Canton, North Carolina - Loretta Wiehr was 94 years old when she passed away on the evening of the blue moon on August 31, 2023 in her sleep.
Loretta was born July 10, 1929, on a farm 3 1/2 miles NE of West Union, Iowa near Dutton’s Cave where as a child she would walk the cows to pasture. She is preceded in death by her parents W.F. and Hulda Mittelstadt, sisters Wilma (3 years old) and Ruth (9 years old), step-sister Laura, step-brother-in-law, I.M Westendorf and husband, Ralph H. Wiehr.
Leaving behind to mourn her are her only daughter, Colleen Foxwell and husband, Allan, of Amery, Wisconsin; granddaughters, Michaela Gifford of Menomonie, Wisconsin and Michelle Brown of Asheville, North Carolina; great grandsons, Elijah Stuart, of Menomonie Wisconsin and Ellis and Barrett Brown of Asheville, North Carolina; and sister, Sophie Bell of LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
Loretta graduated from high school in West Union in 1947. She was encouraged to further her education by a favorite math teacher. Loretta attended Normal Training school in Wells, Minnesota where the small class of students turned to educators remained friends for life. Further education came from Mankato State where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1962, and her Masters of Education from Winona State in 1968.
Teaching in a one room school for three years, she then went to Kiester, Minnesota teaching first grade until 1964, when the family moved to Rochester, Minnesota to teach 1st grade at Folwell School, transitioning into a reading specialist at Longfellow and Ben Franklin Schools in Rochester, Minnesota. She retired in 1985, after a career in education of 32 years teaching countless number of students how to read and the importance of good penmanship.
Loretta married Ralph H. Wiehr on December 22, 1950, in a small ceremony at the home of Rev. A.A. Schendell in Wells, Minnesota. Rev. Schendell baptized and confirmed Ralph. The couple had one daughter, Colleen Ruth.
Loretta was a lifelong learner and a leader in many groups. Learning to analyze handwriting was the first class she took after retiring, to better understand the people around her. She learned the accordion at the age of 83, playing in nursing homes in Livingston, Texas with a small band to entertain the residents. Knitting hats for newborns, reading to day care children at story time, organizing card games and tap dancing at the local club house in her park, praying for others as a member of the Prayer Warriors group at the church. Working as a volunteer tutor for the local literacy group, her most satisfying achievement was helping a 65-year-old gentleman learn to read. She never gave up on the ability of students of all ages to succeed.
She served as an officer in the Order of the Eastern Star and as Grand Officer and President of Superstition Resort in Arizona, she was a lifetime member of Wally Byam Caravan Club. She also was a member of many educational groups during her career. A 4-H leader for many years in Olmstead County, Minnesota, she helped young people succeed on projects. Ralph and Loretta took to the road in their RV traveling in the summer, participating in Air Stream rallies where their grandchildren joined in many events. Her hobbies included reading, sewing, crocheting, knitting, quilting, and traveling.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Silver Bluff Village in North Carolina for their compassion and caring of Loretta during her final days.
A celebration of life will be held in the spring of 2024 in southern Minnesota where she will be buried in the Rice Lake Cemetery, Foster Township, Faribault County, Minnesota.
Memorials can be made to the Rice Lake Cemetery, (c/o Ron Wagner, 57536 110th Street, Wells, MN 56097) or to educational programs of your choice; schools, libraries and literacy groups.
The care of Mrs. Wiehr has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Canton and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at www.wellsfuneralhome.com