Mildred M. “Millie” Gans, age 91 of West Union, passed away Sunday, September 27, 2020 at her home at Mother of Mercy Assisted Living in Albany, Minnesota.
A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held next summer in hopes COVID restrictions will be lifted.
Mildred Marie Imdieke was born April 16, 1929 in Meire Grove, Minnesota to John and Fredericka (Macke) Imdieke. Mildred grew up on the family farm near Meire Grove. She moved to West Union to work at Schlicht’s store in the late 1940’s. While working at the store one day, Roger Gans entered with a crock jug to be filled with vinegar for purchase. It was more than vinegar that caused him to return to the store. They fell in love and married May 9, 1950 at St. John the Baptist Church in Meire Grove. Millie was a busy partner on the farm helping with the chickens and eggs, feeding and raising calves, butchering chickens and creating hearty meals for the balers, harvesters and their five children. As the kids grew, Millie’s tasks increased as she drove the kids to boy scout meetings, piano lessons, band practice and Saturday confessions at church. When the kids were sick with measles and chicken pox, she read books to them while they recovered. Favorite titles included Tom Sawyer, Little Women and Heidi. Millie always made sure the girls were decked out in Easter bonnets and white gloves for church. For fun, Millie and Roger loved playing cards with their card group. Those close friendships and the bond with their special neighbors lasted throughout their lives. Millie enjoyed helping with the sausage supper in West Union. On the eve of the supper she could be found peeling potatoes well into the night. Millie and Roger took great pride in their children as they attended St. Bens and St. Johns – just down the road from the farm. There were children’s weddings to attend and eventually grandchildren and great grandchildren to spoil. Millie used her mother’s recipe to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for all of them. She delighted her sons-in-law with fudge nut bars and rhubarb pie. She loved helping the grandchildren feed the baby calves and cup the newborn chicks in their hands. Her love and patience were unrivaled. Roger’s unexpected death found Millie moving to Sauk Centre. She made new friends and found meaning in praying at the St. Faustina Chapel at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. She loved going for walks, traveling, and playing cards. Millie was blessed with a parade of great grandchildren. She managed to “keep it straight” as to “who belonged to which one.” Many believed she rehearsed their names before family gatherings. Babies always looked and listened intently when held by her – mesmerized by her voice. The entire family gathered a year ago to celebrate Millie’s 90th birthday. All five “Gans Kids” and spouses, 14 grandchildren and all 18 great grandchildren gathered to celebrate this remarkable woman. She was in her element with the youngest on her lap and all the rest crowded in to be close.
Eventually Millie moved to Mother of Mercy Assisted Living in Albany. Her room was decorated with the artwork of her great grandchildren. She cheered for the Minnesota Twins, listened to music on Alexa, played Bingo and attended church daily. One of her favorite things was eating the dilly bars from the Albany Dairy Queen. Because Millie was growing frail the last few weeks of her life, three-year-old great granddaughter, Greta asked her mom if great grandma Millie made it to heaven yet? Greta added, “She will be so happy there.” Amen, Greta! Amen.
Millie was a member of St. Alexius Catholic Church in West Union and was an active member of the Christian Mothers. She later became a member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Sauk Centre.
Survivors include her children, Carol (Jerry) Jansen of Sauk Centre, Judy (Craig) Anderson of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Jan (Mick) Poepping of Naperville, Illinois, John (Steff) Gans of Lander, Wyoming, and Mary (Dale) Schmitz of Naperville, Illinois; 15 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren; God children, Rita Ohman, Mike Imdieke, Bonnie Werner, Karen Sadlowsky, Scott Pischke and Rita Eltgroth; sisters and brothers, Irene Mergen, Fred (Margie) Imdieke, Sister Alice Imdieke, O.S.B., Doris (Al) Ethen, Richard Imdieke, and Aloysius (Sandra) Imdieke; sister-in-law, Margaret Breitbach; and brother-in-law, Father Richard Gans.
Millie was preceded in death by her husband, Roger Gans; parents; grandson, Kevin Jansen; brother and sisters, Agnes Imdieke, Celine Caspers, and John Imdieke; and brothers and sisters-in-law, George Mergen, Viola and Vern Bromen and Gertrude and Al Krebsbach.
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