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Obituaries from the week of June 14, 2006


Merlyn C. Bitker, 75

Funeral services were held on Monday, June 12, 2006 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Milroy for Merlyn C. Bitker. Father Brian Mandel and Rev. Mr. Richard Cronican officiated. Organist was Doris Cauwels with Jean Schmidt as cantor and Travis Bitker soloist.

Casket bearers were Curtis Paradis, Steven Paradis, Travis Bitker, Rhonda Bitker, Erin Bitker, Hannah Bitker, Taylor Bitker and Landon Bitker.

Merlyn Charles Bitker was born August 17, 1930 to Emil and Allie (Lau) Bitker in Tracy, MN, Lyon County. He attended Milroy Public School and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951. After serving overseas during the Korean War Merlyn returned to farming with his father.

On July 10, 1954 Merlyn married Jeanette Schnieder in Walnut Grove, MN. They made their home on the Bitker family farm south of Milroy, MN where Merlyn farmed and lived the rest of his life.

On November 21, 2005 Merlyn was baptized at his home and confirmed on the night of the Easter Vigil Service, April 15, 2006 at St. Michaels Catholic Church in Milroy where he has been a member for many years. He was also a member of the Milroy American Legion and enjoyed fishing, playing cards and sharing a cup of coffee while visiting with friends. Merlyn’s favorite pastime however was helping his sons with their farming and spending time with family.

On Wednesday, June 7, 2006 Merlyn died at the Weiner Memorial Medical Center in Marshall, Mn at the age of 75.

Merlyn is survived by his wife, Jeanette of Milroy, MN; three daughters, Barb (Wally) Paradis of Balaton, MN, Kathy (George) Noller of Fremont, CA and Connie (Eduardo) Rodriguez of Tracy, CA; four sons, Gary (Cheryl) Bitker and Steve Bitker both of Milroy, MN, Greg (Janet) Bitker of Redwood Falls, MN and Tom Bitker of Wabasso, MN; 23 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; one sister, Myrtle Morphew of Coon Rapids, MN; many nieces, nephews and cousins.

His parents, one son, Jim, one brother and five sisters preceded him in death.

Interment was in St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery, Milroy, MN with the Almlie Funeral Home of Tracy handling the arrangements.


Theodore Kack, 78

Theodore (Ted) J. Kack of Valley Springs, CA, died May 18, 2006 at Woodland Memorial Hospital. He died of a severe heart attack while camping with his wife Betty and their camping group.

Mass of Christian burial was held on May 25 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Modesto, CA with burial at St. Stanislaus Cemetery at Modesto.

Theodore was born December 2, 1927 at Marshall, MN to Theodore Kack Sr and Anna Robinette. He attended District 6 country school in Lyon County near Marshall. After school he was employed at Powells Farm Store in Marshall.

In 1950 he moved to Amiret and worked for the Stanard Lumber Co. until being drafted in 1951. He served in the Korean war from 1951 to 1954. He returned home and managed the Stanard Lumber Co. in Revere, MN.

In 1956 he married Justine Maserek of Taunton, MN and they moved to Portland, OR. They moved to San Jose, CA and he was employed at The Woodworkers Lumber Co. as foreman in Los Gatos for 20 years. Justine died in 1985. He married Betty Cauthen of San Jose, CA in April 1987.

In 1995 he retired and moved to Valley Springs, CA where he was a member of St. Andrews Catholic Church, San Andreas, CA. He was also a member of BPOE, 1900 of Lodi, VFW Post 2600, Tri Lakes Moose Lodge 2392 of Valley Springs and a life time member of the Knights of Columbus.

He is survived by his wife Betty of Valley Springs, stepchildren James Cauthen of San Jose, Linda Zissis of Modesto, and Nancy Furstner of Danville; sister Mary Ann Blanchette of Tracy, MN and four step-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Emil, Eugene and Martin and a sister Eleanor Savoie.


Nhia Xiong, 31

Nhia Xiong age 31 of Walnut Grove died suddenly on Wednesday, June 7, 2006. Funeral services were held at 10:00 a.m. Monday, June 12, 2006 at the Walnut Grove Funeral Home.

Nhia Xiong was born in 1975 in Laos to Wachao Xiong and Yeng Yang. She was raised in Thailand and lived in a refugee camp until the camp was closed. The family sought refuge in local villages until the government opened the last door to allow families to join their families in America. Nhia finally got her chance on June 7, 2005 when she joined her family in the United States.

Nhia enjoyed her year in Walnut Grove where she met many people and made many friends. Nhia enjoyed sewing, embroidery, needlework, and babysitting for other famlies children. Nhia was a good mother and enjoyed spending time with her children.

Nhia is survived by her mother Yeng Yang of Milwaukee, WI; children: Toua Vang, Mee Vang, Pa Chia Vang and Chaka-Phong Fang; two brothers: Chong Neng Xiong of Milwaukee, WI and Wazong Xiong of Thailand; sisters: Ai Xiong of Sheboygan, WI, Holly Xiong of Walnut Grove and Mao Xiong of Thailand. She was preceded in death by her father Wachao Xiong

Interment is in the Walnut Grove Cemetery. The Walnut Grove Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.


George Reiter, 93

Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, June 12, 2006 for George Reiter at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Currie. Fr. Bob Horihan officiated. The organist was Patty LeClaire with song leader Kathy Jo Johns.

Pallbearers were Doug Jensen, Kim Jensen, Brandon Jensen, Mitchell Jensen, Kathy Felch, Randy Felch and Kailey Felch.

Honorary pall bearers were his god children, Randy Hudson and Curt Reiter.

George Reiter was born on August 15, 1912 in West Bend, Iowa to Joseph and Anna Thuringer Reiter. In 1918 the family moved to a farm near Currie, MN. George grew up on the family farm and attended country schools near Currie and graduated from IHM School in 1929. George worked with the Civil Conservation Corps for a short time.

On February 15, 1939 he and Rose Grinde were married at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Currie. Following their marriage they lived and farmed near Currie. Rose passed away in August of 1963. George continued farming until 1973. In October 1973 he and Bernice Silvernale were married at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Currie. They made their home in Currie.

On March 17, 2005 George became a resident of the Prairie View Healthcare Center in Tracy and passed away there on June 7, 2006 at the age of 93.

He was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Currie where he was their oldest male member. George also belonged to the Currie Town & Country Booster Club and the Currie Senior Citizens. George enjoyed gardening, fishing, watching the Minnesota Twins, playing cards and being with his family.

Survivors include his wife, Bernice Reiter of Tracy, MN, one daughter, Dorothy Jensen and her husband, Wayne of Currie, MN, two grandchildren and their spouses, Doug and Kim Jensen of Worthington, MN and Kathy and Randy Felch of Farmington, MN, three great-grandchildren, Brandon Jensen, Mitchell Jensen and Kailey Felch, three stepchildren and their spouses, Sherwood and Jeanette Silvernale of Currie, MN, Colette and Paul Schmidt of Currie, MN and Aljean and Robert L. Ackerman of Mankato, MN, several step grandchildren, step great-grandchildren and step great-great-grandchildren, three sisters-in-law, Corine Reiter of Currie, MN, Emma Reiter of Slayton and Cora Mae Grinde of Slayton, MN and one brother-in-law, Vernon Grinde and his wife Doris of Tracy, MN.

He is preceded in death by his first wife, Rose, five sisters, Josephine Hudson, Mary Reiter, Theresa Ruppert, Mathilda Willinger and Helen Weinzetl and three brothers, Joseph, Philip and John Reiter.

Interment was in Calvary Cemetery, Currie, MN with the Totzke Funeral Home of Slayton handling the arrangements.