Jatko, Mildred Esther 94

Mildred Esther Jatko – January 23, 1927 to February 25, 2021

Mildred “Millie” Esther (Johnson) Jatko was born in Flandreau, South Dakota on January 23, 1927 to Edward and Olive Esther (Biever) Johnson. She was raised in Lake Benton, Minnesota and graduated high school there in 1944. After high school Millie moved to Minneapolis to begin a series of business, accounting, and cashier jobs. One evening while sitting on the front porch of her boarding house a group of GIs were strolling by having just returned from the war, and she took up conversation with her husband-to-be Henry “Hank” Jatko. Henry was living in California with his sisters, and they wrote letters to each other through their courtship before finally joining Henry in southern California. They were married at the Wee kirk o’ the Heather Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 3, 1947. Leaving Inglewood, California in 1950 after the birth of their sons Thomas Leroy and James Henry, returned to Minnesota. The young family then began following Hank’s heavy road construction work in South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming with the birth of Mary Jane and Patricia Ann, along the way. Henry’s civil service work brought them to Colorado, Texas, South Dakota again and Arkansas. They then returned to Minnesota in 1964, settling in North Minneapolis. Millie worked in housekeeping at North Memorial Hospital in Minneapolis and then after some mid-life reschooling in business systems began working with Hennepin County Government.
In 1968, with two sons off to the Army (West Point USMA) and college, Hank and Millie with Pat and Mary Jane move to Bloomington, Minnesota. Having never missed a Sunday worship wherever they lived, the family joined Emmaus Lutheran Church in Bloomington as Mary Jane and Pat attended and graduated from Kennedy High School in Bloomington. Hank and Millie retired from their jobs in 1982 and for a while would spend the winters in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Henry died on February 2, 1991 and was buried at the Finnish Cemetery in Cokato Minnesota. Even before Henry’s death, Millie joined the quilters at Emmaus Lutheran as she hand-pieced and hand-quilted bed quilts for all eight of her grandchildren and a few extra for other special friends; but after quilting Millie’s great joy came from playing cards at the Creekside Center in Bloomington. Relying on friends for rides to church (she had stopped driving around 1955), she transferred membership to Redemption Lutheran Church in Bloomington. As Millie’s mobility declined, she moved into assisted living facilities and finally the LTC facility at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington.
Mildred is survived by her sons Thomas of Lakewood, Colorado, James (wife Sue Ann) of Raleigh, North Carolina; daughters Mary Jane of Stockholm, Sweden and Patricia (husband Kenneth Peterson) of Apple Valley, Minnesota; grandchildren Deborah, Monica, Megan, Erin, Jennifer, Elaine, Caitlin and Mollie; and 9 great grandchildren; nieces Suzanne, Gwynne, Diane, and Nancy and nephews Michael and Orin.
Funeral Services will be 11 AM on Saturday, March 13, 2021 at Redemption Lutheran Church, 927 East Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington, MN 55420 with internment to follow at 3:00 PM at the Cokato Finnish Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Presbyterian Homes & Services Foundation (https://www.preshomes.org/get-to-know-us/foundation/make-a-gift-today) to their senior activity programs or Optage Hospice Care.