In Memoriam Winter 2012

November 28, 2012

Currents Magazine, In Memoriam


Virginia Anderson Soenke ’29 (Salinas, Calif.) passed away on November 2. She had celebrated her 104th birthday only two weeks prior, on October 16. After graduating from Winona State, Virginia taught at a one-room schoolhouse before earning an advanced degree at the University of Minnesota, graduating cum laude. She worked as a librarian at Salinas High School in California after World War II. She was an avid bridge player, golfer, walker, and lifelong learner.


Alden Knatterud ’46 (Fargo, N.D.) passed away on October 26. He earned his BS degrees with honors in sociology at Winona State and his master’s in educational administration at the University of Minnesota a year later. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, training pilots. Alden was the principal of several schools in southern Minnesota before moving to Moorhead, where he was principal of the senior high school from 1956 to 1977. He then taught philosophy of education and supervised student teachers at Moorhead State University. His brother, Gerald ’54, who passed away in 2003, was also a Winona State alumnus and former member of the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees.

Jeanette (Hovden) Almquist ’47 (La Crosse, Wis.) passed away on April 6. She earned her BS in education at Winona State and taught kindergarten in Iowa and Michigan before the birth of her first daughter.

Kathleen (Hester) Crotty ’47 (Great Falls, Minn.), a retired kindergarten teacher for the Santa Barbara School District, died of natural causes on December 23, 2011.

Mildred A. (Hoffman) Carlson ’48 (Austin, Minn.) passed away on August 22. After receiving her degree in education, she taught in Harmony and returned to teaching in 1960 following her husband’s death. Mildred taught English, social studies, and history for 26 years at Ellis Junior High School.

Irene A. Steffensmeier ’49 (Flandreau, S.D.) passed away on October 6. She taught English at Flandreau High School for more than 20 years, taking a leave in 1980 to join her daughter, who was teaching in Germany. Irene soon was also teaching at Kaiserslautern High School and later working as librarian at Landstuhl Elementary School. She retired in 1995 after a 35-year teaching career.


Jeanne M. (Warmka) Fugle ’56 (Shakopee Minn.) passed away on July 26. She earned an education degree and taught for several years before becoming a mother and homemaker in Easton.

Karl Yatooma ’57 (Guild, Tenn.), a retired teacher, passed away on June 22 at his home.

Leo J. Pronschinske ’59 (New Berlin, Wis.) passed away on November 1. He earned his bachelor’s at Winona State and master’s degree at Aurora University. Leo was a science instructor for 34 years in the East Troy schools. He also avidly researched his family’s genealogy and wrote a book on its origins, as well as leading several trips to its ancestral villages in Europe.


Violet R. (Bittner) Baures ’65 (Fountain City, Wis.) passed away on August 9. She returned to WSU to complete her teaching degree while raising five boys and taught for more than 20 years at Cochrane-Fountain City School. Along with her husband, she started Valley Herb Gardens which contained more than 300 different herbs and medicinal plants.

Adeline Longworth ’66 (Austin, Minn.) passed away on August 3. She earned her BS in teaching, at the same time commuting to teach in Lyle and Glenville. Adeline was an educator for more than 30 years and was instrumental in the lives of all those she taught.

Robert J. “Bob” Maus ’67 (Lexington, Ill.) passed away on October 27. After graduating from WSU he earned his PhD at Illinois State University. He started his career as a social worker and later worked in public and private school administration.


Josephine Magdalena (Beckwith) Gerlach ’70 (Winona) passed away on September 4. She earned an MS degree at Winona State and taught at Dickinson State University in North Dakota and then at Cochrane-Fountain City High School until her retirement. She had many interests, including the AAUW, where she was president and state officer, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Winona County Historical Society.

Lee Haglund ’70 (Rochester, Minn.) passed away on July 20. He began his career as a teacher, but became a legal investigator and worked for the O’Brien Law Firm before starting his own private investigation business. He completed his working career with Rochester City Line, retiring in 2011.

Suzanne (Metzler) Enebak ’71 (Taylors Falls, Minn.) passed away on July 10. She earned her bachelor’s in art at Winona State and worked at St. Paul Companies and W.A. Lang as a claims adjustor for 12 years. She and her husband, Tom, raised their family in Burnsville, St. Paul, and finally Taylors Falls where Suzanne took a part-time job in the elementary school cafeteria until 2010.

Nancy M. Stark ’76 (Rochester, Minn.) passed away on August 14. After graduating from WSU, she earned her master’s in nursing at the University of Minnesota. Nancy was employed at Winona Health and Mayo Clinic.

Janet J. Johnson ’77 (Winona) passed away on October 19. She earned her bachelor’s at the University of Minnesota and master’s at WSU. Janet was employed by Winona Senior High School for more than 15 years.


Leanne Marie Gilbertson ’82 (Madison, Wis.) passed away on July 31. She earned her bachelor’s in elementary education at Winona State and master’s at the University of Northern Illinois. While at WSU, she was an exchange student in Oslo, Norway. Leanne taught for 22 years in Black River Falls, Colby, and Madison.

Joann Carlson ’86 (Becker, Minn.) passed away on November 5. She began her accounting career with the Federal Reserve after graduating from high school and later attended Rochester Community College and WSU, where she earned a degree in accounting. She worked as controller for Williams Publications before retiring to Becker.

Steve Kereakos ’89 (Rochester, Minn.) passed away on October 28. He earned his bachelor’s at the University of Minnesota, where he played on the 1961 and 1962 Rose Bowl football teams, and master’s from Winona State. He worked at the State Hospital in Rochester, Quarry Hill Treatment Program, and Rochester Community and Technical College, where he was an instructor, administrator, and football coach for 27 years. He won MCCC coach of the year four times and NJCAA Region XIII coach of the year two times.


Karlyn Keuter-King ’95 (Houston, Texas) passed away on May 31 following a fight with cancer. Active in volleyball and softball while at Winona State, she was also a talented singer. She was most recently employed by Bank of America Merchant Services and was an active volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul Church and school.

Shari Lynn (Dahl) Oldenburg ’98 (Rochester, Minn.) passed away on July 12 after battling a rare form of cancer. She received an accounting degree at WSU and worked for more than 30 years at Mayo Clinic.


Karin “Kari” Bowerman ’08 (Winona) passed away in August while visiting Vietnam. She was on vacation from her teaching position in South Korea. While the circumstances of her death remain unclear, Kari became sick while in Nha Trang, a popular tourist destination, and passed away apparently of respiratory failure after being taken to the hospital.

Faculty, Staff & Friends

Mary Ann Boyd (Winona) passed away on November 1. For 24 years she worked as a lab technician at Winona State and, on her retirement, received the Member Emeritus Award from the WSU Chemistry Department.


Ray Brooks (Winona) passed away on September 9. He taught in North Dakota and Minnesota and spent 27 years as faculty member at Winona State, retiring in 1992. Memorials may be directed to the Ray Brooks Scholarship Fund through the WSU Foundation.

Kathy Gudmundson (Winona), who worked at Winona State from 1980 to 2007 and was staff development coordinator in Teaching, Learning & Technology, passed away on October 9.

Phyllis Malotka (Winona) passed away on October 3 at her home. She was employed at Winona State in the Publications Office until her retirement in 1990. Phyllis was the mother-in-law of Pat Malotka, who works in Creative Services at WSU and on the magazine.

Kenneth Wynia (Winona) passed away on August 9. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he worked at WSU for 40 years as a carpenter before retiring in 2001 and starting Ken’s Carpentry.

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About Winona State University

Founded in 1858, Winona State University is a comprehensive public university with more than 8,500 students. The oldest member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, Winona State offers 80 undergraduate, pre-professional, licensure, graduate, and doctorate programs on its three campuses: the original Main Campus in Winona, the West Campus in Winona, and Winona State University-Rochester.

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