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Genevieve Eilen

Genevieve Margaret Eilen, age 86, of Minnetonka, formerly of Delano, died Friday, Feb. 20, 2009, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was born Aug. 22, 1922, in New Prague, the eldest child of 12 children born to Adam Michael Eischens and Gertrude (Ruth) Hildegard Beckius.

Genevieve enjoyed growing up on the farm in New Prague, and as a young girl, she displayed a propensity for art.

She graduated from New Prague High School in 1942, where she was chosen homecoming queen.

After graduation Genevieve and her sister, Berneva decided to move to Minneapolis, where they took a job at a company called Jordon Electric. It was through their employment there that Genevieve eventually met her future husband, Alphonse Joseph Eilen.

After working at Jordan Electric for a short time, Genevieve and Berneva took a job at a company called Gillette Originals doing work as seamstresses. Later, Genevieve also worked for Honeywell.

Genevieve and Alphonse Eilen were married Aug. 13, 1955, at Incarnation Catholic Church in Minneapolis. They were blessed with eight children, five boys and three girls, raising them in the small Minnesota town of Delano. They shared 45 years of marriage until Alphonse preceded Genevieve in death Jan. 23, 2000.

As her children grew, Genevieve sewed many of their clothes, and in fact, made each a new pair of flannel pajamas every year. She also enjoyed being out in the garden weeding and taking care of the vegetables, as well as canning the harvest. In addition, the wonderful smell of her baked bread, as well as her “famous” sesame seed rolls were cherished by all.

Genevieve was also talented in music. She taught herself to play the accordion, harmonica, and piano.

After her children were grown, Genevieve used her sewing talent once again by going to work at Donaldson’s Department store in the alterations department at Ridgedale Mall in about 1981. She worked in the alterations department for the better part of 10 years, until her retirement.

Genevieve thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren, but her face especially lit up when any of her own children would pay her a visit or call her on the phone. It was obvious to anyone that ever met her that she loved life and the people around her, and she always had a positive outlook about things.

Genevieve will be remembered as a lover of God and her Catholic faith, as well as the faithful wife and mother of eight beautiful children and 16 grandchildren.

She is survived by her children: son Michael (Kathleen) and their six children, Mary, John, Peter, Michael, James and Philip of St. Paul; son Allan Paul, who will be ordained a priest May 30, 2009; son Tom (Darla) and their two children, Henry and Elizabeth of Wisconsin; son Duane (Molly) and their four children, Grace, Joseph, Olivia, and Lucy of Champlain; daughter Linda and her family, Thomas, BreAnne, Katie, and Andrew of Burnsville; daughter Judy (Bill) of Minnetonka; daughter Sharon (Randy) of Minnetonka; and son Steve of Delano, as well as other relatives and friends.

Mass of Christian Burial was Thursday, Feb. 26 at St. Peter Catholic Church in Delano. The Msgr. Aloysius R. Callaghan officiated with concelebrating clergy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. Interment was in the Calvary Cemetery in Delano.

Casket bearers were William Bender, Eric Eischens, Scott Eischens, Jerry Goodale, David Jaunich, Randall Johnson, Thomas Ochs, and Kenny Zweber.

Arrangements were by the Iten Funeral Home in Delano.