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Elaine's Story

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Elaine Irene Dutcher, age 90, of Mankato, died Monday, March 20, 2017, at New Perspective Senior Living in Mankato.
Funeral Service 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 24, 2017 at the First Congregational UCC, 150 Stadium Road, Mankato. Visitation 4-6 p.m., Thursday at Northview - North Mankato Mortuary, 2060 Commerce Drive, North Mankato and will continue one hour before service at church. Interment will be in Glenwood Cemetery, Mankato. Memorials may be given to the First Congregation UCC or Mayo Clinic Health System - Mankato, Hospice.
Elaine was born January 6, 1927 to Johanna and Richard Uckert in Clear Lake, South Dakota. She grew up on her family farm outside Clear Lake, attending country school before graduating from Clear Lake High School in 1944. Elaine graduated from Mankato Commercial College in 1945 and accepted her first job that year at the Extension Service in Brookings, South Dakota. Her handsome next door neighbor, Gale Dutcher, caught her eye, and Elaine was forced to lob snowballs at him to get his attention. Gale and Elaine were married in January 1948 and enjoyed 65 happy years together until Gale's death in 2011.

Gale and Elaine raised four children: Barb, Rich, Nancy, and Al. Gale's teaching career took them first to DeSmet, South Dakota and then on to Comfrey, Minnesota. Elaine lived a busy life as Mom to four active kids. She also contributed to the family income by taking in ironing, managing a seasonal greenhouse and giving piano lessons. In 1964 she was once again employed outside the home at Comfrey Hospital. She began in the accounting department, studied for and obtained her certification as a medical record librarian, and eventually became hospital administrator. Following Gale's retirement from teaching in 1988, Gale and Elaine moved to Mankato, where she began a new career as a medical transcriptionist.

In addition to a busy work life, Elaine always found time to pursue other interests. From the time they were young, Elaine sewed most of Barb and Nancy's clothes. She painted beautiful ceramics, crocheted, knitted, and enjoyed afternoons around the bridge table. Over the last 45 years, Elaine became an avid and skilled quilter. Her beautiful quilts grace the homes, apartments, and dorm rooms of all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Each unique quilt is crafted with equal parts skill and love. Elaine loved nothing more than gifting a beautiful quilt to a lucky family member on special occasions ranging from weddings to graduations to the celebration of a new baby. These quilts remain a cherished legacy wrapping her family in love. Elaine was an active member of the United Church of Christ.

Elaine will be remembered for her take charge attitude, willingness to work hard for worthy causes, organizational skills, and keen memory. She took great pride in her family and was a wonderful mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She will be greatly missed.

Elaine's survivors include her children, Barb and Jim Berg, Papillion, NE; Rich Dutcher and Sandy Shuster, Beaufort SC; Nancy and Todd Fredin, Houston TX; and Al and Cindy Dutcher, North Mankato; her grandchildren and great-grandchildren include, Lori and Correy Trupp, Aaron, Caroline and Elizabeth, Kansas City; Kristy and Frank Feden, Abby, Lauren and Annie, Papillion NE; Amy and Rick Benke, Olivia and Jacob, Gretna, NE; Chris Dutcher and Danielle Pooler, Lake Jackson, TX; Kelsey Dutcher, Charlotte, NC; Lesley Fredin, Washington, DC; Mike Fredin, Geneva ,Switzerland; Emily Dutcher, Minneapolis; and Alex Dutcher, Denver, CO.
Published on March 21, 2017
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