Weller, Richard S. Jr. 93

Weller, Richard S. Jr.
age 93 of Howard Lake, passed away March 16, 2021 at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, MN. He was born January 28, 1928 in Hopkins, MN to Richard and Luella (Townsend) Weller. Richard attended Rockford Schoolhouse until the 8th grade and later in life obtained his GED. He held various jobs in maintenance, farming, and as a machinist. Richard enjoyed driving tractors, mowing the lawn with the lawn tractor, reading, astronomy, and watching storms.
Preceded in death by his parents, wife, Gertrude, son, Bruce, stepdaughter, Dawn, sister, Rosie and Hazel, and brother, Willard.
Survived by his sons, David and Brian, daughters, Kathy, Debbie, and Marla, stepsons, Frank Bulock and William Roth, and sister, Varona Seth.
A funeral service will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at Albion Evangelical Free Church, with visitation 1 hour prior to services at church.
Arrangements by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Cokato & Howard Lake, Minnesota 320-543-3401


Nikunen, Phyllis D. 78

Phyllis D. Nikunen, 78, of Clarion, passed away Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at Iowa Specialty Hospital in Clarion.
Phyllis Dianne Junttila, the daughter of John and Julia (Walikainen) Junttila, was born August 31, 1942 in South Range, Michigan. Phyllis graduated from L’Anse High School in L’Anse, Michigan in 1960. She then continued her education at Suomi Junior College majoring in Accounting, graduating in 1961. While at Suomi Junior College, she toured Europe with the college choir.
Phyllis was united in marriage to Pastor Jerome Nikunen on September 14, 1963 in Chassell, Michigan. The couple followed their callings to various towns and states throughout their marriage.
Phyllis held many jobs over the years, including a certified chiropractor assistant, dental assistant, sales representative for Thrivent, Special Education para and helped with disabled. Her biggest passion of all was being a Pastor’s wife and homemaker.
Phyllis enjoyed reading, collecting dolls, and churches, sewing, and camping with her family. Every summer the family would make their way to the family cabin on Twin Lakes.
Phyllis is remembered for being very social and kind hearted. It was often stated that “Dad was the head of the household but she was the neck that turns the head.” She always put family and the Lord first.
Phyllis is survived by her husband of 58 years of marriage Pastor Jerome; son Jeff and Brenda Nikunen and their children Jeremy, Jessica, Rose, Samuel and Caleb; daughter Rebecca (Dale) Trushenski and children Marcus, Daniel, Jonathan, Annika and Ronnie (Kayla); sister Kathy (Dave) Nikunen; brothers-in-law, John Feldman and Bruce (Marsha) Nikunen; sisters-in law Kris (Glen) Kloempken, and Susan Wiles, along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents; brother, John Junttila; and grandson, Peter.
May God bless her memory.
Memorial Service: 2 PM Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church of Cokato


Amundson, Mae Ruth 91

In Loving Memory of
Mae Ruth (Adams) Amundson

Mae R. Amundson of Cokato, Minnesota died Tuesday evening, March 2, 2021 at Buffalo Hospital – 10 days shy of her 92nd birthday.
Mae was born March 12, 1929 on the family farm in Irving Township, Kandiyohi County. A child of the Great Depression, she never feared hard work and at the age of six was baking bread and cakes alongside her mother, and washing dishes for the large family and threshing crews.
Mae was confirmed in the Christian faith in 1940 and was a 1947 graduate of Atwater High School. She married Waldon Amundson of rural Cokato on October 1, 1949 in Harrison Township. The couple settled into marriage on the Amundson family farm near Cokato and raised three children. Educated and trained as an LPN, Mae worked at hospitals and nursing facilities in Wilmar, Cokato and Litchfield. She was proud to assist families with the arrival of their newborns and other medical needs.
Mae enjoyed gardening and canning, baking and embroidery, crafts and quilting, and reading and learning. Her long-held desire to visit the wilds of Alaska was fulfilled in 2010 when she traveled the state with her three grown children.
Mae is preceded in death by her husband Waldon, her parents Gustav and Emma (Widmark) Adams of New London, her sister Ellen Hellwinkel (spouse Fred) and five brothers George Adams (spouse Marion), Paul Adams (spouse Mavis), Kenneth Adams, Phillip Adams (spouse Lorraine) and Edgar Adams (spouse Josie).
Mae is survived by her daughter Kathy Devine and husband Tom of Ferndale, WA; son Mark Amundson and wife Julie of Cokato; and daughter Eloise Teklu and husband Ephrem of Los Angeles, CA. She was the proud grandmother of Shannon Devine (spouse Michael) and Rachel Devine of Washington State, Melissa Roulet (spouse Josh) of St. Cloud, Nikki Van der Zwaag (spouse Andy) of Milaca, Benjamin Amundson of St. Cloud, Raphael Teklu of Los Angeles and Jeremiah Teklu of Arcata, CA. Mae also adored her great-granddaughter Pepper Curtis Devine and great-grandsons Camryn, Talan, Madden, Kaysen and Nolan Van der Zwaag – and will be fondly remembered by much-cherished nieces and nephews, church members and friends.
Services for Mae will be held at 11 am on March 10, 2021 at Cokato Evangelical Lutheran Church, with visitation one hour prior in the Narthex. Expressions of sympathy may be shared with the family at Blessed journey home, Mae.


Nelson, Whitney Marie 24

Whitney Marie (Grangroth) Nelson, the daughter of Wayne and Karen (Kilpela) Grangroth, was born on January 22, 1997 in Buffalo, Minnesota. She grew up in Cokato and was baptized and confirmed at First Apostolic Lutheran Church in Cokato. While in college she re-affirmed her faith through baptism at Hillside Church in Mankato in 2018.
Growing up, Whitney was a creative planner. From birthday party plans to making up neighborhood games she was full of ideas and made them come to life. She had lots of energy and was always up for the next adventure. From playing volleyball to summer trips to Michigan she always had a full schedule. She was able to seamlessly connect to everyone whether they were old or young. Whitney was a 2015 graduate of Dassel-Cokato High School and earned her degree in Social Work from Mankato State University in 2019. After graduation she started her career as a Case Manager at McLeod County Social Services Center. Whitney was passionate about her work as serving others came so naturally to her.
Whitney held so many special roles in her life, but the role she was most proud of was being a loving wife and partner to Nate. Nate and Whitney were married on August 15th, 2020 at Highland Community Church in Cokato, Minnesota. Together they enjoyed making a beautiful home and life together in Buffalo, Minnesota where they spent most of their free time hosting friends and family and working on home improvement projects. Whitney was the queen of do-it-yourself and always had a project up her sleeve (Nate joked that the local Menards store was their second home). She was an exceptional cook and baker, which her loved ones greatly appreciated. Whitney had a unique ability to show others love through her gifts and was incredibly thoughtful. Whether it was a party she was planning or a gift that reminded her of someone, she always made each person in her life feel so special and loved. No detail got past Whitney. Her love for kids was evident in the work she chose to do and how much her nephews and niece adored her – “Auntie Whit” was the very best auntie. One of Whitney’s favorite places was up north on Lake Belle Taine where she spent many family trips and weekend getaways with Nate throughout their dating years and marriage. She loved to travel to the beaches of California and her honeymoon trip with Nate to Lake Tahoe was a perfect beginning to their new life together.
Whitney lit up the lives of everyone who knew her, not only through her outward beauty but especially through the way she loved and served others. The bright light of her spirit, the sound of her laughter, and the joy she brought to every day she lived will be so greatly missed by all who knew her. The heartbreak of Whitney no longer on earth with us is only soothed by the confidence in knowing we will see her again in Heaven someday.
She is survived and will be profoundly missed by her husband Nate, parents Wayne and Karen Grangroth of Cokato, Minnesota, siblings Karlee Grangroth and Jordan Grangroth of Crystal, Lynnlee (Fily) Alamry of Irvine, California, Trisha (Drew) Nelson of Cokato, Brielle, Dustan, Chloe, and Garrett Grangroth of Cokato; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. She will also be very missed by her second family, Chuck and Cindy Nelson of Dassel, Erica (Kurt) Hansen of Champlin, Kate (Shane) McConkey of Cokato, Nicole (Clint) Dammann of Maple Plain, Carter Nelson of Mankato, Minnesota, her nephews Henrik and Eddie Dammann, and her niece Olivia McConkey as well as many extended family and precious friends.
Whitney is preceded in death by her brother Trent and her paternal and maternal grandparents.

Visitation: Sunday, March 7, 2021 4-8 PM and 1 hour prior to services on Monday.
Funeral: Monday, March 8, 2021 11 AM
All at:
Highland Community Church
13800 US Hwy 12 SW
Cokato, MN 55321


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 ( to their senior activity programs or Optage Hospice Care.

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