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Obituaries from the week of January 1, 2003

Death Notice

Cora Starken, age 99, of Tracy passed away on Dec. 30, 2002 at the Tracy Nursing Home. Visitation is Friday from 4-8 p.m., and services will be at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at St. Mary's Catholic Church. Tracy Area Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Billi Jo Cote, 19

Funeral services are scheduled for Thurs., January 2, 2003 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Ann's Church in Slayton, MN for Billi Jo Cote, 19 of Slayton. Visitation will be on Wednesday at St. Ann's Church from 4 until 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. and from 9:30 until 10:30 a.m. before the service.

Fr. Mark McNea will officiate with organist Judy Andrews. Special music will be by her friends from T.E.C. Readers are John and Mary Beech.

Pallbearers are Nick Bergman, Ryan Streff, Chris Hawkinson, Kevin Bruns, Adam Lorenzen, Jared Lorenzen, Nick Leiferman and Nate Leiferman.

Billi Jo Cote was born on October 13, 1983 at Worthington, MN to Larry Cote and Mary Streff Morin. She grew up in Slayton and graduated from Murray County High School in May 2002. She played the drums in the high school band, sang in the choir, played volleyball in junior high, did pole vaulting and had been the track team manager. She was studying Massage Therapy at Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Pipestone. She was employed at the Slayton Bakery, Ampride and Legends.

Billi Jo died near Slayton as the result of an automobile accident on December 29, 2002 at the age of 19.

She was a member of St. Ann's Church where she served as lector, reader, and was a mentor for Casie. She had gone to a T.E.C. (Teens Encounter Christ) retreat in May. Billi Jo enjoyed swimming, roller blading, singing and spending time with her family and many friends.

Survivors include her parents: Larry Cote and Marnella Trejo-Cote of Slayton, and Mary and Les Morin of Slayton; sisters: Bobbi Jo and Per Peterson, Sammi Jo, and Casie Jo Cote, Jessica and Amanda Morin; paternal grandparents: Norm and Doris Cote; maternal grandmother, Mary Ann Streff; and two nieces: Chelsea and Olivia Peterson, all of Slayton.

She is preceded in death by her maternal grandfather, Clifford Streff.

Helen M. Drackley, 85

Helen M. Drackley, 85, of Tracy, died Friday, Dec. 27, 2002, at Prairie View Healthcare Center, Tracy. Services were held Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2002 at Tracy United Methodist Church. Rev. Alan Bolte officiated. Organist was Allan Pierson with soloist Amy Engesser. Burial was at Tracy City Cemetery.

Casket bearers were Melinda Lamont, David Muenchow, Michael Drackley, Lyle Lamont, Lisa Muenchow, Harold Drackley and Elizabeth Muenchow.

Honorary casket bearers were Kathy Steffes, Luann Kern, Deallis Rykhus, Janet West, Dan Kern, Tim Byrne.

Born Oct. 27, 1917, in Milroy, she was the daughter of Bruce and Matilda Larson Mowery. She married Willard "Bill" Drackley Nov. 1, 1937. He preceded her in death.

She attended Milroy and Tracy Public Schools. She had a milk route as a young girl and worked for several neighbors as a housekeeper and cook. After marriage, they farmed south of Tracy until 1944. Then they moved to Tracy. She worked for Tracy Public Schools in the kitchen for the hot lunch program and for Tracy Greenhouse. She worked a short time for the Senior Citizens Center and then she worked at Christian Manor Nursing Home for more than 30 years as the activities director and later as the volunteer coordinator. She was a member of Tracy United Methodist Church, its ladies group, Circle, the choir and she had served as a Sunday school teacher. She was a volunteer youth camp counselor and a past member of the Eastern Star.

Surviving are one son, Bruce (Virginia) Drackley, Balaton; one daughter, Karyn (Marlin) Muenchow, Tracy; two sisters, Marge Sebesta, Tracy, Virginia Benson, New Ulm; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Almlie Funeral Home of Tracy handled the arrangements.

Gilbert C. Runia, 75

Gilbert C. Runia, 75, of Pipestone, died Thursday, Dec. 26, 2002, in Holland. Services was held Monday, Dec. 30, 2002 at Peace United Methodist Church, Pipestone. Burial was in Woodlawn Cemetery, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Born Jan. 12, 1927, in Chandler, he was the son of Ralph and Kate Zeylemaker Runia. He married Gladys Backer Feb. 26, 1958. She died March 31, 1980.

He grew up on the family farm in Lake Wilson and attended country school. After he completed his education, he became employed as a farm laborer. In October 1950, he entered the U.S. Army. Following his discharge, he moved to Pipestone and was employed as a farm laborer for Ray Johannsen. After marriage they moved to Sioux Falls, S.D., where he worked as a mechanic for Franks Automotive. He was later employed with Sunshine Foods in Sioux Falls until his retirement in 1993. In 1994 he moved to Pipestone. He was a life member of American Legion Post 15 in Sioux Falls, and the VFW Post 628 in Sioux Falls.

Surviving are special friend, Myrle Johannsen; two step-sons, Clayton (Marlene) Backer, Willmar, Lewis Backer, Sioux Falls; two step-daughters, Marcella (Jerry) Nagel, Sioux Falls, Susan (Steve) Kollmann, Pipestone; seven brothers, Gerald (Jean) Runia, Tyler, Robert (Marion) Runia, Marshall, Vernon (Connie) Runia, Longview, Texas, Wallace (Evelyn) Runia, Balaton, Richard (Marlys) Runia, Lebanon, Ore., Mitchell (Carolyn) Runia, Aurora, Colo., Eldon "Butch" Runia, Holly Springs; four sisters, Evelyn (Dwaine) Mitchell, Lake Wilson, Dorothy (Don) Mitchell, Slayton, Helen (Harvey) Horn, Lake Wilson, Phyllis (Jim) Nielson, Gayville, S.D.; 15 grandchildren; and 23 great grandchildren.