Sauk Rapids - Funeral services for Mildred Howard, 97, formerly of Thief River Falls, will be held Saturday, Nov. 30, at 1 p.m., at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls. She died Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home at Sauk Rapids.
Mildred Irene (Gustafson) Howard was born January 6, 1916 in Trail, to Axel and Annie (Florence) Gustafson. She was baptized and confirmed at Bethany Lutheran Church near her home. She grew up on a farm near Trail, and often worked for neighbors as a cook, earning money for her teacher training after high school. She always stressed the importance of education, and during some of her high school years, she lived in a boarding home in McIntosh, and continued teacher training there.
While starting her teaching in a country school near Oklee, she once said, “a nice man, named Clarence Howard” stopped by her school while hunting to say hello to her. That was the beginning connection to their marriage in June of 1940. Their married life began in Oklee, where they owned a trucking service, primarily hauling cattle to St. Paul.
Within a few years, they moved to a farm near Highlanding, where Clarence farmed and Mildred taught in country schools. She touched a lot of lives in her years of teaching. She looked forward to arranging and giving the students assignments to help run the fall carnivals and school plays.
Teaching in the country schools required some perseverance as the winters were cold and roads were not always clear of snow. She was up early in the day to drive to school and get the stove going (sometimes a wood stove) so the students would be warm when they arrived.
After her children left home, she gradually left teaching as country schools consolidated with larger schools. They also briefly lived on the Iron Range. Mildred was active in the Oak Park Church, enjoying ladies aid and teaching and sometimes supervising Sunday School.
In the late 60s she worked at the Goodridge School as a paraprofessional, and in the 40s and 50s did some teaching there. While living in Thief River Falls, she volunteered at the library, specializing in mending books, which she enjoyed. She was a dedicated caregiver to her husband and others throughout her life. She really enjoyed socializing with friends and neighbors and playing cards.
After her husband died in 1988, the farm was sold and she lived in Thief River Falls. In 2000, she moved to Sauk Rapids, to be closer to her family and enjoyed belonging to the “Happy Seniors” group for some years.
Mildred is survived by her daughter, Rosemary Kragness of St. Cloud; sons, Duane (Claudia) Howard of Lake City, and Ronald (Sharon) Howard of Prior Lake. She is also survived by seven grandchildren: Stephanie, Derek, Brock, Timothy, and Chris Howard and Brad and Brent Kragness and 11 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence; an infant son, Arden; her parents; and siblings Gladyce, Marvin, Gust, and Arlie.
The care and kindness shown to Mildred was most appreciated by her and her family. She was a good mother and grandmother.