Ekander, Gertrude Lizzy (nee Woltjer)
August 23, 1923– December 12, 2013
Age 90 of Willmar, MN, died on December 12, 2013, in her sleep at the Good Shepherd Care Center in Sauk Rapids, MN. Her funeral will be held at the Good Shepherd Community Chapel, 325 11th Street North, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379, at 10:30 am. on Saturday, December 14, with visitation one hour prior. Her body will be buried at the Fairview Cemetery in Willmar, MN. She was born August 23, 1923, in Lake Lillian, MN, to Neil and Elsie (nee Ruchti) Woltjer. She had seven brothers: Louis (Ann), Charlie (Esther), Herman (Hazel), Elzo (Arlene), Fred (Janet), Melvin (Violet) and Chester (Geri). She also had two sisters, Lorraine (Pittman) and Elizabeth (Valentine). Their family grew up on farms in Lake Lillian, Pennock, Raymond, Kerkoven and Blomkest, MN. Gertrude (Trudi) married James Hodak and had four children with him: Joan, Diana, James (Jim) and Norma (who died as a baby). She lived in Willmar until 1954, when she moved to Litchfield, MN, and later lived in Austin, MN. She returned to Willmar to be near family and married Harold M. Johnson, with whom she had four children: Lucinda (Cindy), Jeffrey, David and Mary. She later married Leland Ekander and gave birth to Patricia (Patti) Ekander, who passed away at 36. Trudi had a long work history as a domestic worker, a florist and a line employee at Jennie-O Foods. She became a home health aide and took pride in the years she assisted families in their homes. Trudi’s one focus in life was her large family. She was also a skilled gardener and loved painting and various crafts. She loved making things grow and flourish and creating beauty. Trudi is survived by her children: Joan Stillday (Len Germer) of Austin, MN, Diana Sletta of Willmar, MN, Rev. James Hodak (Paula) of St. Cloud, MN, Lucinda (Curtis) Hamre of Mayville, ND, Jeffrey C. (Lori) Johnson of Willmar, MN, David A.(Tricia) of Sartell, MN, and Mary (Mark) Nordby of Clear Lake, MN. The family she created has also grown to 29 grandchildren, 55 great grandchildren and 17 great, great grandchildren. She also leaves behind brothers Melvin (Violet) of Willmar, MN, Chester (Geri) of Pennock, MN, brother-in-law Gene (Elizabeth) Valentine of Janesville, WI, and sister Lorraine Pittman of Lyman, NE, and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by two daughters, her parents, five brothers and one sister.