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Sarah Suiter-Wirtjes, 1935-2017

Sarah Celestina (Villarreal) Suiter-Wirtjes, 81, journeyed peacefully into eternal life while at home with her loving husband, Don, at her side on March 28, 2017, following a long illness. Funeral services for Sarah will be at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Theodore Catholic Church in Albert Lea. The Rev. Russ Scepaniak will officiate. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Interment will be in St. Theodore Cemetery with a reception to follow.

Sarah Suiter-Wirtjes

Sarah was born to William O. and Maria (Aguilar) Villarreal on May 19, 1935, in Frost. Growing up she and her siblings worked in the potato fields in Hollandale and Maple Island, with Sarah always singing as she worked. Sarah attended class in a two-room country elementary school in Mason City, Iowa, before attending St. Theodore Catholic School until the eighth grade and Albert Lea High School. She roller skated every chance she got.

Sarah was married to Stanley Suiter until his death in 1984. She later married Donald J. Wirtjes on March 20, 1990, at St. Theodore. officiated by the Rev. James Russell. Sarah and Don lived with the blessings of a large family and many friends in Albert Lea.

Throughout her life, Sarah worked many jobs, including at the Canton Cafe, Best Western, North Park Drug Store Cosmetics Department and as a cashier at Hy-Vee Grocery Store. Sarah also owned an upscale children’s boutique at the Skyline Mall called “Mom’s Kids.”

Sarah was a longtime member of St. Theodore Catholic Church and proudly served as a eucharistic minister for many years. She was a good and faithful servant of the Lord and often brought Holy Communion to the ill and homebound. Sarah’s unconditional love had no bounds and she devoutly prayed and cared for her family, friends and neighbors.

Some of her favorite pastimes were gardening and cooking. Sarah especially enjoyed making enchiladas, tamales and menudo from her father’s authentic family recipes. Sarah loved to dance whenever she could and was a member of the Elks, Eagles Club and Moose Lodges for many years.

To those who met and knew Sarah, she had a heart of gold, a radiant smile and a beautiful soul. Those left to cherish her memory are Sarah’s loving and devoted husband, Don; his sons Michael (Vanessa) Wirtjes of Chicago and Larry (Valerie) Wirtjes of St. Paul; brother, Albert (Isabel) Villarreal of Albert Lea; sisters Cruz (Gordy) Andersen of Reno, Nevada, and Carolina “Connie” Navarrette of Apple Valley; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and numerous other family including aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Sarah joins the following family members in eternal slumber: parents William O. and Maria (Aguilar) Villarreal; children Joseph Diaz, William “Willie” Diaz, Cornelius “Corny” Diaz, Theresa Diaz Gamble-Gilbert and Pauline G. Iverson; little brother, Roqué Villarreal; and other extended family.

Sarah will be deeply missed by all who have been touched by her loving, compassionate and genuine spirit.