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Esther Whalen, 93 Print E-mail
Written by TRF Times   
    Oklee - Esther Ruth Whalen, Oklee, 93, died on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 at her rural Oklee residence.  
    Mass of Christian burial was held on Monday, Dec. 31 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Oklee,  with Father Chuck Huck officiating and Deacon John Bruggeman co-officiating. Casket bearers include all of Esther’s grandchildren.  
    Interment was held at the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Cemetery at Plummer.
    Esther Ruth Whalen was born May 30, 1919 at Bellingham, the daughter of the late Richard and Emma (Stromswold) Bluemke, and the second of four children. At the age of 2 years, she moved with her parents to Red Lake County and settled near Plummer. At the age of 7, they moved to a farm in Garnes Township where she grew up and attended rural school. Esther graduated from Oklee High school in 1936 and went on to teacher training in Thief River Falls,  where she taught in several area rural schools.
    On June 27, 1939, she was united in marriage to George Whalen in Oklee. The couple lived in Terrebonne for a time. Esther went back to School at Bemidji State College in Bemidji, and received her teaching degree. The couple purchased a farm North of Oklee, where she lived her entire life. Esther taught from 1958 until her retirement in the spring of 1980. She was recognized as outstanding teacher of the year in 1978. George passed away March 15, 1999.
    Esther loved to paint, was an avid reader, enjoyed gardening and her flower garden, crossword puzzles, sewing and baking. She was a member of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in the Guild and also the teachers association.
    She is survived by her children, Mike Whalen of Thief River Falls, Angie (Dean) Radniecki of Proctor, Tim (Linda) Whalen of Oklee, and Greg (Deb) Whalen of Oklee: 19 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren and numerous great-great grandchildren; sons-in-law, Jerry Johnson of Thief River Falls and Duane Carriere of Seattle, Wash.; sisters-in-law, Alice Bluemke of Oklee and Lucille Bluemke of Grand Forks, N.D., and many nieces and nephews.
    Esther was preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Emma; husband, George; children, Sharon Carriere and Joyce Johnson; daughter-in-law, Sandy Whalen; two grandsons, Tom Whalen and Terry Berggren; two brothers, Harold Bluemke and Robert Bluemke; and one sister, Betty Reed.
    Condolences may be sent at www.johnsonfuneralservice.com.