Erna M. Filipek, 86, Minot, died Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, in a Mandan healthcare facility with her loving family by her side.
Erna Mary Klein was born Aug. 22, 1926, on the family farm, near Bowbells, a daughter of Albert and Elsa (Wolkenhauer) Klein. She was the second oldest to a family of 11 children. She was baptized Sept. 19, 1926, and in 1939 confirmed at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Flaxton. In her teen years, Erna worked very hard on the family farm and for area farmers, shocking, hoeing, cooking for threshers and also helped raise her younger siblings. She attended rural country schools for eight years and graduated from Bowbells High School in 1944. She furthered her education by attending Interstate Business College in Fargo, where she cleaned for and helped care for the Vogel family in exchange for room and board. Finding this was not her calling, she left and taught at a country school for one year in the Bowbells area. She maintained contact with many of her students throughout her life.
Erna was united in marriage to Charles L. Filipek on July 8, 1946, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Flaxton. They made their home in Minot. A year after being married, Erna's mother died in child birth, so Erna and Chuck moved back to the family farm for a year to help raise the younger children. They returned to Minot.
Although she did not pursue a teaching degree further, she used her gift of teaching to teach Sunday school for 33 years at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Minot. Her family and friends remember her most as a very giving and loving person who would do anything for anybody. She sang in the church choir and assisted many different work groups. Erna demonstrated food products in grocery stores and did personal cleaning and painting for private families until she was almost 80.
Her hobbies included gardening, both vegetables and flowers (her favorite) and writing poetry. Most people were not aware that she won several awards for her poetry. She was a secretary for the Good Shepherd Lutheran School for a term and was a substitute teacher. Erna was a member of the Starlite Homemakers Club and held various positions including president for two terms and secretary.
Erna dearly loved her family and they dearly loved her. Her most important focus was to teach her family the importance of a personal relationship with Christ. Her strong faith helped her through her many difficulties in life, including her health needs at the end. In fact, without saying a word during her last weeks in the hospital, her smile radiated the love of Christ, and everyone commented on the sweet spirit flowing from her. She was a faithful servant until her death.
Erna is survived by: her husband of 66 years Charles, Minot; children: Kim (Linda) Filipek, Burlington, and their children Aaron (Amy) Filipek and Adam (Becky) Filipek; daughter, Beth Schaible, Fargo, and her children, Daniel Schaible and Katherine Schaible; Mark (Cindy) Filipek, Coleharbor, and their children, Heather (Lucas) Lang, Samantha (Dustin) Bosch and Autumn Filipek; nine great-grandchildren; and her brothers and sisters, Edward, Albert, Gilbert, Elsie Ganskop, Ruth Pitts and Joanne Ragsdale.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Leonard and Gerald; sisters, Vera and Ellen; and a son-in-law, Calvin Schaible.
Funeral Service: Friday, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Minot.
Burial: Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.
Prayer Service: Thursday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m., in the Thompson-Larson Funeral Home Chapel, Minot.
Visitation: Thursday, Nov. 29, from 2 to 7 p.m., at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot.
Those wishing to sign the online register and share memories may access the online obituaries section at (www.thompsonlarson.com).