Eileen Marie Votava, age 82, of McIntosh, MN went on to be with the Lord December 21, 2018 at the Pioneer Memorial Care Center, Erskine MN. She died peacefully with family and friends by her side. A funeral service celebrating Eileen's life will be held Friday, December 28, 11:00am at Vernes Church north of McIntosh. A visitation will be held on Thursday, December 27 at 5:00pm-7:00pm at the McIntosh Community Center followed by a prayer service at 7pm. Arrangements are with Carlin Family Funeral Service of Fosston, MN.Eileen Marie Johnson was born to Erick and Selma Johnson (Bjornaraa) on April 13, 1936. She was raised on the farm in Hickory Township north of Trail, MN. Eileen was the only child to Selma and Erick and her childhood benefited from a large extended Bjornaraa family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Eileen graduated from Oklee High School in 1954. She then attended Normal Teacher's College in Grand Forks, ND and continued her educational career in one-room school houses, primarily at Oakland School in Hill River Township, north of Fosston, MN. On August 1, 1959 Eileen married James S. Votava. Together, they settled on a farm near Oak Lake in McIntosh, MN. As Jim delivered mail and Eileen continued teaching, they became well-integrated to the fabric of the surrounding communities in McIntosh, Erskine, Fosston, Trail, and Gully. Together, they raised 5 children and cared for many others. They provided an anchor to their family and within the community by caring for elderly neighbors and relatives; and for others' children.Eileen was an active and life-long member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church in McIntosh, where she lived out her faith by leading Sunday school programs, holiday events, children's programs and participating in church council and outreach activities. Eileen lived her life on small farms with an active spirit and many interests; including gardening, cooking, writing, raising and caring for animals, and crafts. She shared these interests and her rich Scandinavian heritage with family and those around her. It was important that her children could make (the perfect) lefse, play a musical instrument, pursue an education and carry on her generous spirit of giving. Eileen was well known for her warm demeanor and diplomatic approach. She was a loving and caring daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, neighbor and good friend to many throughout the years. 59 years of a loving marriage with Jim included the joy of countless adventures, vacations, relationships, dreams and continued laughter. Jim and Eileen were always eager to welcome people into their home for a homecooked meal and a good conversation.As her children matured, Eileen returned to teaching and worked as an early childhood educator. She worked for 21 years with families in their homes, to provide a ‘Head Start' for young children throughout the community. Teaching and caring for others were her lifelong passion, and it can be seen among all the lives that she has influenced. She touched many people in positive ways; she lived the epitome of a good life. Eileen is survived by her husband, James Votava, rural McIntosh; sons David (Lesley) of Colorado Springs, CO; Paul of McIntosh, Mark (Vivian) of Stillwater, MN; Jeanie Sobieck (Dan) of Butte, ND; and Cathy Haden (Casey) of Stillwater, MN; 9 Grandchildren, Abigail and Adam (Dave and Les), James and Candice (Paul and Amy), Jacob and Erick (Mark and Vivian), Benjamin and Meredith Sobieck (Jeanie and Dan), Zach and Alex (Cathy and Casey); 2 Great Grandchildren William and Jane (Jeanie and Dan)Memorials will support local charities/organizations that advance education and child-welfare. The Votava family would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the staff and volunteers at Poplar Meadows Assisted Living, Essentia Health Living Center and Pioneer Memorial Care Center.