother, Kent Knutson.

A memorial service celebrating Anne’s life will be held at a later date.

Online Guestbook:

Arrangements entrusted to Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home of Crookston, MN.