Before she was Millie Healy, she was Mildred Jucht, a South Dakota German farm girl. She was born at home, went to a one-room school located on her parents’ land, lived in a house that burned corn cobs for heat during the day, did her business in an outhouse, heated bathing water on a wood-burning stove, hauled water for the garden from a windmill-pumped stock tank by the barn, milked cows and picked corn by hand, learned to drive a tractor before a car, went to a church where her mother’s Sunday School class was taught in German and men and women sat on opposite sides of the sanctuary, endured a three-day plague of grasshoppers that consumed every leaf on their property, was once snowed in for six weeks, drank unpasteurized milk, often had to help push the school bus out of the mud, never had a birthday party.
Although she left the farm, in many respects Millie remained a farm girl. She baked her own bread and rolls. She sewed her own and her children’s clothes. She wore a hat to church. She accepted the weather and life’s other vicissitudes with equanimity. She re-used things. She mended. She made do.
She made a household for a husband and four children, a household that regularly welcomed others: neighbors, her children’s friends, Bethel College students. She directed operettas for neighborhood kids. She led the PTA at Chelsea Heights Elementary and the choir at Grasston Baptist Church.
She sewed the shirts that two of her sons were married in, and a wedding dress for one of her daughters-in-law. One Christmas she sewed full basketball uniforms—shirts, trunks, warm-up pants and jackets—for her three boys. She made hundreds of book covers for her two teaching daughters-in-law. She made activity books for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She went back to college at age 42 to complete the degree she put on hold to raise a family. She taught at three St. Paul elementary schools: St. Anthony Park, Chelsea Heights, and Galtier. After retiring from teaching, she and her husband, Jerry, ran Lindisfarne, a retreat center in central Minnesota. When they retired from that involvement, she volunteered at a school in Isanti and at the hospital in Cambridge.
She made a difference in hundreds of lives—those of her family, her students, teaching colleagues, neighbors, fellow parishioners, retreaters at Lindisfarne, children in the Philippines.
To paraphrase Shakespeare: She was a woman, take her for all in all. We shall not look upon her like again.
In her 95 years, Millie was preceded in death by many, but she is survived by many more. All are invited to attend a celebration of her life on Friday, April 29, 2022, at First Baptist Church in Cambridge, MN. Visitation is at 4:30 p.m., with the service to follow at 5:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are welcome to the Children’s Shelter of Cebu.
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