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Obituaries from the week of February 19, 2014

Richard Deem, 70


Richard Allen Deem of Tracy passed away on Monday, Feb. 17 at the Golden Living Center in Slayton at the age of 70.

Richard was born on March 31, 1943 to Wilbur and Grace (Draayom) Deem at the Tracy Hospital in Tracy, MN. He was confirmed and baptized as an infant; however, he received Christ, as Savior, later in life and was baptized by immersion at Victory Christian Church in Balaton, MN. He attended Tracy Public Schools and enjoyed working on the family farm between Tracy and Walnut Grove, MN.

He will be remembered for serving his country in Vietnam as a Marine, 265 Unsuit, Par 10405 MARCORSEPMAN and BuMed, service being three years, two of which were tours of duty; Reenlistment Code RE-4.

He was honorably discharged, receiving the following: Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal W/1*, Vietnam Campaign Medal W/Device, Combat Action Ribbon, Sharp Shooting Badge – Rifle, Presidential Unite Citation – Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Meritorious Unite Citation (Gallantry Cross).

Richard is survived by his sister, Kathleen (Deem) Markel of Hayward, WI., brother Douglas Walter Deem of Marshall, MN, nieces, nephews and several great nieces and nephews as well.

He was preceded in death by his infant brother, Kenneth Wilbur Deem, his father and mother, Wilber G. and Grace M. Deem and, recently, his son Terry Allen Deem of Redfield, SD.

Services are Thursday, Feb. 20 at 10:30 a.m. at the Tracy Area Funeral Home with visitation one hour prior. Interment will be held at the Tracy City Cemetery. Stephens Funeral Service - Tracy Area Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

The family requests that memorials to the Wounded Warrior’s Project at 1-877-786-6807 or

Online condolences may be sent at



Michael Giese, 59

Michael Giese age 59 of Tracy, MN died Sunday, February 9, 2014 at the Sanford-Tracy Area Hospital.  A memorial gathering of family and friends will be held from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. Saturday, February 22, 2014 at the Tracy Eagles Club.  Interment will be in the Tracy City Cemetery at a later date.  The Almlie Funeral Home of Tracy is handling the arrangements.

Online condolences may be placed at

Michael Dean Giese was born December 28, 1954 to Harold and Elda ((Jensen) Giese in Tracy, MN.  As a young boy he grew up on a farm near Tracy, before his family moved into Tracy. He attended Tracy Public Schools and graduated from Tracy High School in 1973.

After graduating from high school Mike moved to Mason City, IA, where he worked for Glenn Marshall Sanitation and also at K-Mart.  He then moved back to Tracy to help care for his aging parents and transferred to the K-Mart Store in Marshall, MN, where he worked as a warehouseman.

Mike loved anything to do with motorcycles, his dogs, and hanging out with his friends in the “man cave”.  He enjoyed NFL football and was a huge New Orleans Saints fan.  He loved spending time with, what he called his, “adopted grandchildren”.

On Sunday, February 9, 2014 Michael died at the Sanford-Tracy Area Hospital at the age of 59.

Mike is survived by his daughter, Jessie Giese of IA; his two brothers, Wayne (Dorie) Giese of Palmyra, WI and Dennis (Jo) Giese of Yankton, SD; his girlfriend, Shirley Haymes of Tracy, MN; two nephews, Shaun Giese of Palmyra, WI and Paul Giese of Mason City, IA; two nieces, Lachelle (Chad) Rouhoff of Johnson Creek, WI and Jackie Giese of Mason City, IA; seven grandchildren; three step- daughters; great nieces and nephews; and many friends.

His parents and one sister, Muriel preceded him in death.



Marian Johnson, 89

Marian Elaine Johnson, 89, died on February 14 at the Northfield Care Center in Northfield, MN. Born in Tracy, Minnesota, on April 29, 1924, to Dale and Mayme (Phillips) Donaldson, Marian came from a long line of Tracy folks. She was raised originally on the family ‘tree claim’ just east of Tracy, then subsequently moved into town along with her family. While attending Tracy High School (class of ‘42), she met her lifelong sweetheart, Bill Johnson. Marian graduated from Miss Woods Primary Teacher Training School in Minneapolis in 1944, and taught second grade for a year in Watertown, SD, while Bill was serving with the Marines during WW2. They married in the spring of 1945, and raised six children in Willmar, MN, and in Tracy.

Music and handicrafts of all kinds were important to Marian, as well as entertaining family and friends in homes in Willmar, Tracy, on Lake Florida near Spicer, MN, Mesa, AZ, and Northfield, MN. Active in many Tracy organizations, including DAR, Girls Club, Hospital Auxiliary, and AFS, she also loved to travel, play golf and bridge, read, and do puzzles. In 2007 Bill and Marian were inducted together into the Tracy High School Wall of Fame.

Marian was preceded in death by her parents, husband Reed William “Bill”, and daughter-in-law, Michele Johnson.

She is survived by her three siblings; Marge Snow (Kalamazoo, MI), Richard (Tracy), and Phyllis Brothers (Durham, NC); her children and their spouses: Judy Tonolli, Carol (Bob) Talley, Doug Johnson, Brian (Marcia) Johnson, Reed (Cathy) Johnson, and Peggy (Pat) Zimmer; 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.  Bill and Marian also hosted two Tracy AFS foreign exchange students in their home: Frank Labarta (1965-66) and Yolande Depois (1978-79).

A memorial service will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church in Northfield, MN, on Saturday, April 12, at 11:00 AM, with interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the family at 1000 Cannon Valley Drive, #107, Northfield MN  55057, who plan to donate to Northfield Hospice and to the Tracy High School Music Department.



Jean Thooft, 75

Mass of Christian Burial for Jean Marie Thooft, 75, of Lynd, were held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 14, 2014, at St. Eloi Catholic Church in Ghent. Interment followed the service at St. Eloi Catholic Cemetery in Ghent.

Jean Marie (Bernardy) Thooft was born on September 17, 1938, in Vesta, to Matthew and Ann (Wittry) Bernardy.  She grew up in Seaforth and received all of her sacraments at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Seaforth. 

On October 15, 1958, she was united in marriage to Ray Thooft in Seaforth.  The couple farmed and raised their family near Lynd.  Jean enjoyed sewing, embroidery and crocheting.  She gave most of her work away to friends, family and others.  She also enjoyed playing cards, and gardening.  Jean was fond of baking and she baked cakes for most family occasions including weddings and graduation parties. 

Jean died on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD after a short illness.

 She is survived by her husband, Ray, of Lynd, daughter Carol (and Stephen) Goblish of Milroy, grandchildren Adam, Michael (and Stephanie), Melissa (and Brandon), Amanda, Jordan and Kaitlynn, great-grandchildren Owen, Sophia, Abigail and Emmett, son David (and Shirley) Thooft of Lynd, grandson Austin, son Dennis (and Mary Jo) Thooft of Lynd, granddaughter Jessica, daughter Joan (and Gary) LaVoy of Tracy, grandchildren Mathew and Jennifer, son Dean Thooft of Marshall, grandchildren Zachariah, Lucas and Joshua, son Kevin (and Kris) Thooft of St. Clair, granddaughters Ashley and Allison, son Brian (and Jill) Thooft of Lynd, grandchildren Brayden and Brennen, siblings Kate (and Ernest) Thooft of Tyler, Bob Bernardy of Seaforth, Marlene (and Gerald) Heiling of Austin, TX, Pat (Gerald) Goblirsch of Kerkhoven, Mary Jo (and Frank) Pohlen of Janesville, Linda (and Tom) Chapman of Prior Lake, Tom Bernardy of Seaforth, Ron (and Lynette) Bernardy of Olivia, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. 

She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers Jerry and Jim.

Arrangements were with Rehkamp & Horvath Funeral Directors, Marshall, Minnesota