Bernette's Story

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Bernette Katherine (Gangstee) Hollerich, 94, passed away on March 18, 2017 at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato surrounded by her family. Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 a.m. Friday, March 24, 2017 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Good Thunder with Reverend Jason Kern officiating. Burial will be in Barnard's Valley View Cemetery in rural Good Thunder. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Mankato Mortuary, 1001 N. Riverfront Drive, Mankato, MN 56001 and continues one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday. Memorials are preferred to St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Good Thunder or Barnard's Valley View Cemetery's perpetual care fund.
Bernette was born June 8, 1922 to Eric and Alice Gangstee in Ledyard, Iowa. She graduated from Lake Crystal High School. After graduation and before her marriage at age 25, Bernette had a variety of jobs. She worked as a housekeeper and a nanny for several families. She also worked in a newspaper office, and during World War II, worked at Kato Engineering assembling generators. Bernette married Peter Hollerich on February 17, 1947 at Holy Family Catholic Church in Lake Crystal. Bernette lived on the family farm for 62 years. She always said she was the "city girl" that moved to the farm. Bernette only had one sister, so we imagine having ten children wasn't exactly what she had seen in her future.
Bernette was a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church of Good Thunder. She also was involved in the Council of Catholic Women, Neighborhood Bible Study, and the Neighborhood Card Club. Pete and Bernette loved to dance and had a lot of fun at the family and neighbor's weddings. When Peter passed away in 2009, they had just celebrated 63 years of marriage.
In 1987, Pete and Bernette started a new hobby raising buffalo and had about three dozen buffalo roaming their pasture. The school children would occasionally attend field trips and come out to see the buffalo. The buffalo are gone now, but the Hollerich family has an annual campout in the Buffalo Pasture every Labor Day weekend.
Pete and Bernette always had a full house. Bernette enjoyed family get-togethers with her children, 30 grandchildren, and 39 great-grandchildren. Three words to describe Bernette would be content, patient, and kind. She especially enjoyed her 90th birthday party that was held May 2012. There were 200 people helping her celebrate.
Bernette answered a questionnaire about her life in October 2015. We chuckled at her response to the question, "What are you most proud of in life?" She replied, "My family and that they are all good people. No one is in prison. The sons are hardworking and the girls all married good men. Not one of them is a bum." She was also very proud of the fact that she had never dyed her hair.
Bernette's 39th great-grandchild, Chip Wesley Roth, was born an hour before Bernette passed away. We like to imagine that Chip felt his great-grandmother's love as he entered this world and she left it.
After leaving the family farm, Bernette spent eight years at Keystone in Mankato and a month at Pathstone Crossings in Mankato. We wish to thank the staff at Keystone, Pathstone, and Mayo Clinic Health System for the care that was given to her.
Bernette is survived by 8 daughters, Mary (Roger) Scheurer, Kasota, Joan Robbins, Owatonna, Barb (Mike) Lynch, Kasota, Sue (Calvin) Baarts, Vernon Center, Kathy (Larry) Caven, Amboy, Teresa (Mark) Depuydt, St. Clair, Nancy Hollerich. Mankato, Lori (Scott) Friedrichs, Rapidan; 2 sons; Don Hollerich, Newport and Dave (Pam) Hollerich, Good Thunder; 30 grandchildren; 39 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law and brother-in law, Roseanne (Norm) Carlson of Mankato; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Peter Hollerich (2009); daughter-in-law, LuAnn (DeWitz) Hollerich (1995); son-in-law, Jim Robbins (2010); great-granddaughter, Hannah Rysavy (2005); sister, Delores Dreke (2016); sisters-in-law, Christine Zehnder, Mary Schroeder, Clare Hollerich, Shirley Gustafson, and Martha Peterson; brothers-in-law, George, John and Sam Hollerich, Del Zehnder, Harry Schroeder, Ray Peterson and Warren Dreke.
Published on March 20, 2017
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