Elsie Heiser, age 90, of Alexandria, formerly of Parkers Prairie and Miltona, died on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, at Alex Assisted Living in Alexandria.
A private family service will be held. Interment is at Esther Lutheran Cemetery, Eastern Township. A memorial service will be held at a later date in 2021.
A recording of Elsie’s service is available below her obituary.
Elsie (Gimbel) Heiser was born on August 10, 1930, to Ludwig and Christina (Mitzel) Gimbel by Hazelton, North Dakota. Growing up during the Great Depression and the Dirty Thirties, Ludwig and Christina’s family moved around between the Dakotas as Ludwig looked for work to support his family. Elsie shared many memories and stories about growing up. As was common in those times, Elsie went to school with her siblings in one-room schoolhouses through 8th grade and later in life earned her GED. Elsie went to work as an aide in the Eureka nursing home, it was there that she met Walter. They were married on August 15, 1948. Following their marriage, Walter and Elsie lived on the Heiser family farm where they started their family. In 1953, Walter and Elsie moved their family of four to Courtland, California for a short time. They returned to Artas, SD, in 1955 when they purchased the family farm from Walter’s parents and farmed there for the next 11 years. In October of 1966, Walter and Elsie purchased their farm in Eastern Township near Esther Lutheran Church. For 30 years Walter and Elsie grew their dairy farm together before moving to their Miltona home in 1996.
Elsie loved her growing family and was blessed with eight children. She was a wonderful cook, baker, and seamstress. She enjoyed her flower gardens scattered throughout the farm and had two very large vegetable gardens. She was a loving and hard-working mom and instilled this in her children. She enjoyed playing softball with family and shared her creativity with handmade gifts such as quilts, clothing, canned goods, painted nativity scenes and so many other items we will all cherish. Elsie was very active in church as a Sunday School teacher, Altar Guild, church council, and WELCA. She was also a 4-H leader, a member of the Homemaker’s Club, and Birthday Club. In 1987, Elsie and Cindy purchased the Little Dipper Drive-In in Parkers Prairie where Elsie worked until 2003 when she sold the business to her youngest daughter, Jewel. After selling the Little Dipper she enjoyed watching her youngest two grandchildren, Megan and Danny. As her battle with Alzheimer’s progressed Elsie moved to a care facility in Alexandria, living at Alex Assisted Living for the past seven years.
Preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Walter; infant son; parents, Ludwig and Christina Gimbel; in-laws, John and Margeretha Heiser; sisters, Hedwig Schott, Susann Holzwarth, Rose Ann Turnquist, Christine Woods and Emily Guthmiller; brothers, Edward, Theodore, Theophil, Benjamin, Ludwig, and Herman; and numerous brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
Surviving Elsie in her legacy are her children, Cindy Skoglund, Micheal (MerlLynda) Heiser, Wanda Sanvik, Sheila Heiser, Holly (Steve) Lenarz, Melody (Bill) Thoennes, and Jewel (Michael) Townsend; grandchildren, Bradley (Angela) Sanvik, Crystal (Darin) Hoepner, Eric (Amanda) Lenarz, Angela (Maurice) Johnson, Christopher (Tara) Skoglund, Travis Heiser, LaTorea (Jeremy) Gordhamer, Brent Thoennes (Elisabeth Glowacki), Courtney (Jacob) Smith, Megan Townsend, Daniel Townsend, Rick Ahlers, Mitch (Stacey) Ahlers, Amanda (Steven) Dobratz, and Kandy Ahlers; great-grandchildren, Trey and Trevin Hoepner, Alex Peterson, Elliana and Tyler Johnson, Morgan and Mila Lenarz, Kali, Keegan and Emerlee Skoglund, Preston and Evelyn Gordhamer, Emma and Allison Lutovsky, Henry Thoennes, Zane Smith, Christopher, Michael, Josephine, and Rebecca Ahlers, and Summer, Arewen, Autumn, and Averie Dobratz; two sisters, Kathy Cordry and June Meidinger; and numerous sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers are her grandsons, Brad Sanvik, Eric Lenarz, Chris Skoglund, Travis Heiser, Brent Thoennes and Daniel Townsend. Honorary Pallbearers are her granddaughters, Crystal Hoepner, Angie Johnson, Torie Gordhamer, Courtney Smith and Megan Townsend.