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Obituaries from the week of October 29, 2014

Vesta Mitchell, 88


Funeral services for Vesta Mitchell, 88, formerly of Jackson and Tracy, were held on Friday, October 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Danebod Lutheran Church in Tyler.  Burial was in Danebod Lutheran Cemetery.

She died Tuesday, October 21 at Good Samaritan Sunwood Nursing Home in Redwood Falls.

Arrangements are provided by Hartquist Funeral Home, Utoft-Johansen Chapel in Tyler. Leave on-line condolences at

Vesta Karen Mitchell was born October 25, 1925 to Einar and Hilda (Andersen) Christensen in Hope Township, Lincoln County, Minnesota. She was baptized at Danebod Lutheran Church in Tyler on December 15, 1925, and confirmed there on May 26, 1940. She attended country school through the 9th grade, and then was a nanny for various families in Tyler. On December 14, 1944 Vesta married Ray Mitchell. Their union was blessed with two daughters and 23 years of life together. The couple lived two years in Florida before returning to the area and in 1953 began farming by Ruthton, Minnesota. Following Ray’s death in 1968, Vesta moved to Redwood Falls, Minnesota and worked for a year at Control Data, then moved to Jackson, Minnesota to take a job at Univac. She then did child care and later took a job with Technical Services for Electronics in Jackson. She retired in 2002 at the age of 77 and moved to Tracy.

She moved to Garnette Gardens Memory Care in Redwood Falls in 2010, and in 2014 became a resident of Sunwood Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Redwood Falls. On Tuesday, October 21, 2014 Vesta died at Sunwood four days before her 89th birthday.

Vesta was a member of Danebod Lutheran Church where she had participated in the women’s groups. She enjoyed sewing, crafts, cooking, and baking, being known for her spritz cookies. She was a fan of the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings, and had a special love for her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. She was a devoted mother, daughter, wife, sister, and friend who was always there to help.

Vesta is lovingly remembered by her daughters. Barbara Olson and her husband Eugene “Buzzy” of Tracy, MN, and Mary Jean Mitchell of Slayton, MN; four grandchildren, Michelle (Shawn) Cilek of Redwood Falls, MN, Michael (Deb) Olson of Garvin, MN, Matthew (Dawn) Olson of Centerville, SD, and Malynnda (Rich) Erickson of Golden Valley, MN; 14 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren; sisters, Alice Thorstad of Federal Way, WA, and Jean Dettmer of Lake City, MN; brothers Harold (Joan) Christensen of Rochester, MN, and Howard (Mary Ann) Christensen of Taunton, MN; brother-in-law Bobbie Haskel of Chandler, AZ; sister-in-law Marge Christensen of Garvin, MN; and many other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Ray; her parents; two brothers, Melvin and Dan Christensen; and two sisters, Gladys Armstrong and Shirley Haskel.


Alma Scherbart, 96

Alma Scherbart age 96 of Balaton passed away peacefully while surrounded by family and friends on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at the Colonial Manor in Balaton.  Memorial services will be at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 26 at the Methodist Church in Balaton.  Visitation is 5:00-7:00 p.m. Saturday at the Tracy Area Funeral Home with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to services at the church on Sunday.  Burial is in Lakeside Cemetery.  Online condolences may be sent at  Stephens Funeral Service - Tracy Area Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Alma Gladys Scherbart was born November 29, 1917 in Irene, South Dakota to Olaf and Ragna (Hill) Toft.  She was baptized at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Irene, SD and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Balaton, MN.  Alma attended District 100 country school, rural Balaton, and graduated from Balaton High School in 1937.  On March 29, 1939 she married Valentine Harold Scherbart at her parents’ home in rural Balaton.  Alma and Val made their home near Iron Lake, south of Balaton.  They later moved to the Scherbart family farm, also south of Balaton.  Alma farmed right alongside her husband.  They retired from farming in 1975 and moved into Balaton.  In 1979, they purchased a cabin on Marion Lake near Richville, MN and Alma spent countless hours fishing and enjoyed many summers at the lake.  Val passed away in 1990, and Alma remained in her home until 2000 when she moved into an apartment in Balaton. Alma became a resident of Colonial Manor in May 2014 where she received exceptional, loving care.  Alma was a member of the Balaton First United Methodist Church where she was active with the UMW, and held several offices in the church throughout the years.  She enjoyed cooking, making ceramic items, crocheting and doing embroidery work.  Alma loved playing card games and entertaining guests. 

Alma is survived by her son Keith (Dianne) of Tracy; daughter Audrey (Bill) Stearns of Wadena; grandchildren: Kelley (Todd) Swan, Nancy (Jeff) Weyer, Mary (Bruce) DeGroat, Valerie (Tim) Quist, Monica (Ryan) Browne, Andrew (Jennifer) Stearns, and Preston (fiancée Susana) Stearns; great-grandchildren: Seth Swan, Alec Swan, Kellen & Molly Weyer, Sara & Morgan DeGroat, Jane Quist, and Cora Medina; great-great-granddaughter Emma Swan; and sister-in-law Phyllis Toft.  She is preceded in death by her parents, husband Val and five siblings: Olga Cass, Leo Toft, Gordon Toft, Kenny Toft, and Alene Lindahl. 


Justin D. Willard, 19

Justin D. Willard., age 19, of Lakeville, passed away October 22, 2014.

He is survived by his loving parents, Dan and Meah; brothers: Jared and Josh; grandparents, Dr. Wilfedo and Alice Apostol, and Dale and Angeline Willard; aunts and uncles: John Apostol, Iris (Michael) Roberts, Douglas (Cindy) Willard, Susan Ohlenkamp, Sandra (Randy) Hanson, Darren (Jill) Willard and Dean (Misty) Willard; also by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held Monday, October 27, 2014 at Macalester College, Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN. Visitation was Sunday at White Funeral Home, 20134 Kenwood Tr., Lakeville.