A Jordan resident for decades, Lila Klehr, 76, passed away peacefully on Monday morning, April 17, 2017, at Marie Steiner Kelting Hospice, Chaska.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, April 20 at 11 a.m., with a visitation from 9-10:45 a.m. at The Parish of Saints Joachim and Anne (Marystown) 15850 Marystown Road, Shakopee. Father Erik Lundgren will preside. Interment will be at St. Mary’s of Marystown Catholic Cemetery. Ballard-Sunder Funeral Home and Cremation, Jordan Chapel is handling the arrangements.
Victoria, MN welcomed the newest resident on April 29, 1940, Lila Lou Heutmaker. The youngest of five children, she was the daughter to parents, Arthur and Eleanor “Ella” (Tschimperle) Heutmaker. At the time, money was scarce and the family grew up with no electricity and running water. But this did not stop them from enjoying life. The farm was nestled next to Steiger Lake, which allowed Lila and her siblings much enjoyment. They spent countless hours’ ice skating, swimming, fishing and renting boats to people to use for extra income. Lila attended St. Victoria Catholic School through the eighth grade. She then attended and graduated in 1958 from Guardian Angels Catholic School, Chaska.
At Luby’s Bar in Chaska, Lila caught the eye of Gordon Klehr. They danced the night away at the Carver Dance Hall and on July 2, 1960 at the Church of St. Victoria, Lila and Gordy were wed. They soon were blessed with children, Duane, Irene and Alan.
In 1961, Lila and Gordy purchased the Busch farm in Marystown. For the next 21 years, the family raised dairy cows and pigs. In 1974, they also started raising Belgian horses. She did a lot of the plowing and helped at draft horse shows, along with preparing great homemade meals. Collecting maple syrup with the Belgians made spring a busy time of the year. While on this farm, Lila and Gordy experience the loss of the barn and crops from a tornado. But with the help of wonderful family, friends and amazing neighbors, the barn was rebuilt. The Klehr family has always been forever grateful, for the help during that time!!! Besides the normal farm animals, Lila also took an interest in raising peacocks, for decades and a special love for cats too.
In 1982, Lila and Gordy moved to a horse farm down the road on Hwy 282. There were many horse drawn sleigh rides, hayrides and trolley rides that often included a bon fire through the years, with family and friends. Visits to the Amish to fix harness or a wagon wheel was when she bonded with the Amish children and even became a pen pal to some.
On January 30, 1994, Lila’s life changed with the passing of Gordy. But she was determined to continue living on the farm, where Lila continued nurturing her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Wanting to be closer to the lake again, she constructed a manmade lake on the farm. It brought Lila back to her childhood years. Besides farm life, Lila also worked outside the home. She worked as an administrative assistant at Eaton for a few years, then Reese Associates of MN from 1990-2000 and Commercial Air Products from 2000-2015.
Lila was an original member of the Marystown Festival committee and in the earlier years planned roller skating parties for the Marystown kids. She was also on the SACS School Board, when her children were in elementary school. In Lila’s spare time, she enjoyed cake decorating, snowmobiling, playing cards, including Skat and Euchre, fishing and listening to Daniel O’Donnell. Lila enjoyed country living including processing and cooking whatever was brought home by the hunters and fisherman in her family. Through the years, Lila loved the gatherings and card parties with the neighbors. When time permitted, she enjoyed traveling to England UK, Washington DC, Boston, Alaska, Texas and Mexico. Christmas was Lila’s favorite holiday and even arranged a surprise visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus for her great-grandchildren. After retiring, Lila enjoyed eating at Clancy’s and breakfast at Emma Krumbee’s. She relished sitting outside on the porch overlooking the lake.
Lila viewed her life as being blessed, with a loving family, devoted friends and fond memories of farm. Lila always chose joy despite her health issues and will be remembered for her strong faith and decision, despite whatever cards she was dealt.
The legacy of Lila is now to be carried on by her children, Duane Klehr, Irene (Dan Groen) Klehr, Alan (Beth) Klehr; grandchildren, Sarah (Justin) Olsen, Emily (Nathan) Slavik, Grace (Tony) Bassette, Briar (Chelsea Derudder) Klehr, John Klehr; great-grandchildren, Ella Olsen, Owen Olsen, Ben Slavik, Kate Slavik; sister, Harriet Meulener; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Mary Heutmaker, Bernice (Delbert) Pauly, Marvin (Mary) Klehr, Jane Klehr, Tom (MaryAnn) Klehr, Mike (Jill) Klehr, Rick Klehr; many loving relatives and devoted friends.
Preceded in death is Lila’s husband, Gordy; grandson, Jesse Klehr; parents, Arthur and Ella; sister, Lillian Sacco; brothers, Vernon Heutmaker, Marvin Heutmaker, brother-in-law, Luke Meuleners; parents-in-law, Math and Josephine Klehr.