Leona C. Blenker, age 103 of Melrose, passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family on Thursday, August 22, 2019 at the CentraCare Health Nursing Home in Melrose, Minnesota.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, August 26 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Meire Grove with Rev. Marvin Enneking officiating. Interment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Melrose.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Patton-Schad Funeral Home in Melrose and from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday at the church. The Christian Women, Catholic United Financial, Catholic Order of Foresters, and the VFW Auxiliary will pray at 5:30 p.m. followed by parish prayers at 7 p.m. Sunday evening at the funeral home.
Leona Catherine Hinnenkamp was born May 20, 1916 in Melrose Township, Stearns County, Minnesota to Frank and Elizabeth (Schmiesing) Hinnenkamp. She grew up the oldest of 13 children. On May 29, 1935 she was united in marriage to Bernard Blenker at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Melrose. Leona farmed north of Melrose until 1963. She started working as a cook for Gene’s Café in Melrose and later worked as a cook for St. Mary’s Church and at the school for their hot lunch program. The word of her great cooking spread and soon she was cooking for weddings, funerals, anniversaries, birthdays, and for local businesses such as the Credit Union, Stearns Electric, V.F.W. and Sports Banquet. Leona also baked many beautiful wedding, birthday, and anniversary cakes.
She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Melrose, Sts. Bernard and Elizabeth Council, Women’s Catholic Order of Foresters, Christian Women, and the Schanhaar-Otte VFW Post 7050 Auxiliary. Leona enjoyed playing cards, BINGO, and organizing bus trips to the casino. She was also the sesquicentennial queen of Melrose.
Survivors include her children, Jerry (Phyllis) Blenker of Melrose, Ivan (Renee) Blenker of Melrose, and Bernard (Jenell) Blenker of Blaine; 12 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren; and sisters, Jeanette Zehrer of Melrose and Ida Pung of Louisiana.
Leona was preceded in death by her husband, Bernard Blenker on February 29, 1980; parents; children, Marilyn Blenker and Ralph Blenker; grandson, Daryl Blenker; brothers and sisters, Lydia Beuning, Mary Ann Tooley, Ernest Hinnenkamp, Hubert Hinnenkamp, Fred Hinnenkamp, Jim Hinnenkamp, Lillian Hinnenkamp, Irene Athmann, Monica Hinnenkamp, and Sylvester Hinnenkamp.