Winnifred Mae Reque, 95, passed away Friday, June 7, 2019, at the Sunwood Good Samaritan Center, Redwood Falls, Minn.
Winnie was born on her grandparents’ farm near Halstad, Minn., on Oct. 12, 1923. She always said she “came over with Columbus.” She was the daughter of William and Martha Wang and grew up with her sisters Lorraine and Doris, and brothers William, Wayne, Roger and Neal.
Winnie graduated from Halstad High School in 1941. On April 15, 1944, the cheerleader married her favorite football player, John Henry “Rock” Reque. They lived on the Brottem/Reque farm until John entered the Army and was sent to the Philippine Islands. Winnie’s love for beautiful clothes found her working at Dayton’s during that time.
After John’s discharge, they returned to the farm. As a new mother, Winnie remembers hanging up diapers on the clothesline as John buzzed the farm in a newly purchased Piper Cub airplane, something they could hardly afford. He wisely named the plane, The Winnie Mae.
Later, she and John settled in Redwood Falls. John worked for the American Crystal Sugar Company and then started his own farming enterprise. Winnie began the work of raising four daughters and helping John’s mother, Marie Reque, in her Thais Children’s shop.
Winnie loved to drive, and she and her Cadillac knew all the shortcuts in the Twin Cities. Shopping at Dayton’s with lunch at the Tea Room or the Nankin was a must. And then, with Southdale came trips to her favorite Fanny Farmer shop. Years later, Winnie joined her friends Ag Hopfensperger and Sue Weelborg in purchasing The Paris Shop, a women’s clothing store in Redwood Falls.
Our mother and grandmother was a wonderful cook and entertainer.
Going to Grandma Winnie’s house always meant the best Christmas cookies and homemade caramels. And nothing gave her more joy than spending time with her grandchildren.
Winnie’s home on Oak Street buzzed with good friends and neighbors, especially the Barnes family. Summers at the Green Lake cabin meant pontoon rides, Rummy Royal games, and corn on the cob fresh from the field. When Jackpot Junction arrived, you may have seen Winnie at a poker machine, winning of course.
Winnie and John were members of Gloria Dei Lutheran. John served as president of the congregation and Winnie was a true church basement woman. They were both avid supporters of the Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer.
Our family remembers the vibrant woman Winnie was before Alzheimer’s disease took away her light and laughter. She struggled for many years to keep her dignity and sense of humor. We are grateful to all the hard-working aides and nurses at Garnette Gardens, Franklin Golden Living, and Sunwood Good Samaritan for the care and compassion she received.
Winnie was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, John; sisters, Lorraine and Doris; brothers, William, Wayne and Neal; and son-in-law, Pete Gabbert.
Winnie is survived by her daughters, Sheryl (Richard) Peterson, International Falls, Minn., Connie (Greg) Helgeson, St. Louis Park, Minn., Jeanie Reque, Redwood Falls, Laurie Gabbert, Austin, Texas, and AFS daughter, Wallee Prachantabuhr, Phuket, Thailand; brother, Roger Wang.
She is also survived by her grandchildren — Erik (Natalie) Peterson, Britta (Michael) Ferrell, Nissa (Brady) Fougner, Nina (Chris) DeLeo, Robert (Marquitta) Trimnell, Ana Helgeson, Mollie (Jon) Parsons and Dane Van Essen (Holly Ashford).
Her great-grandchildren include Emma and Elliott Peterson, Vivian and Winnie Ferrell, Lucia and Wendel Fougner, Alyssa and Jayden DeLeo, Jesse Nord, Jack and Emmaleigh Trimnell.
A Celebration of Life will be conducted Tuesday, June 18, with a 9:30 a.m. visitation and 10:30 service at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls.
If desired, memorials may be made to The Alzheimer’s Foundation in Winnie’s memory.
Arrangements are with Nelson-Hillestad Funeral and Cremation Service of Redwood Falls.
E-mail condolences may be sent via www.nelson-hillestad.com.
Blessed be her memory.