Mandan News

Obituaries Aug. 8, 2014

Leo Kraft
Kraft Leo Kraft, 85, Mandan, died July 30, 2014, at Sanford off Collins in Mandan.

Mass of Christian Burial was held on Aug. 2, at Christ the King Catholic Church, Mandan, with the Rev. Nick Schneider as celebrant. Burial was at Mandan Union Cemetery.

Leo was born on Feb. 4, 1929, to Peter and Monica (Erhardt) Kraft in Judson. He was raised and educated in the Center and Judson areas.

He married Evelyn Schaner, in 1951, at St. Vincent’s Catholic Church in Crown Butte. They farmed and ranched southwest of Mandan, until 1979, when they moved to Mandan. Leo then worked for Modern Machines and Dakota Gasification Plant.

Leo and Evelyn were very involved in their church and their community. Leo was a member of Christ the King Catholic Church and was an usher for 40 years, volunteered for Meals on Wheels for 15 years, was on the Board of Trustees for the Mandan Golden Age Services, 20 year member of the Knights of Columbus, 50 year member of St. Vincent’s Verein, a member of the Teamsters Union, drove school bus for many years and he was also a 50 year member and past president of two terms and board member of the Mandan Eagles Club.

Leo was an avid historian and had a remarkable memory for dates. He could remember family events and details easily, while his family would marvel at his recall. Leo enjoyed gathering with family, friends and neighbors to play cards. He also loved to dance the polka and waltz at the Vereins and different clubs.

Leo was a kind and gentle person and cared about his family and other people. He will be remembered and deeply missed by many. Surviving are his wife, Evelyn; daughters, Elaine (George) Fried, Mandan, and Marion Guenther, Bismarck; sons, Dale (Pamela), Bill (Mary) and John (Janelle) all of Mandan; 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; brother Kasper (Donna) Kraft, New Salem, and sister-in-law, Irene Kraft, Bismarck.

Leo was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Tom and Joe Kraft.

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Art Tokach
art tokach
Arthur “Art” R. Tokach, 83, Mandan, died July 28, 2014, at St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck.

Funeral services were held on Aug. 1, at Weigel Funeral Home in Mandan, with the Rev. Ron Hildahl officiating. Inurnment was at North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, with full military honors provided by the Mandan VFW Post no. 707 and American Legion Post no. 40.

Art was born on July 23, 1931, to Joseph and Rose (Campbell) Tokach, in Schmidt. He graduated from Mandan High School in 1950. Art married Mildred Brunelle on Dec. 10, 1951, in Mandan.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard and served from 1951-1952.

He was an electrician by trade and worked for MDU power plant. He also worked as a machinist for Northern Pacific Railroad for a time.

Art was a very talented woodcarver, which he started when he was a Boy Scout Leader and would carve “neckerchief slides.” He went on to become a very proficient woodcarver and wood turner. He was a founding member of the Flickertail Wood Carvers and later Dakota Wood Turners.

He and Mickey would make trips to Nebraska where he would teach woodcarving to others. Art also enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, camping and gardening.

Art will be deeply missed by his wife of 62 years, Mickey; daughters, Laura (Steve Barton) Tokach, Mandan, Lynn (Steve Boyle) Tokach, Aurora, Colo., and Lorraine (Jeff) Schwindt, Mandan; sons, David (Mary Kay), Mandan, Patrick (Sandra), Woodbury, Minn., Joel (Dawn), Concord, Calif., and Daniel (Ron Hildahl), Mandan; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren and brother, Raymond (Josephine) Tokach, Burnsville, Minn.

Art was preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Rose; sister, Catherine (Dale) Brower and brother, Robert.

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Joseph Pratschner
Joseph Pratschner, a lifelong resident of Bismarck-Mandan, passed away peacefully on July 24, 2014, in Prescott, Ariz., at the age of 92.

Mass of Christian Burial was held on Aug. 4, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Mandan, with the Rev. Marv Klemmer as celebrant. Burial was at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery with Military Honors provided by the Mandan VFW Post no. 707 and American Legion Post no. 40.

Joe was born Jan. 10, 1922, in LaMoure County, to John Gilbert Pratschner and Helen Julia (Schlegel) Pratschner.

During WWII, Joe served as a U.S Navy pilot. During his time in the service, he met the love of this life, Audrey Ruth Lauther, in New York City. They were married in May 1946, and returned to North Dakota, after Joe was discharged from the Navy.

Joe received his BS degree in Civil Engineering from North Dakota State University and his MS degree in Sanitary Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Joe spent his career in the North Dakota State Health Department. He retired as Director of Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Medicare and Medicaid for the state.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Audrey and four children Nancy (Paul) Witt, Susan (John) Foley, Jackie (Roel) Gallo, and Steven (Kathi) Pratschner and eight grandchildren.

Joe will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to the Catholic Relief Fund or charity of your choice.

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Helen Kilen
Helen Kilen
Helen Kilen, 93, Bismarck, formerly of Almont, died July 30, 2014, at Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center, Bismarck.

A funeral service was held on Aug. 4, at Almont United Lutheran Church, Almont, with Pastoral Intern William Dodd officiating. Burial was at the Almont Cemetery.

Helen was born Oct. 15, 1920, to Herman and Martha (Borchers) Joersz, in Morton County. She was baptized on Nov. 21, 1920, and confirmed Aug. 4, 1935, in New Salem. Helen attended school through the sixth grade.

On March 26, 1944, she married Norman Kilen and they made their home in the New Salem-Almont area, where they raised their five children. Helen was Norman’s right hand in farming and ranching. She was a talented homemaker and enjoyed needlework, gardening, baking, flowers, pets, listening to accordion music, playing harmonica and she especially loved children.

After Norman died in June of 1977, she continued living on the farm until 1991, when she moved to Mandan. She lived there for 14 years. In 2005, Helen moved to Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center in Bismarck, where she made many friends, enjoyed the music, bingo, needlework and all of the visits she had.

Blessed to have shared her life are her children, Carol (Duane) Zimmerman, Mandan, Arlene (Eddie) Becknell, Bismarck, Ethel (Doug) Heald, Sunrise Beach, Miss. and Dwight (Colleen) Kilen, Bismarck; son-in-law, Bert Esser, Hoogeveen, Netherlands; 12 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; Norman’s siblings, Ethleen Hoovestol and Charlotte (Edwin) Thiel, both of New Salem, Virgil Kilen, Thornton (Caroline) Kilen, and Tharen (Mary) Kilen, all of Mandan; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; daughter, Norma; three sisters and three brothers, Ella (Carl) Westmeyer, Emma (Walter) Matthisen, Arnold (Florence) Joersz, Kathryn (Henry) Joersz, Bill (Florence) Joersz, and Emil (Hildegarde) Moos; four sister-in-laws; and two brother-in-laws.

Helen’s family would like to extend a special thanks to the staff at Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center for their wonderful care and kindness to their mom during her nine years there.

Memorials are preferred to Almont Lutheran Church, Almont.

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