Mandan News

Obituaries – May 5-12, 2012

Helen Kuller

Helen I. Kuller, 85, New Salem, passed away on May 5, 2012, at Medcenter One Hospital, Bismarck.

A funeral service was held on Wednesday, May 9, at Peace Church, New Salem, with Reverend Joshua Eddy officiating. Burial was at the Judson Cemetery.

Helen was born Jan. 15, 1927, at her family home south of San Antonio, Texas, the daughter of Felix and Sophie (Opiela) Krisch. On Aug. 26, 1945, Helen married Willard J. Kuller, who was in the Army Air Corp in San Antonio, Texas. Moving back to North Dakota in 1946, they made their home on a farm south of Judson, where Helen enjoyed growing flowers, tending her vegetable garden and feeding the birds. She also enjoyed fishing and was a wonderful cook and baker. Her family especially loved her apple pie.

Helen is survived by her husband of 66 years, Willard J. Kuller, Judson; daughter, Betty Ann (Harley) Trautman, Bismarck; four grandchildren, Steve (Cori) Trautman, Moorhead, Minn., Tim Trautman, Bismarck, Jon (Kathy) Trautman, Chaska, Minn., and Marea (Chris) Reinicke, Bismarck; and six great-grandchildren, Rachael and Rebecca

Trautman, Opal and Gabriel Trautman, and Jaden and Kyler Reinicke.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Frank and Joe Krisch; one sister-in-law, Val (Frank) Krisch; and one sister, Dorothy Sawyer.

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Herbert Renken

Herbert Renken, 83, Shields, passed away April 25, 2012, at Medcenter One Hospital Bismarck.

Services were held on Tuesday, May 1, at First Lutheran Church, Mandan, with Rev. Gary Heaton officiating. Burial was at the Freda Cemetery in Freda.

Herbert Emil Renken was born on July 31, 1928, in Freda, to Dick and Johanna (Hemmelrick) Renken. He was raised and educated in Freda. On June 5, 1952, he married Opal Harrison in Selfridge.

Herbert and Opal began their own farm together approximately 1 mile from Herb’s original birthplace. For nearly 50 years they farmed, ranched and maintained a milking operation. This farm and ranch was his true passion in life. He was a true lover of nature, which was evident in the numerous trees and flowers he planted each year. He was a very hardworking, honest and generous man, always helping anyone in need. Herb was also a very good mechanic in his early years, and a great teacher with lots of patience. He lived his life, with the love of his family and friends.

Herbert will be greatly missed by his wife, Opal, Shields; daughters, Audrey (Gary) Wangler and Joyce (Gary) Chadwick, both of Mandan, and Carol (Bryan) Knapp, Bismarck; son, Ryan (Denise), Mandan; nine grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; brothers, Dick (Virginia), Wolfpoint, Mont., James (Cecelia), Yankton, S.D., and Hilda Renken, Mandan.

Herbert was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Beulah (Howard) Elder, Margaret (Julius) Christianson, Emma (Harold) Waddel, Alvina (Chester) Jerabek and Bertha (Verdon) Parson; and brothers, Bill (Kate), Ed (Jessica), George and Harry.

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Colleen Wirtz

Colleen (Hermanson) Wirtz, age 85, quietly passed away on May 2, 2012, at her home in Mandan, surrounded by her family.

Services were held on Saturday, May 5, at First Lutheran Church, Mandan, with Reverend Lee Herberg officiating.

Colleen was born on Feb. 4, 1927, in Mandan, to Alfred and Mabel (Hendrickson) Hermanson. She married John Wirtz, the love of her life, on Aug. 12, 1947, in Billings, Mont. Together they raised two sons, Dr. Wayne Wirtz and Tom Wirtz.

Colleen had a wonderful sense of humor. Family and friends loved to gather round to hear her jokes and stories about her parents and 10 brothers and sisters growing up in their home in Sunny, N.D., where “if it hadn’t been for all the cats and dogs, we wouldn’t have had carpeted floors” and “in the cold of winter, we played tic tac toe in the frost on the bedroom wall.”

On Oct. 20, 1983, Colleen and John’s plan to move to the Washington state to enjoy retirement were put on permanent hold upon the birth of their favorite grandson, Stephen Wirtz, who along with his wife, Katie Dinneen-Wirtz, made Colleen and John proud great-grandparents of Nora Anne, born Sept. 2, 2010. Although Colleen will miss the upcoming birth of her great-grandson, we know that she will be watching proudly from heaven.

Colleen was preceded in death by her parents, Alfred and Mabel; her brothers, Alton, Melvin, Harold, Hank, Vernon, and Walter; and her sisters, Stella (Knudson), Vivian (Helbling), and Lenore (Wahl) Hermanson. Rumor has it, her family planned a dinner with lutefisk, lefse, and meatballs, lots of singing, jokes, and storytelling to celebrate Colleen’s arrival in Heaven, and Colleen will save a spot for the rest of us.

She is survived by her husband of 64 wonderful years, John Wirtz, Mandan; her two sons, Wayne Wirtz and his partner, Richard (Topps), Chicago, Ill., and Tom Wirtz and his wife, Lupe (Godoy), Bismarck; her grandson, Stephen Wirtz, his wife, Katie and their daughter, Nora Anne, Bismarck; her youngest brother, John Hermanson and his wife, Donna, Mandan; many favorite nephews and nieces from across the country; neighbors and special friends from her George’s Bakery coffee clutch, TOPS club, and MHS Class of 1944, all of whom will miss her dearly and treasure her memory forever.

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