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Eileen A. Chihak, 84

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Eileen A. Chihak, age 84 of Elma, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, at the Colonial Manor surrounded by family after an almost-year battle with Merkel cell cancer.

A Memorial Mass was held at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, at Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes with the Rev. Jerry Kopacek celebrating the Mass.

Interment will be at Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery at a later date.

Friends greeted the family from 9:30 to 11 a.m. prior to the Mass at the church on Friday.

Eileen A. Klimesh was born June 5, 1939, on the family farm near Protivin. She was the eldest daughter of Edward and Evelyn (Loesch) Klimesh.

Eileen received her formal education through high school at Rudophium in Protivin, graduating with the class of 1957. After graduation, she furthered her education at Viterbo in LaCrosse and Upper Iowa in Fayette taking classes toward elementary education.

On May 9, 1959, she was united in marriage to Robert Chihak at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Protivin. To this union four children — Marianne, Patricia, Donald and Tony — were born.

Eileen worked a short time at Sara Lee in New Hampton before working in Fredericksburg at the creamery known as Meinerz, then Beatrice, and finally Conagra. She worked there a total of 28 years retiring when Conagra closed in 2003.

Robert and Eileen raised their family and farmed west of Lourdes.

In the years before going to work in town, Eileen loved to garden, bake, and sew making many outfits and dresses made with lots of love. She enjoyed going to see the Texas Tenors and listening to Molly B with her favorite song being “You Are My Sunshine.”

She was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Church serving on the altar and rosary society and was a religious education teacher in years past.

Eileen is survived by her children, Marianne (Steve) Kurash of New Hampton, Patty (Brian) Schrage of Cresco, Don of Elma and Tony (Lisa) of Le Mars; her beloved grandchildren, Amber (Steven) Kurash, Ryan Kurash, Austin (Brittany) Schrage, Morgan Schrage, Emily Chihak and Alex Chihak; two great-grandchildren, Laken and River Kurash; two sisters, Ellen Martell of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Edna Klimesh of Spillville; one brother, Edmund Klimesh of Protivin; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Evelyn Klimesh; her husband, Robert in 2015; brother and sister-in-laws, Paul and Shirley Chihak, Joe and Marlene Chihak, Ray and Mary Valvoda; as well as brother-in-law Paul Martell.


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