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Obituary for Mary Lorraine Utke

Mary Lorraine Utke, 97, formerly of Caledonia, passed away Friday, January 12, 2024, at Valley View Health Care Center, Houston, Minnesota.

Mary was born December 21, 1926, in La Crosse, Wis., to Preston and Helen (Johnston) Wheeler. She graduated from Soldiers Grove High School in Soldiers Grove, Wis., and immediately worked at a tobacco factory after high school from age 18 to 19.

Mary would go on to marry Raymond Rudolph Utke at age 24. Together, they would have three children, Wayne, Steven, and Sandra.

At age 49, she worked at Holmen Northern Engraving for just a week until the company went on strike. Mary then went to work at Spring Grove Northern Engraving for a little over a year.

She was an avid seamstress for years, although her favorite time was spent working in the garden, painting, and building furniture. Mary started writing children's stories at age 62 and continued through 88 years of age, but never published any.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Raymond Rudolph Utke; son, Wayne Douglas Utke; parents, Preston and Helen Wheeler; sister, Loretta Wheeler; and brothers, Raymond and Ralph Wheeler.

She is survived by her son, Steven (Sonja) Utke; daughter, Sandra (Jeff Frohock) Utke; grandchildren, Nathan (Sara) Utke, Rachel Marie Tofstad, Tanya Lynn Westphal, Jeanie (Keith) Young, Tricia Shannon, Beth (Chris) Eix, Brian (Noelia) Utke, Becky (Adam) Vice, and Christopher (Beth) Utke; 20 great-grandchildren; and 6 great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, January 27, 2024, at St. John's Ev. Lutheran Church, 650 N. Kingston St., Caledonia. Rev. Tom Schultz will officiate. Burial will be in St. Peter's Ev. Lutheran Cemetery, Union Township, rural Caledonia. A visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service, Saturday, at the church.

Online condolences may be offered at this website.

Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Caledonia Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.