Harriet Minks , age 93, died on November 18, 2013 in Katy, Texas. She was born on September 4, 1920 in Milaca, Mn. to Albert and Sennie Kiel. She was raised on a small farm with older sisters Sadie, Ann and brother Woodrow. Early on she watered and fed the animals, tended garden, and did her least favorite chore, cleaning chicken eggs. She learned to bake bread and cook at her Mom's side. She was a tomboy; swimming or skating on the Rum River, sledding and playing softball along with a large group of nearby cousins. Decades later, as a teacher, her students were amazed that she could hit a softball so far and still run the bases.
First in her family to earn a college degree, she used it to teach in a one room school house at Bock, Mn. Her duties included lighting the wood stove before classes as well as teaching grades 1 through 8. Her ability to teach reading presented a lifelong gift to her many students. A high-light of her 6th grade classroom at Stillwater's Oak Park Elementary was a year- long nutrition lesson provided by two white laboratory rats. One sleek shiny and active thanks to eating only fruit and vegetables, the other scrawny and listless fed only soda pop and candy. The week's two top students were awarded week-end custody of the caged rats, a coveted role.
At a country dance in 1940 a cousin introduced Harriet to an area farm boy, Ward Minks. She married Ward on October 4, 1942 in Abilene, Texas, where he was stationed in the Army. They were married for 62 years until Ward passed in 2004. Harriet spent the WWII war years working for Shell Oil Co. Research Lab in Oakland, California. She lived there with her parents while Ward fought in Europe, often not knowing if he was alive for a month or more. After the war they moved back to Pease Mn. and owned a dairy farm until 1954 when they moved to Stillwater. She lived in the same house for 54 years.
She was a summer resident of Grand Marais, a winter Texan at Rockport and traveled both coasts in a custom camper for many years. She loved bird watching delighting in their migrations.
From childhood on Harriet's church was a central part of her life. She has returned to her Creator. We will remember her for loving to laugh, often at slapstick comedies of all things, her lifelong letter writing, which we treasure all the more now, and her warmth and caring for others. Truly she did not know strangers. She made a whole new set of friends in Katy while staying in touch with her old friends. Her last words, after taking a sip of water, were "that was good". Indeed it was- a good life.
She is survived by her son Ronald, daughter- in- law Ann, and grandson Garrett of Katy, Texas, sister-in-law Lorraine Bouma of Stillwater, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Visitation at Bradshaw Funeral, 2800 Curve Crest Blvd. Stillwater on Monday November 25 from 5 to 7 P.M. Services at Oakridge Community Church, 610 County Road 5, Stillwater at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday November 26, viewing 1 hour prior.