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Obituaries from the week of February 22, 2006


Vera Boomgaarden, 91

A former Tracy woman has died in Missouri at the age of 91.

Vera Verona (Smith) Boomgaarden, daughter of Thomas Martin and Maggie (Rippentrop) Smith, was buried in Lennox Cemetery, Lennox S.D., Feb. 14. She died at St. Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City, MO., on Feb 9. She was the wife of the late Rev. Neelo Janssen Okken Boorngaarden, who served at the First Presbyterian Church of Tracy in 1945.

She was born March 28, 1914 at the homestead in what is now Lakota, IA; before WW II the town was called Germania. She was baptized in the First Presbyterian Church in Lakota, IA on July 5, 1914.

Vera received her education at Holmes Grade School and in sixth grade she attended New Central School in Rochester, MN. After graduation from Rochester High School in Rochester, , she attended Macalester College in St. Paul, for 2 1.2 years, majoring in religion and French. She was active in the Drama Club, wrote a play called, “The Life of Christ,” and wanted to become a missionary in Thailand.

Her future husband, Rev. Neelo Janssen Okken Boomgaarden, began his ministry at the First Congregational Church in Buffalo Center, IA, where the couple met in 1934. They were married in the First Presbyterian Church in Rochester on August 2, 1936.

They began a life of ministry to many churches: Buffalo Center, IA; Alexander, IA; Tracy, MN; Ellsworth, MN; Reading, MN; Marion, SD; Alexandria, NE; Fullerton, NE; and Early, IA where they built their retirement home.

Vera was active her entire life in many church functions, on Presbytery committees and boards, leader of Presbyterian Women’s Associations, circles, and Youth Fellowship Groups in almost every church they served. Writing and directing plays was a passion, especially with young adults and youth fellowship groups.

Mission work was also extremely important to her. Vera gave of her faith as a caregiver to elderly people in the community and to family members whether far or near to ensure stability during their separation and grieving processes. She loved to read books of any kind, and helped sustain and keep libraries alive in several towns. Later in life, she got to travel and really enjoyed trips to Thailand, Europe, Israel, etc.

In 2000, Vera became a resident of the Waterford Ladies Home in Blue Springs, MO where she enjoyed companionship of new friends. On Jan. 30, 2006, she suffered a stroke and was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO.

Funeral Services were held at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Blue Springs, MO Feb. 13.

The family requests that Memorials be given to Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church 3108 Westbound 40 Hwy, Blue Springs, MO 64015.

Vera is survived by three children: Neelo Dan and wife Joan Louise (Helmich) of Omaha, NE, Jon Owen and wife Irene (Steponenas) of Omaha, NE, and Verona Sue (Roberts) and husband David of Blue Springs, MO; seven grandchildren: Jon David (J.D.) Roberts of Columbia, MO, Adrian Lynn Roberts of Blue Springs, MO, Laurie Ann (Roberts) Bloom and husband T.J. of Lee‚s Summit, MO, James Brian Roberts and wife Mendy (Brown) of Austin, TX, Chad Owen Boomgaarden and wife Nicole (Kalas) of Chicago, IL, Carrie Allison Boomgaarden of Omaha, NE, Chelle Lynn Boomgaarden of Omaha, NE; one great-grandson: Ashton James Boomgaarden of Chicago, IL; one sister: Violet (Smith) Griefzu of North St. Paul, MN; and one aunt: Gertrude Knabel of Stoddard, WI.

Vera was preceded in death by her father in 1950, her mother in 1964, her husband Neelo in 1972, her son Neelo Brian 12 days after birth in 1938, her sister Lola Beulah (Smith) Bartell in 1978, and her three brothers in 1996: Forrest Elgin Smith, Melvin Vincent Smith, and Arthur Thomas Smith.

Gail Klaassen, 67

Funeral services were held for Gail Klaassen on Thurs., Feb. 16, 2006 at Tracy Presbyterian Church, Tracy, MN. Rev. David Erickson and Rev. Herbert Rotunda officiated. Rev. Kaye Brandt gave a special message. Organist was Al Pearson with Sherry Paulson as soloist.

Casket bearers were Dennis Bernaciak, Rod Wilson, Don Wyffels, Louis St. Aubin, George Noyes, Gene Hoffman.

Gail Frances Klaassen was born August 27, 1938 in Murray County near Tracy, Minnesota to Charles and Mary (Ockenfels) Ankrum. She attended country school and graduated from Tracy High School in 1956. She then attended the Mankato Commercial College. Upon graduation she worked at the Garvin Elevator.

Gail was united in marriage to Vernon Klaassen Nov. 21, 1959 at the Presbyterian Church in Tracy. They settled on a farm near St. Leo, Minnesota, where together they farmed for 46 years. In October, 2003 they built a home in Tracy where they semi -retired. Gail was known for her cooking and baking especially her “peach pie”. She was a 4-H and Girl Scout Leader, enjoyed gardening, sewing, crafts, and square dancing. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Dawson and was active in the Presbyterian Women’s Group and Homemakers Club.

After a long struggle with cancer, Gail Frances Klaassen passed away Monday, February 13, 2006 at the Tracy Hospital in Tracy, Minnesota at the age of 67 years, 5 months and 16 days.

She is survived by her husband Vernon of Tracy; mother Mary Ankrum of Tracy; daughters Phyllis (Scott) Kimball of Minnetonka, MN Loretta (Craig) Feddersen of Aurora, CO, Deanna (James) Oellien of Boyd, MN; three sisters and one brother Arlys Ankrum of Slayton, Dorothy Drackley of Tracy, Robert (Marianne) Ankrum of Tracy and Charlene (David) Lenertz of Tracy; four grandchildren Brittany and Matthew Feddersen and Alexander and Amelia Kimball.

She is preceded in death by her father Charles Ankrum, sister Mavis Amundson and brothers-in-law Harley Amundson and Theodore Drackley Jr.

Interment was in Tracy City Cemetery, Tracy, MN with the Tracy Area Funeral Home handling the arrangements.

Grace Osland, 87

Funeral services were held on Friday, February 17, 2006 for Grace Awanda Osland at Highwater Lutheran Church, Highwater Township, Cottonwood County, MN. Pastor Mike Stangeland and Pastor Jeffrey A. Turner officiated. Vocalists were Rev. Mark Krause, Marian and Roger Kopperud and Jane Klein, Bonnie Meier and Julie Anderson.

Casket bearers were Rodney and Kendall Osland, Todd and Troy Osland, Joshua Osland, Brian and Mark Meier, Scott Osland, Tim Osland and Jedidiah Kronback.

Honorary casket bearers were Rosalie Krause, Shelley Fiegen, Lisa Dunkelberger, Kimberly Jorgensen, Kris VanDyke, Karma Berndt, Katie Jo Bortnem, Angela Turner, Casandra Osland, Beth Scrivens and Suzanna Kronback.

Grace A. Osland was born on April 9, 1918 on the family farm in Highwater Township, Cottonwood County, Minnesota to the late Eddie and Ragna (Anderson) Warner. She was baptized at an early age at Old Westbrook Lutheran Church in rural Cottonwood County and was later confirmed in that same church. She received her education at Sunnyside School in Highwater Township. At a young age, Grace’s mom passed away. After her mother’s death, her father married Helen Strandberg on March 11, 1922. Helen lovingly helped raise Grace and her siblings. In 1936, Grace attended St. Paul Bible Institute until the spring of 1937.

On October 20, 1937, Grace was united in marriage to Selmer Ervin Osland at the Lutheran Parsonage in Flandreau, South Dakota. Grace was a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother who farmed all of her working years with her husband Selmer in Storden Township where they raised their six children.

On August 3, 1997, Selmer passed away. After his death Grace continued to live on the family farm until October of 2005 when she became a resident of the Sogge Good Samaritan Center in Windom. She remained there until passing away suddenly on Monday morning, February 13, 2006 at the wonderful age of 87.

Through the years, Grace was an active member of her church community, the Highwater Lutheran Church in rural Lamberton. Grace had many enjoyments in life which included playing piano for her own enjoyment, crocheting, baking cookies and homemade angel food cake for everyone’s birthday and gardening. Grace will be remembered for how she always welcomed everyone with a cup of coffee, cookies, jelly rolls, and home made buns. She especially loved rising early in the morning to spend time in devotion and prayer.

Grace’s grateful family includes her six children, Stanley Osland and his wife, Joyce of Tracy; Lyle Osland and his wife, Joyce of Windom; Roger Osland and his wife, Carley of Elkton, SD; Lowell Osland and his wife, Val of Lamberton; Bonnie Meier and her husband, John of Sanborn; Betty Kronback and her husband, Perry of Lamberton; 21 grandchildren; 41 great-grandchildren; 5 great-great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Howard Warner and his wife, Fern of Revere; Earl Warner and his wife, Anna Margaret of Walnut Grove; Marian Kopperud and her husband, Roger of Revere; Margaret Madson and her husband, Joe of Sun City, AZ; Jane Klein and her husband, Bob of Grandview, TX; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, special friends and an extra special bible school friend, Esther Graham in California.

Grace is preceded in death by her parents; husband, Selmer Osland; stepmother, Helen; daughter-in-law- Carol (Middelton) Osland; one infant great-grandson; one infant brother, Wallace Warner; and three sisters, Martha Osland, Mildred Johnson,

Interment was in Highwater Lutheran Cemetery, Highwater Township, Cottonwood County, MN with the LaCanne Family Funeral Service handled the arrangements.