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Rochelle M. Wilkens, 93

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Rochelle Marie Wilkens, 93, of Red Wing, died, Monday, April 28, at Loving Residence in Red Wing.

She was born July 15, 1920, in Red Wing, to Arthur and Ruby (Welt) Fjerstad. She attended school in Red Wing and Hager City. While in Hager City Elementary School she was mentored by Mary Gwen Owen Swanson. She aspired to continue on to high school and college in order to become a teacher and though she never attained a degree, she did, however, take care of, teach and mentor many children throughout her life.

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She married Dealton Vactzy and they later divorced. On Aug. 17, 1946, she married Fredrick Wilkens and the couple made their home in Hager City. She was a longtime member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Bay City, where she taught Sunday school, vacation bible school and served as the church council president for more than 20 years. After the church closed, she was instrumental in establishing the Pierce County History Center at that site.

Rochelle loved collecting winter scenes, santas, cardinals and enjoyed doing crossword puzzles. She was well-known for her many hats and was rarely seen without one. She was a talented seamstress and also enjoyed crocheting. Baking was also something she enjoyed and many will remember her famous banana bread.

Rochelle also loved to sing and she passed that talent on to her children. Her family will remember all her words of wisdom throughout their lives and she will be sadly missed by many generations.

She is survived by seven children, Carmen (Virgil) Hinrichs of Bay City, Dayton Wilkens of Golden Valley, Ariz., Jeanne (Arnie) Follstad of Red Wing, Bonita (Tim) Huppert of Hager City, Fred (Ruth) Wilkens of Ellsworth, Cal (Nola) Wilkens of Woodbury, and Roxanne (Edward) Falkner of Appleton, Wis.; 18 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Marian Campbell of River Falls, and Bernadine Frazier of Red Wing; as well as many nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Fredrick in 2003; daughter, Arlene LeBlanc; granddaughter, Cathy Wilkens; sister, Evelyn Fjerstad; and brother, Arnold Fjerstad.

Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, May 3, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Red Wing, with Reverends Mary Eide and Kristen Schlauderaff officiating. Burial will be at Trenton Cemetery. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Friday, May 2, at the Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel and one hour prior to the service at church.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com.

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