Obituary Listings

Dorothy Winkelmann

November 27, 1921 June 19, 2018
Dorothy Winkelmann
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Obituary for Dorothy Winkelmann

Dorothy Winkelmann, age 96, of Fosston, MN, passed away on Tuesday, June 19th, at Essentia Health Living Center in Fosston. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 23rd, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church at Ebro Corner with the Rev. Gene Lillienthal officiating. Interment will be in Calvary Free Lutheran Cemetery, Fosston. Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the service on Saturday at the church. Arrangements are with the Carlin Funeral Home of Fosston and messages of condolence may be sent at

Dorothy Emma Bertha (Melchert) Winkelmann was born November 27, 1921, on the family farm in Minerva Township, Bagley, Minnesota, to parents Martin and Lena (Steinhorst) Melchert. She was baptized and confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church, Zerkel, Minnesota, a church her father helped to start. (When Dorothy was born she was a little smaller than her slightly older twin, but just as ready to be born. Years later when asked about being a twin she would say that she had to kick her sister out because she wanted to meet the world.)

She grew up on the family farm, becoming her father’s “right-hand man”, helping with chores and haying. It became a beneficial experience when she married her husband who was also a farmer.

Dorothy tended to be the instigator of the three sisters while growing up. One summer she thought it would be fun for the three of them to go “skiing”. So up on the barn roof the sisters climbed. They slid down the roof with their bare feet and once at the bottom they immediately ran for the cow tank. The bottoms of their feet were all shreds and the cool water felt good on their burning feet.

Her love for music was quite evident for she learned to play the organ from her mother and guitar from a foster child that helped her father with the field work. During their teen years, Dorothy, her twin sister, Doris, and older sister, Edna, became a popular singing trio at Farmer’s Union meetings, anniversaries, birthdays, and school events. Dorothy graduated from Bagley High School on May 31, 1940.

She met her soul-mate Isidor Herman Winkelmann at a Mission Festival at Zion Lutheran Church in 1937 when she was just 16 years old. (She said that Isidor was a quiet, humble man and those qualities endeared her to him.) She knew right then that one day they would marry. They began a long courtship via letter writing and occasional visits until they married on August 25, 1940.

Their married life began on a farm in Springfield, Minnesota. They eventually migrated to farmsteads in Redwood Falls and Willmar before moving and settling down on a 320-acre farm at Fosston, Minnesota. During this time, Isidor and Dorothy were blessed with four children; DonnaMae, Dennis, Karen, and Kerry.

Dorothy began working as a nurse’s aide in 1953 at the Fosston Hospital. She then transferred to the Sather Clinic in 1962 where she remained employed until her retirement in 1985. Dorothy loved her time spent in the medical field. She always said that, had she not gotten married, she would have gone to nursing school.

Dorothy was Superintendent of the First English Lutheran Sunday School and was actively involved in her beloved Ladies Aid. In 2004 Dorothy became organist at First English Lutheran Church. For a number of years, residents at the nursing home were regaled with old-time music for birthday celebrations—Dorothy playing the electric piano to accompany her oldest daughter who played Isidor’s concertina. These toe-tappin’ mother-daughter “jam sessions” continued until Dorothy reached the age of 90.

In her spare time she loved to do a wide variety of needlecraft. She embroidered dish towels, crocheted Afghans, and cross-stitched a number of pictures. Her specialty, however, was the Norwegian embroidery called Hardanger. She made sets of four pieces each for four children and 10 grandchildren for their wedding gifts. She also made numerous doilies and pieces for wedding gifts and anniversary gifts, as well as selling many pieces. She even won blue ribbons at both the Polk and Clearwater County Fairs for her beautiful handiwork. In addition, she made 12 Communion cloths for churches in Minnesota and Iowa. She quit embroidering only when her eyes made it impossible to sew. Dorothy always said when she couldn’t sleep she would get up during the night and do hardanger in the living room. From the dozens upon dozens of hardanger pieces she completed, we wonder if she ever slept at all!

Dorothy loved baking. When family members visited, they could always count on homemade buns, chocolate caramel bars, treasure chest bars, or other treats for lunches. When it came to canning, Dorothy was masterful at canning a broad range of produce from her expansive garden she tended to.

Dorothy was known for having a quick comeback to people’s comments. She had the innate ability to always have a witty response.

Dorothy was a true farm girl at heart and loved spending time outside in her garden, caring for the hens that provided eggs for family and friends, and helping Isidor with all aspects of farming including making fences, driving the hay wagon, disking, dragging, and helping to prepare the fields for seed.

Dorothy orchestrated numerous family get-togethers, but perhaps the most memorable were the Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers that Dorothy always made special for her children and grandchildren.

Dorothy had a strong faith in her Lord and Savior, and always had a devotional booklet on her nightstand that she would read from every night. She had a heart of gold and loved her family dearly. She was a confidante whom her children and grandchildren could always depend on for sage advice. Dorothy never held a grudge nor said an unkind word about anyone.

We will deeply miss Dorothy’s kindness, genuine warmth, and joyful laughter. The life lessons she taught us with her gentle demeanor will always be cherished. Her memory will be held dear until we are able to see her once again in God’s heavenly home.

Dorothy passed away peacefully on June 19, 2018, at the Essentia Health Care Living Center at the age of 96 years, 6 months and 9 days. She is now reunited with her loving soul mate Isidor.

Survivors are her children, DonnaMae (Hank) Domek of Alexandria, MN, Dennis (Naomi) Winkelmann of Fosston, Karen Gades of Holloway, MN, and Kerry (Cheryl) Winkelmann of Fosston; grandchildren, Jeff Domek of Alexandria, MN, Janet Domek of Ramsey, MN, Greg Gades of Holloway, MN, Stephanie (Richard) Syltie of St. Stephen, MN, Shanna (Ryan) Ludvigson of Madison, MN, Aaron (Kayla Forsman) Gades of Appleton, MN, Katrin and Dulcie Winkelmann of New Hope, MN, Timothy Winkelmann of Fosston, and Katelyn (Bryan) Mesich of Fosston; great grandchildren, Cody Domek (Haley) of Evansville, MN, Colin Domek of Alexandria, MN, Tanner, Callie, Chloe, and Lindsey Ludvigson of Madison, MN; step great grandchildren, Ashley (fiancé, Greg Puetze) Syltie of South Range, WI, Bridget Syltie of New London, MN, and Becca Syltie of Fargo, ND; great great grandchild, Weston Domek of Evansville, MN; and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Isidor Winkelmann; son-in-law, Jerome Gades; sister, Edna Munter, and twin sister, Doris Haase.

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