Thelma Gades, age 97 of Glenwood, died Sunday, February 9, 2020, at Glenwood Retirement Village. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, February 14, 2020 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Glenwood with Pastor Mark Kahrs officiating. Visitation will be Thursday, Feb. 13th from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the Hoplin-Hitchcock funeral home in Glenwood and will continue at the church on Friday, one hour prior to the service. Interment will be in Glenwood Cemetery. Arrangements are with Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home of Glenwood.
Thelma Laura Erdman was born on February 4, 1923, at home on the family farm in Tara Township, Swift County, MN. She was the second of three children born to Anton and Clara (Senholtz) Erdman. Thelma’s family attended the nearby Fairfield Lutheran Church, and it was there that she was baptized on April 5, 1936, by Pastor Schwandt. When Thelma was just four years old, her mother died, leaving behind Thelma and her younger sister, Janet, her older brother, Clarence, and their father. When it came time for Thelma to go to school, she attended the local country district school.
Thelma’s father didn’t remarry after her mother’s death. By the time Thelma was a teenager, she was fulfilling the role of homemaker. When she was 20 years old, she married the neighbor boy, Merlin Gades. They married at her father’s home on March 28, 1943 by Rev. Meichner. The very next month the two moved to Glenwood, where they made their home and raised their five children. Thelma stayed home and cared for the family while the children were young. Later, after Merlin was left disabled by a work accident, Thelma took a job at the Sears Retail Outlet in Glenwood where she worked for 20 years before her retirement. She and Merlin shared over 45 years of marriage before he passed away in 1989. Thelma continued to reside in Glenwood following Merlin’s death, but she eventually moved to a smaller house near Calvary Lutheran Church. In recent years she resided in a senior assisted living apartment and this last year she was a resident at Glenwood Retirement Village.
Thelma was a charter member of Calvary Lutheran Church in Glenwood. She was a faithful attender and was active in the ladies aid and church choir. When her children were at home, Thelma had beautiful flower and vegetable gardens and canned the produce to feed their large family. She was a wonderful baker, known especially for her caramel rolls, and an avid Minnesota Twins fan that enjoyed talking baseball. She was also a talented quilter and knitter, making hundreds of dish rags over the years to give out at the holidays. In addition, each grandchild received a quilt as a wedding gift and she knitted a Christmas tree skirt for each family. After her retirement, to her family’s surprise, Thelma became interested in bowling and joined a league, which she enjoyed for several years. She also very much enjoyed visiting with family and friends and was especially happy when visitors would join her in her favorite game of cards or Scrabble.
Thelma’s family will remember her as fiercely independent and as a woman of unwavering faith. She passed away on Sunday, February 9th, at Glenwood Village Care Center, having lived to the age of 97 years. She will be greatly missed.
Survivors include her children, Carol (Wallace) Engel of South Haven, Larry (Pam Dumke) of Maple Grove, Gail (Daniel) Bogie of Worthington, and Craig (Shelley) of Lake Benton; along with 11 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandchild; as well as nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Anton and Clara; her husband, Merlin in 1989; her oldest son, Duane in 1964; her brother, Clarence Erdman and her sister, Janet Ratajesak.
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