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Obituaries from the week of December 3, 2003

Death Notice

Joseph P. Smarzik, age 98, of Walnut Grove, MN died Thursday, November 27, 2003 at the Springfield Medical Center. Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 6, 2003 at the St. Mary's Catholic Church in Tracy. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. Saturday until the time of service at the church. Interment will be at the Calvary Cemetery in Tracy. The Almlie Funeral Home of Tracy is handling the arrangements.

Ronald Knakmuhs, 47

Funeral services were held today, Wednesday Nov. 26, 2003 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Walnut Grove for Ronald Knakmuhs, age 47 of Lamberton. Rev. Bonnie Lomen officiated. Nancy Harnack was organist. Soloist was Kerry Knakmuhs.

Honorary casket bearers were Jessica Knakmuhs, Abby Knakmuhs, Morganne Knakmuhs, Brandon Jenniges, Dylan Jenniges, Tyler Keinen and Ryan Leinen.

Active casket bearers were Jim Anderson, Jerry Nelson, Cal Diekmann, Dave Freeburg, Mike VanDeWiele and John Doubler.

Ronald Dean Knakmuhs was born September 19, 1956 in Springfield, Minnesota to Lloyd and Shirley (Pederson) Knakmuhs. He was baptized at Highwater Lutheran Church and confirmed at Revere Lutheran.He grew up in North Hero Township in Redwood County and graduated from Walnut Grove High School in 1974.

Following graduation he attended Willmar Vocational Technical College.

Ronald first worked in Springfield as an auto mechanic and later for Sell Brothers and Westside Implement in Lamberton as a farm implement mechanic. He worked as a plumber for the Walnut Grove Hardware Store and for the past four years owned and operated the Walnut Grove Soft Water Service as well as farming with his father. Ron had a good sense of humor, enjoyed skiing in Colorado and watching Nascar racing. He especially enjoyed spending time

with his friends and his two dogs Snatt and Pupper. Ron was an associate member of the Walnut Grove American Legion.

Ronald Dean Knakmuhs passed away on November 22, 2003 at the Tracy Hospital in Tracy, MN at the age of 47 years, 2 months and 3 days.

He is survived by his parents Lloyd and Shirley Knakmuhs of Revere; one brother Brad (Wendy) Knakmuhs of Westbrook, one sister Debra (Robert) Jenniges of Revere; nieces and nephews Jessica, Abby, Morganne, Brandon and Dylan and special love Karen Knapper.

He is preceded in death by his grandparents.

Burial was in the church cemetery

Walnut Grove Funeral Home handled the arrangements.

Helene Steffen, 85

Funeral services were held Saturday, November 29, 2003 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Lamberton for Helene Steffen, 85, of St. Paul and formerly of Lamberton. Rev. Lee Harder officiated. Carol Mattison was organist with Pam Steffen as soloist.

Casket bearers were Craig Steffen, Virginia Steffen, David Steffen, Ted Paulson, Luke Steffen, Laura Steffen, Greg Matheny, Jesse Moore, Joshua Moore and Benjamin Sheldon.

Helene Marie Steffen was born December 28, 1917 in Wanda, Minnesota, the eldest of five children born to Rev. William and Emma (Bethke) Langholz.

Helene was united in marriage to Alfred Steffen in December, 1941, at Lakota, Iowa. They lived in and around Lamberton/Walnut Grove, MN all of their lives. Alfred and Helene raised six children while farming in the area. Helene returned to college when her youngest son started school, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education in 1966, graduating from Mankato State College. She taught Special Education for 26 years, first in the Tracy Public Schools and then in the Lamberton School District where she retired in 1981. Helene loved her family and especially liked spending time with her grandchildren. She loved to teach, enjoyed gardening and especially enjoyed her flower gardens. Helene enjoyed traveling and loved to tell everyone of her trips to Alaska. While Helene lived in Lamberton she was active at Our Savior's Lutheran Church and enjoyed delivering bulletins. She loved to play Scrabble and shared that love with many who came to visit her.

Helene Marie Steffen passed away November 25, 2003 at Shalom Home East in St. Paul, at the age of 85 years, 10 months and 27 days.

She is survived by her children Robert, Richard, Susan, Judy and John; nine granchildren and her sister Dorothy Struckmann.

She is preceded in death by her parents, husband Alfred, daughter Betty Augst and brothers Robert, Rudolph, and Roland Langholz.

Helene was a devoted wife and a wonderful mother. She will be missed greatly, but will remain with us in our hearts.

Burial was in the Walnut Grove Cemetery with the Walnut Grove Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

Grace Balle, 90

Grace Balle, of Marshall, passed away Friday, November 21,

2003 at the Prairie View Healthcare Center in Tracy, Minnesota. Funeral services will be 11:30 a.m. Friday, November 28, 2003 at the Wesley United Methodist Church. Burial will be in the Marshall Cemetery. Visitation will be 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Hamilton Funeral Home. Visitation will continue at the church Friday, one hour prior to the service.

Grace Balle was born September 4, 1913 in LaMoille, Illinois to Harry and Pearl (O'Neal) Kennedy. As a young child she moved with her parents to Marshall, MN. She attended grade and high school, graduating in 1932. Grace went onto attend Mankato Teacher's College and graduated in 1934. She then began her teaching career and over the years, taught school in several

Minnesota communities including Lake Crystal, Darfur, Tracy, Minneota, Red Wing, Waseca and also in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Grace was teaching in Red Wing, when she met and married Leo Balle on March 7, 1948 at Wesley United Methodist Church in Marshall. After their marriage, she joined Leo on his farm in Island Lake and Grace was a substitute teacher in Minneota and Tracy schools.

Grace was a volunteer for the American Cancer Society for 25 years. She organized all the schools of Lyon County into the School Cancer Program. She received the Cancer Lapel Pin for her 25 years of service at the state meeting in Minneapolis. It was the first Cancer Lapel Pin ever given for that many years of service.

Grace was a lifelong member of Wesley United Methodist Church in Marshall. She was active in United Church Women and Rachel Circle.

Grace is survived by her sister, Everal (Arnold) McDaniel of Tracy;

brother-in-law Peter (Irene) Balle of St. Peter; special friend, Donna

(Frank) Sampson-Plotnik of Spicer; nieces and nephews, Arlene Buchert of Tyler, Arnold McDaniel of Tracy, Eldon McDaniel of Marshall, Lowell McDaniel of Marshall, Yvonne Tanghe of Virginia, Shirley Whitlock of Upland,

California, Darlene Lundin of Mankato, Judy Keeney of Warrenville, Illinois, Ron McDaniel of Excelsior, and Nyla Nordvik of Sammamish, Washington.

Grace was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Leo, who died in October 2003; a niece, Alice Reed; and two nephews, Irvin and Marion McDaniel.