banner.gif (15051 bytes)
banner_family.gif (1261 bytes)

Obituaries from the week of December 17, 2014

Janice Goltz, 87

Janice Mae Goltz, age 87, of Balaton, MN passed away on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at the Colonial Manor Nursing Home in Balaton surrounded by her family.  Funeral Services were held at 1:30 pm on Monday, December 15, 2014 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Balaton.  Interment was in the Sillerud Lutheran Cemetery.  Online condolences may be placed at  Almlie – Horvath Funeral Service of Balaton is caring for the family.

Janice Mae Goltz was born on August 22, 1927 to Nels and Hattie (Swan) Miller at her parents’ home in Balaton.  She grew up in Balaton and was baptized and confirmed at Sillerud Lutheran Church.  She attended and graduated from Balaton Public School.  After graduation, she moved to Mankato where she attended Johnson’s Beauty School.  After completing beauty school, she moved to Tracy.

On July 23, 1948, Janice was united in marriage to Melvin Goltz in Marshall, Minnesota.  They made their home in Balaton where Janice and her sister Murlaine operated the Jan-Laine Beauty Shop.  She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Balaton and was the Treasurer for a number of years.  She was involved in her community helping as an election judge, and at the Balaton Sportsman’s Feed.

Janice enjoyed embroidery, wallpapering, quilting,playing cards, watching birds, bullhead fishing with Melvin and grandkids, traveling,and going to musical events with her sister. She loved cooking and is especially famous for her potato salad.

On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, Janice passed away at the Colonial Manor Nursing Home in Balaton surrounded by her family at the age of 87 years old.

She is survived by her four children, Lynn (Rose) Goltz of Tracy, Barb (Tim) Corbitt of Balaton, Becky (Dick) Kidman of Balaton, and Kim (Lynn) Wichmann of Balaton; grandchildren, Patrick (Wendy) Goltz, Christina (Nicholas) Bancuk, Jeremy (Sara) Goltz, and Laura (significant other Kyle Ohme) Goltz, Mike Metz, Craig (Wendy) Metz, Robbie (Melissa) Kidman, Wade Kidman, Chris (Kari) Kidman, Jeff Kidman, Ryan Wichmann, Shawn (Nicole) Wichmann, and Kara (Randy) Miller; 18 great-grandchildren; one sister, Murlaine Henkel of Balaton, and many extended family.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Melvin, two infant sons, Lee and Lon, one brother, Johnny Miller, and one sister, Jerry Erickson.

Blessed be her memory.


Bettie Johnston, 83

Bettie Johnston age 83 of Tracy passed away Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at her home.  Funeral services will be at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 13 at the Tracy Presbyterian Church.  Visitation is one hour prior to services.  Burial is in the Tracy Cemetery.  Memorials may be sent to the Tracy Presbyterian Church or the Wheels Across the Prairie Museum of Tracy.  Online condolences may be sent at  Stephens Funeral Service - Tracy Area Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Bettie was born Bessy Obenchain on August 31, 1931 in a log cabin near Brainerd, MN.  Her parents, John and Emma Obenchain, being unable to care for her and her brothers (John, Raleigh, and Robert) gave them up for adoption.  Robert was adopted by neighbors and renamed Milton Strasburg.  The others were taken to the Minnesota State School Orphanage in Owatonna.  Bessy was adopted shortly thereafter by Gerald and Hattie (Moline) Rea of Tracy and renamed Bettie Dorothea Rea.  With the Rea’s she gained not only a stable home with loving parents, but another brother (Duwayne “Razz” Rea) as well. 

Bettie grew up in the Tracy, graduating from Tracy High School in 1949.  She was an excellent student, as well as an excellent singer, which led her to join the choir at the Tracy Presbyterian Church.  There she met the love of her life, Gordon Johnston.  They were married in 1950 and had seven children – JoAnn, Jeanette, Alan, Steven, Philip, Paul, and Kent. 

In addition to being a busy mother, Bettie was a Brownie Troop leader, a Campfire Girl leader, a member of Monday Musicale, a member of the Hospital Auxiliary, a volunteer for the One-to-One program providing elderly care for Western Mental Health Center, an active member of the Presbyterian Church,  and a member of the Sorosis Federated Study Club.  She served in various Sorosis officer positions at local, county, and district levels, including District President in 1987-88 and local historian from 1967 onward.  She also served in various offices for the Presbyterian Church, being elected an elder in 1972, appointed a member of several Presbytery committees and one synod committee, elected to be a delegate from Minnesota Valley’s Presbytery to the National Presbytery meeting in Atlanta in 1983, and elected to serve in the position of Church Treasurer, a position she held from 1998 until her death. 

As Bettie’s children grew older, she spent an increasing amount of time working with Gordon at the Johnston Real Estate and Travel business in Tracy and at the Tepeeotah Campground they ran at Lake Shetek.  She also became a volunteer at the Wheels Across the Prairie Museum, serving as secretary for two terms and as a board member, in addition to working at the admission desk where she continued to work until 2014 when health issues slowed her down.  Bettie clearly had many interests, many hobbies, and an innate desire to help other people.  She always enjoyed art, music, jigsaw puzzles, and crossword puzzles, but she really loved Christmas time, especially trimming trees, arranging Christmas decorations, and packing shoe boxes with Christmas gifts for needy children.  She got the shoe boxes sent off again this year, but didn’t have a chance to finish her Christmas decorating.  She died from heart failure on December 10, 2014 in the midst of the season she loved.

Bettie is survived by two brothers Raleigh (Wanda) Obenchain and Milton Strasburg; sister-in-law Laurel (Robbins) Rea; brother-in-law Donald (Virginia) Johnston; five children: Jeanette Marshall of Superior, WI, Alan (Judy) Johnston of West Saint Paul, Steven (Connie) Johnston of Rochester, Philip Johnston of Minneapolis, and Kent (Julie) Johnston of Tracy; ten grandchildren: Michelle Johnston, Lance Determan, William Determan, William Johnston, Katherine Johnston, Anna Johnston, Jennifer (Johnston) Gilbertson, Matthew Johnston, Monika Sziron, and Giselle Sziron; and seven great-grandchildren: Grant, Elizabeth, Spencer, and Kent Tuominen, and Hannah, Joshua, Claire Determan;  and 14 nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her parents, two brothers Duwayne Rea and John Obenchain, her husband Gordon, two children Paul and JoAnn, a nephew Neal Rea, and brother-in-law Richard Johnston. 

We will miss her greatly.