Phyllis Mae Hatleli, 90, of Rushford, Minnesota, passed away at Good Shepherd Lutheran Home on December 16, 2023, from complications of dementia.
Phyllis was born on March 16, 1933, in Winona, Minnesota to Kenneth and Evelyn (Gaulke) Junghans and was the oldest of their three daughters. Phyllis graduated from Winona Senior High in 1951 where she participated in cheerleading and a performance group doing acrobatics. She was a member of Job's Daughters and later was a member of the Order of Eastern Star and held the office of Worthy Matron twice. After graduating from Winona Secretarial School in 1952 she went on to work for the Watkins Company in Winona.
Joel and Phyllis met in Winona and married October 25, 1953. They made their home in Rushford. Their marriage was blessed with two children, daughter, Kristi and son, Scott. Throughout her life Phyllis was active In Rushford Lutheran Church and participated in Circle and WELCA. Phyllis was a member of the General Federation of Women's Club, Town & County.
In addition to her family life, Phyllis started selling Avon in 1967 and was a secretary for Minnesota Farm Builders beginning in 1973. In 1977 she went on to obtain her Real Estate License and over the years worked for Century 21, and Boyum Agency. She became the first Senior Dining Site Manager for the Southeast Minnesota Community Action Council (SEMCAC) in the late 1970's. While managing the site she built a vibrant community by providing nutrition along with education, entertainment, and fellowship. She assisted in developing senior dining sites in neighboring communities. She retired at the age of 70 in 2003.
Phyllis and Joel were married for 30 years before his passing in 1983. Together they enjoyed spending time with family and friends, bowling, golfing, and traveling to Florida for NASCAR races and later to Texas for winter vacations.
Her grandchildren and great grandchildren always held a special place in her heart. Whether looking out for their best interests or having fun with them she covered it all. Phyllis was never one to act her age and enjoyed playing games, water-skiing, exiting a tree house by swinging from a rope, and many more adventures with her grandchildren. They will always hold special memories of Grandma Phyllis. In her mid-80's, Phyllis bravely kayaked on the Indian River in Florida while visiting one of her granddaughters.
Phyllis shared a special companionship with Carrol Bakken which lasted for 22 years until his death in 2017. Together they enjoyed their later years with each other. She also spent time with her closest friend, Betty Culhane. The two shared the same interests and activities so their time together was always full of fun and laughter.
Phyllis is survived by her sister, Sharron (Joel) Walter; daughter, Kristi Hall; son, Scott (Cindy) Hatleli; grandchildren, Elissa Hall, Jessica (Erik) Miller, Lucas (Michele) Hatleli, and Jason Hall; and great-grandchildren, Emma Hatleli and Lydia Hatleli. Preceding Phyllis in death, were her parents, husband, her sister and brother-in-law Roylyne and Richard Schoonover, son-in-law Richard Hall.
Funeral services will be on Saturday, December 30, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at Rushford Lutheran Church. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service beginning at 1:00p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be directed towards the Good Shepherd Lutheran Services (goodshep-rushford.org) or the Rushford Lutheran Church. Interment will be at a later this spring.