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Hilda Ullrich, 96

Hilda Julia Ullrich, age 96 of Howard Lake, died Thursday, March 11, 2004, at the Waconia Hospital.

After falling and breaking her hip March 9, Hilda suffered complications following surgery and died peacefully at the age of 96 years, eight months, and four days, with her daughter, son and daughter-in-law at her side.

Hilda was born July 7, 1907 (lucky 7s) in Middleville Township, the seventh of eight children of Friedrick and Lena Goepfelt. She was baptized at St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake, in 1907, and confirmed there in 1922. She grew up on a farm east of Howard Lake, Hilda lived in a log home, walked to school at Miester School.

In 1930, Hilda married George Ullrich. Four children were born to the couple, the first two died in infancy.

Hilda and George farmed on a small dairy farm near Lake Ann, where they enjoyed visiting neighbors and playing cards whenever anyone had a birthday. Even after people moved away, their birthdays were still celebrated in the neighborhood. Maurice, Eva, and Allen Glessing were special friends from the old neighborhood.

After George died in 1972, Hilda moved from the farm to an upstairs apartment across from the old bank in Howard Lake. Her landlord, Russ Lee, helped her with changing light bulbs, washing windows, and was always available when she needed anything. Addie Mucha, her neighbor of over 20 years, looked in often, and put flowers outside for Hilda to enjoy.

Hilda moved downstairs in 1999, and walked about town, doing her grocery shopping, picking up her mail and doing her banking on her own until the last few years. She was able to stay in her apartment until her illness with the help of nearly all of Howard Lake.

Postal workers helped her put the address on her letters and wrapped her packages; bank workers reconciled her bank statement, grocery workers carried her packages home “even before I paid,” she would say.

The drug store delivered medicine, and Bergie’s brought pizza on Sunday. Eva Handrich, her “mailman,” brought her mail daily and looked in often.

Lucy Lahr took her shopping. The Georges’ picked her up for church for over 20 years, and when they were away, Ken Klammer and Ken Bobrowske filled in.

Edna Butterfass was a special friend for many years, sharing conversation and playing cards. Hilda enjoyed the various volunteers who brought her dinner (Meals-On-Wheels) and the daily weather update. Donna Munson and Rose Barberg kept her hair looking nice.

Playing cards at Seniors was a longstanding Friday activity. She was especially tickled when she had good cards, but had fun whether she won or not. She really enjoyed getting the 50 cents, whether for high or low, however. Transportation was provided regularly to Seniors by Holdrein Oelke.

Judy Kruzel was largely responsible for Hilda being able to stay in her apartment until her fall, with daily visits and many calls. They had a special bond, laughing about many things. Hilda enjoyed her company and the many rides and outings they shared.

Over the years, she spent vacations with her sister Frances, niece Fern Ramsey, friend Rachel Yeater from West Virginia, and daughter Irma, seeing much of the United States, even Hawaii and Canada. Fern spent the day before Hilda’s surgery with her, and went home when Hilda was safely over the procedure. Fern died unexpectedly during the night at age 81.

Another niece, Violet Hall, wrote her a note every month and visited often on her trips from “up north.” Hilda had plane tickets to visit Irma in West Virginia next week.

Her friend from Ohio, Jeannette Yeater, was looking forward to visiting, cooking, and playing cards with her as they had done every spring over the last few years. Jeannette had visited Hilda in Howard Lake two years ago, and Bob Schendel took everyone fishing on Howard Lake. Jeannette’s hat flew off and had to be retrieved from the water, but everyone had lots of fun catching many beautiful sunfish.

Hilda did her daily work, sewing on dish towels and pillowcases by the dozen. She had just finished towels for a friend, and had more on her list to embroider. She also enjoyed seeing her flowers grow and bloom; watching the birds, and asked people driving by to stop and fill up the bird feeder for her.

She enjoyed attending the wedding of her son, Victor and Jean, last fall. She also loved having Christmas dinner at their new home and the drive around the neighborhood to see all the Christmas lights.

Her faith and St. James Lutheran Church were an important part of her life, and she rarely missed a Sunday service unless she was sick. Hilda talked at length about how much she enjoyed Pastor Nirva’s visits. He had visited her at home the week before she died, prayed with her at the hospital before surgery, and again, only hours before she died.

Hilda was cheerful and kind, even when she was sick; her giggle and smile will be sorely missed by everyone.

She is survived by her son, Victor and wife Jean of Chanhassen, daughter Irma in Morgantown, W.V., granddaughters Christine and Brenda, several cousins, and many, many friends.

It did, indeed, take a village like Howard Lake to care for a special lady like Hilda. She would have mentioned many more people who were important to her, but they were not known to her family.

Funeral service was Tuesday, March 16, 2 p.m., at St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake, with the Revs. Michael Nirva and Martin Schoenfeld officiating. Music was by Nancy Butterfass.

Casket bearers were Judy Kruzel, Allen Glessing, John George, Kenneth Bobrowske, Bob Schendel, and Jolene Marketon. Interment was in Howard Lake City Cemetery.

Visitation was Sunday, March 14, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home in Howard Lake, and one hour prior to the funeral service on Tuesday.

Arrangements were by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home, Cokato and Howard Lake.

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