Lynnwood “Woody” Minar, 70, of St. Croix Falls, died July 3, 2019, from Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma, an aggressive rare cancer of the brain. He was surrounded in love by his wife and two daughters.

Woody had a zest for life and always had a positive outlook. Anyone that knew him, knew he had a great sense of humor that could not easily be forgotten; he also loved to tell stories about his adventures. His wife and two daughters meant the world to him as well as his two grandsons. His love for his family will not be forgotten.

Woody was born as an only child to Karl and Bette (Janacek) Minar in St. Croix Falls on March 14, 1949.

Woody had a drive for being successful and a love for travel. In 1968, he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the US Navy. For nine years, he served in Guam, Hawaii, and Maine as a Cryptologic Technician in the Naval Security Group. He left the Navy with an honorable discharge in 1978. Soon after, he started working for the Central Intelligence Agency where his first post was in Georgetown, Guyana, South America followed by Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa. He served more than 20 years in South & Central America, Africa, Europe and Western and Southern Russia.

Woody had an accomplished career with many recognized achievements with the CIA. He loved seeing the world and was fortunate to travel frequently for work, visiting many countries along his journey - Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, England, France, Libya, Egypt, Liberia, Djibouti – just to name a few. His last post was in Croughton, England where he and Connie lived for three years. He happily retired in 1998 from the CIA and was honored with the Career Intelligence Medal for his dedicated service.

After retiring, Woody and Connie moved back to their hometown of St. Croix Falls. He enjoyed filling his free time with golfing, photography, amateur “ham” radio, flying, and hunting at the Canadian Club Hunting Camp where he was the designated camp scribe. Many days you could find Woody enjoying the morning coffee group or golfing with his buddies when he was not at the airport.

After a successful career Woody did not stop there. He went on to manage two golf courses; to him that was the next best thing to owning his own course. Woody has always had an interest in airplanes and anything aviation related. After a career in government spanning 30 years and four continents, he started his flight training in early 2000, which is when he found his true passion. He obtained his Private Pilot certificate in July 2000, followed by his Commercial and Flight Instructor certificates in March 2003. After years of training students and new pilots, he was selected as a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) in April 2012 by the Minneapolis FSDO. His authorizations include Private, Commercial, and Instrument ratings. Woody was a CFI (ASEL & ASES), CFII, MEI (AMEL & AMES), CFI-G (Glider), Gold Seal CFI, AGI, IGI and was also a FAASTeam Representative. In addition to his many accomplishments in aviation, he was a six time recipient of the Master Instructor award by the National Association of Flight Instructors and in 2009 and 2012 the Minneapolis Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) awarded Woody the Flight Instructor of the Year and the FAA Great Lakes Region 2012 Flight Instructor of the Year award. Woody is included at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Wall of Honor in Chantilly, Va.

He was preceded in death by his parents, many aunts and uncles, and his beloved dog Lady and cat Bowser.

He is survived by his wife, Constance “Connie” (Norlander) Minar, daughters, Gayle Michelle Minar, Sterling, Va., Karyn Kay Minar (Gary Jorgensen), Lino Lakes, Minn., and grandsons Dustin Lane Findlay, Altavista, Va., Jonathon “Cody” Findlay and new granddaughter-in-law Ciara (Swanson) Findlay, Cary, N.C. and his cat, Curly.

Thank you to our many family members and friends who visited Woody during his last days and hours.

The family invites you to gather at the Osceola airport on Aug. 17, at 10 a.m. to share your favorite “Woody” memories. A Celebration of Life will begin at 11 a.m. with a luncheon to follow. It will be at L.O. Simenstad Municipal Airport at the Custom Fire hangar at 509 68th Ave, Osceola. Arrangements are with the Grandstrand Funeral Home. Condolences may be expressed online at

In lieu of flowers and to honor Woody’s incredible support for his family, please help our family continue to carry the message of recovery by making a donation in memory of Woody Minar to Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, PO Box 64348, St. Paul, MN 55164-0348.

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