Cover photo for Leona M. Horkey's Obituary
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1927 Leona 2015

Leona M. Horkey

April 21, 1927 — May 12, 2015

LEONA M. (THELEN) HORKEY April 21, 1927 - May 12, 2015 Leona M. (Thelen) Horkey, age 88, a life long Two Inlets, MN area resident, passed into eternal life on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at the Diamond Willow Assisted Living Center in Park Rapids, MN. Leona was born on April 21, 1927 near Two Inlets, MN to Nicholas M. and Mabel (Olson) Eischens. She attended the Two Inlets Country School through the ninth grade. Since a small girl, Leona faithfully attended St. Mary's Catholic Church in Two Inlets where she sang in the choir throughout most of her life. She was united in marriage to Michael Alvin Thelen at St. Mary's Catholic Church on June 14, 1944. This union was blessed with four children: Michael, Cathy, Leonard and Nicholas. Leona devoted herself to making a warm and loving home for her husband and children. She was a wonderful cook and baker who will be long remembered for her delicious homemade breads, sausage, pork hocks with sauer kraut and for her delicious preparation of wild game; especially venison and snapping turtle. She also worked along side her husband and children in doing the farm work and logging in the woods on their farm. In fact one summer, she along with her children, the oldest just being 11 years of age, cut over 20 full cords of pulp wood by hand with a swede saw, peeled it all by hand and hauled it to the mill to help with the family budget. Her life was deeply saddened by the death of her husband in 1968. Following his death, Leona went to work at the 3-M Wonewok Retreat Center north of Park Rapids. After working there a short time she was promoted to the job of head cook, a position she held for 20 years. She was married to Walter Horkey in November of 1972 and welcomed his children: Sandy and Jerry Ritola, Butch and Diane Horkey and Billy Horkey into her family as well. Leona believed strongly in being involved in her community. She was a life long member of St. Mary's Catholic Church at Two Inlets where she was active in the work of the Ladies Guild and the Martha's Club. She served as President of the Otto-Hendrickson American Legion Auxilliary Post # 212 in Park Rapids from 1995 to 1996 where she was a tireless worker and had cooked many meals for fund raisers, special occasions and benefits. Leona was also a member of the Park Rapids Eagles. Over her life time, she skillfully made hundreds of quilts for fund raisers, gifts and special projects. She enjoyed the outdoors and avidly hunted deer well into her 70's. She loved music and could play the accordion, harmonica, piano and organ all self taught by ear. Leona also enjoyed dancing and would travel far and wide to hear a good dance band. For many years she served as the news correspondent for the Two Inlets area and wrote about weekly events for the Park Rapids Enterprise. Above all, Leona devoted her life to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who she loved with all her heart. Leona's memory will be cherished by her children: Michael (Shirley) Thelen of Two Inlets; Cathy Daniels of Hibbing, MN, Leonard (Jeanette) Thelen of Two Inlets, MN and Nicholas (Jean) Thelen of New Mexico; step-children: Sandy (Jerry) Ritola and Butch (Diane) Horkey all of Park Rapids; 13 grandchildren and 22 great grand children as well as 2.5 great great grandchildren; seven siblings: George (Francis) Eischens of Homer, AK, Sylvester "Buster" (JoAnn) Eischens of Two Inlets, MN. Jerome Eischens of Los Gatos, CA, Marie (Albert) Schroeder of Ogilvie, MN. Bernard (Alice) Eischens of Bagley, MN, Joanne Gitchell of Walker, MN, and Leroy (Janet) Eischens of St. Paul; her best friend, Jenny Bosell of Park Rapids; as well as many nieces, nephews other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; her two husbands; her step-son, Billy; her grand daughter, Melanie Thelen who died last January; two brothers in infancy; brothers: Lawrence and Kenny and two sisters: Barbara and Lillian. Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 AM Saturday, May 16, 2015 at St. Mary's Catholic Church with Father Joe Hitpas officiating. The St. Mary's Choir will lead the mass music and Rachel Thelen will play the organ. The active casket bearers are: Leonard Thelen Jr., Jason Thelen, Michael Thelen III, Dylan Weaver, Brandon Thelen and Anthony Thelen. The honorary casket bearers were Leona's brothers and sisters. Interment will be in the St. Mary's Catholic Church Cemetery at Two Inlets. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 PM Friday at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids, MN with the rosary service at 7 PM. A luncheon will follow the funeral service at the church.
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