HJ-ED-DHJ Obituaries


Erna Nelson Blatt

Erna Nelson Blatt, age 84, of Cokato, died Friday, Sept. 14, 2007.

She was born April 14, 1923 in Cokato, and graduated from Cokato High School in 1941.

As Erna’s adventurous spirit blossomed, she moved to Washington, D.C. to become a “government girl.” She moved into the Young Women’s Christian Home on Capital Hill, where she roomed with her life-long friend, Marie Essex. Both were active members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), where they served to guard the East Coast during WW II.

Erna met Bill Blatt while serving in CAP. They married Oct. 7, 1942.

While raising her busy family, Erna served as a Girl Scout professional, Brownie leader, public school volunteer, federal/Arizona polling place registrar, winter visitor hostess/tour guide, and much more.

Erna moved to Minneapolis in 1989, and in 1998, she moved to Cokato.

Erna was a woman who was bigger than life itself. Her every moment was lived out in loving relationships, untiring generosity, daily acts of kindness, infectious moments of laughter, and interactions that evidenced her life’s philosophy of living with her “cup half-full.”

Some of Erna’s remarkable accomplishments include becoming a private pilot for a single engine Cessna, race car driver in the Sport Car Club of America, skydiver (at age 78), senior doubles/singles tennis player, camping expert, artist (paint, yarn, fabric), home remodeler, furniture builder, and she had tea with Eleanor Roosevelt.

She was active in her church, senior tennis, tole painting, many volunteer opportunities, and in just keeping up with all the family activities. She took every opportunity to continue to learn by reading and traveling extensively, and was an avid American and world history scholar.

Erna was pre-ceded in death by her parents, A.W. and Amanda Nelson; sister Ruth Roberson; and brothers Lyle Nelson and Earl Nelson.

She is survived by her children, Anne (Richard) Tormanen of Dassel, Lee (Bill) Miller of Webb Lake, Wis., Amanda (Charles) Beekman of Gallup, N.M., Mary Falls of Phoenix, Ariz., and Eric (Donna) Blatt of Chandler, Ariz.; sister Lavova (Kayo) Dokken of Vancouver, Wash.; and brother Wyman (Gloria) Nelson of St. Cloud.

Erna is further survived by her grandchildren, John (Rebecca) Tormanen, Michael (Kena) Tormanen, Erin (Jennifer) Tormanen, Larry (Sarah) Tormanen, Amy (Randall) Keranen, Emily (Greg) Huotari, Jess Tormanen, Amanda (Michael) Helton, William (Erica) Baker, Samuel Baker, Riana Graves, Andrew (Erinn) Falls, Joel (Brandy) Falls, Neil (Michelle) Falls, Jorah (Lane) Visage, Heidi Blatt, and Kristin Blatt; and 47 great-grandchildren.

The funeral service took place Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at Swanson Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato with pastors Pamela Nickel and Paul Kivisto officiating. Music was provided by Marcy Ylitalo. Interment was at Riverside Cemetery.

Casket bearers were John Tormanen, Michael Tormanen, Samuel Baker, Lt. William Baker, Andrew Falls, and Joel Falls. Erna’s grandchildren were honorary casket bearers.

Arrangements were by the Swanson Peterson Funeral Home in Cokato.

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