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Hilda ‘Hillie’ Ketcher, 85

Hilda H. “Hillie” Ketcher, age 85, of Watertown, died Saturday May 22, 2010, at Auburn Home in Waconia.

She was born Nov. 7, 1924, in Woodland Township, Watertown, the daughter of Herman and Bertha (Weege) Barfknecht. Hillie was baptized Jan. 27, 1925, at her home by the Rev. W.L. Ernst, and confirmed June 26, 1938, at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Delano by the Rev. E.H. Bruns.

The youngest of 11 children, Hillie’s family lived on a farm in Woodland Twp., Watertown. Her mother died when she was 15, and Hillie helped her dad until she moved to Minneapolis with her niece, Arlene. There, they lived in a boarding house and worked at the Munsingwear factory, and then, together, as waitresses at the University of Minnesota Stadium Café.

Hillie was united in marriage to ElRoy L. Ketcher Oct. 12, 1945, at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Delano by the Rev. E.H. Bruns.

The couple bought a house in Mound and had their first child, Rodney. They moved to the Ketcher Farm and rented the upstairs apartment and had baby Renee. The next move was a house in Watertown and Keith was born. They then bought the Ketcher farm and Ronald was born.

Hillie and ElRoy had their own livestock trucking business. One day, Hillie surprised ElRoy by getting her chauffeur’s license, so they could each drive a truck.

During this time, they sponsored a bowling team at the Watertown Lanes, of which Hillie was the captain.

As a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Hillie belonged to the Mission Society and the choir committee.

Hillie and ElRoy were members of the Fellowship Club, and members of a card party group that played at each other’s houses for over 60 years.

They took many family trips to see the Kruse family in Iowa, went on fishing trips to Canada, and deer hunting up North. They bought a cabin in Osage, and enjoyed many happy years at the cabin with family and friends.

After ElRoy’s retirement, they traveled to Europe to the places he had been during the war. They also visited missionary son Rod in Taiwan. Hillie also enjoyed many fun adventures with her children, like a Mississippi River Boat cruise and trips through Travel Easy Tours, including Branson, MO, where she visited many times.

In all her travels, Hillie’s Bible was her companion. She was devoted to her Lord and Savior and daily read her Bible and Portals of Prayer book.

Hillie was a mothering mother, full of love and support for her children, doing all that she could with an abundance of love.

She loved to be with friends, to talk, play cards, go dancing, to a movie, or shopping; and she had many lifelong friendships.

Hillie was preceded in death by her husband, ElRoy Ketcher; son Rodney Ketcher; father and mother Herman and Bertha Barfknecht; sisters Esther Topel, Elsie Dressel, Emma Brandenburg, and Cora Lange; brothers Edward, Arthur, and Richard Barfknecht, and Walter Barfnecht; and two brothers in infancy, Ernst and Edie.

Hillie is survived by her loving family; daughter Renee Ketcher Otto of Watertown; sons and daughters-in-law Keith and Diane Ketcher of Minnetonka, Ronald and Susan Ketcher of Norwood Young America, and Elizabeth Ketcher of Burnsville; grandchildren Rebecca and Fred Lewis, Matthew Ketcher, Michelle Ketcher, Ross Dressel, Rhett and Kate Dressel, Reesa and Mike Jaszewski, HillieRe Otto, Heidi and Kevin McGuinn, Katie and Matt Hanson, Emilie Ketcher, Adam Ketcher, Joshua Ketcher, Lindsay and Nick Hackman, Kara Ketcher, and Mariah Ketcher; and great-grandchildren Tyler, Abigail, Alexis, Anna, Ella, Alonzo, Isiah, Cecilia, and Colin.

She is further survived by sisters-in-law Virginia Barfknecht of Annandale, Elvera Engquist of Plymouth, and Marlys Ketcher of Robbinsdale; nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.

The funeral service took place Thursday, May 27 at 3 p.m. at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Watertown Twp., with the Rev. Bill Kirmsee officiating. Visitation preceded the service, beginning at 1 p.m., and interment was in the church cemetery.

Casket bearers were Jane Weibel, Joyce Hinderks, Karen Anderson, Vivian Goulet, Rebecca Lewis, and Katie Hanson.

Arrangements were handled by the Johnson Funeral Home of Waconia. Online condolences to the family are available at www.johnsonfh.com.