Helen Pechacek, 1918-2014

Published 9:59 am Monday, December 15, 2014

Funeral services for Helen Katherine Pechacek (Miller) of Madison, Wis., formerly of Ellendale and Willmar, will be at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at First Lutheran Church in Ellendale. The Rev. Richard Sliper will officiate. Interment will be in Graceland Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour before services at the church. Bonnerup Funeral Service is assisting the family.

Helen Pechacek

Helen Pechacek

Helen died Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, at Oak Park Place in Madison. She was 95.

She was born Dec. 23, 1918, in Pickerel Lake Township, the daughter of Hans and Agnes (Sorenson) Miller. She lived with the family on a farm and graduated from Albert Lea High School. She moved to Owatonna to work as a live-in housekeeper and clerk in a sweet shop.She met her husband, Clayton, at a church youth group.  During the war she moved to Seattle to work as a welder in the shipyards.

Email newsletter signup

On Jan. 4, 1944, she was united in marriage to Clayton Pechacek at St. Ansgar Lutheran Church in Ellendale. Following their marriage they moved to Georgia and then settled in Ellendale, where Clayton was the butter maker at the creamery. Their first child, Louise, was born. They purchased a dairy business in Willmar and operated the Quality Dairy with Clayton’s brother, Bill. Helen was the receptionist and bookkeeper for the business. Later they purchased a locker plant and opened The Meat Center.

Helen was proud of her home and enjoyed her flower garden. She canned fruits and vegetables from her garden. She was proud to say she had fresh carrots from her garden year-round. Helen was a wonderful seamstress and enjoyed making dresses for her three daughters. Helen worked with Clayton on many projects, from floats in the Kaffee Fest Parade to camping equipment and house renovations. After retiring from their business, she and Clayton purchased and renovated rental property. Helen was an active member of Vinje Lutheran Church, where she had been in circle and helped with bazaars, made lefse and quilting. In 1993 they returned to live in Ellendale and joined First Lutheran Church.

Helen enjoyed camping with her husband and traveling all over the U.S. She and Clayton also took trips to the Caribbean, Australia and Europe. Her favorite hobbies included knitting, crocheting, quilting and crafting — making many jewelry trees.

She is survived by her children Louise Marie (Charles) Avery of Fort Myers, Fla., Donna Jean (Mark) Proeschel of Madison and Karen Helen Pechacek (Patrick Murphy) of San Diego; grandchildren Jennifer (Dave) Rands and daughters Bridget and Megan of Woodbury, Annette (Ted) Zehelein and children Emily and Amanda of Pewaukee, Wis., and Keely and Carlye Proeschel, both of St. Paul; and sisters-in-law Gladys Pechacek and Virginia Miller.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, a daughter in infancy, and brothers and sisters.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Agrace Hospice in Madison.