Cover photo for Patrick Kearns's Obituary
Patrick Kearns Profile Photo
1943 Patrick 2022

Patrick Kearns

January 17, 1943 — July 16, 2022

Patrick Michael Kearns passed away on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at Perham Living, Perham, MN, under the care of Hospice. Mike was born on November 17, 1943, in Santa Monica, CA, to Evelyn and Patrick Kearns. Mike grew up in Santa Monica, and at an early age, his mother married Dick Nickel, who Mike considered his father.

At a young age, Mike took a job at Friars Restaurant, in Santa Monica, where the “seed was planted” and his passion for the restaurant industry began.

Mike and his brother Tim spent three years traveling all over Europe and Africa experiencing the history, culture and cuisine of many regions. In 1967, Mike was drafted into the Army where he met lifelong friend Larry Bailly. Larry introduced Mike to the Midwest where he fell in love with the Minnesota lakes country.

In 1971, Mike was hired by Francis Kukowski to help open the Country Kitchen Restaurant in Wahpeton, ND. A short time later, Mikes first son Mark was born, followed by his son Shawn a few years later.

Mike’s vision for acquiring more restaurants grew and along with his partners, opened restaurants in Fargo, Moorhead, Brookings, Sioux Falls and Yankton, SD. In 1981, they went independent and renamed the businesses as the Fryn’ Pan Family Restaurants. In 1991, Mike married Jo Schieffer, and they made their home in Sioux Falls.

Mike retired in 2000 to spend more time with Jo, traveling to Lake Havasu, AZ in the winters and summering at their beloved cottage on Pickerel Lake in northern Minnesota. Mike thoroughly enjoyed finding things to do outside and two of his greatest pleasures were riding one of his many mowers and pontooning on the lake. He collected old vehicles to include a Model A, a 1976 Mercedes, and a 1952 Ford pickup. Mike and Jo were the “hosts with the most” entertaining family and friends over the years, on their ever-evolving outdoor patio.

A highlight in Mike’s retirement years was continuing the tradition of hosting the annual Fryn’ Pan company picnic where he and Jo would entertain over 100 people at their lake cottage. The Fryn’ Pan family grew with the generous support of Jo’s family at this annual event.

Mike is survived by his wife, Jo; sons, Mark and Shawn; grandchildren, Isla and Alder Kearns; sister-in-law, Patty Kearns; nephew, Ryan Kearns; Jo’s extended family; and the entire Fryn’ Pan Family.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Tim.

The Kearns family would like to thank the caregivers of Perham Living and Hospice of the Red River Valley for the wonderful and dedicated care he received.

A celebration of Mike’s life will take place on Friday, July 22, at Vertin-Munson Funeral Home, in Wahpeton, from 1:00-4:00 pm. Visitation starting at 1:00 pm with a service at 2:00 pm, and visitation and fellowship will continue until 4:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to St. Jude’s Hospital and the Hospice of Red River Valley.

Arrangements by Vertin-Munson Funeral Home, Wahpeton, ND.

Obituary written by Mike's family.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, July 22, 2022

1:00 - 4:00 pm (Central time)

Vertin-Munson Funeral & Cremation Service

224 6th St N, Wahpeton, ND 58075

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Friday, July 22, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Vertin-Munson Funeral & Cremation Service

224 6th St N, Wahpeton, ND 58075

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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