Teacher loved work, family; Kloempken taught for more than 30 years

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Eunys Ottilie Kloempken was a teacher in Austin for more than 30 years, but that’s not all that she is remembered for.



Kloempken, who taught elementary school for more than 35 years, passed away May 29.

Kloempken was the oldest child out of six children, with two sisters and three brothers. She grew up on a farm outside of Hamburg, Minn., and lived in Austin for several years before moving to Belle Plaine four years ago to be closer to her family.

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“She wanted to be closer to the greater group,” Kloempken’s sister, Amy Franck said. “She lived in a town house five minutes from me, and I loved it.”

Kloempken taught in Lester Prairie, Bagley, and at a few different schools in Austin starting in 1972. She enjoyed teaching elementary-age students the most, usually first and second graders, Franck remembered.

Even after she retired, she was a substitute teacher in Blooming Prairie.

Franck said Kloempken was very family oriented and especially loved seeing her nieces and nephews. She also stayed in touch with her friends and roommates from college, whom she met at Mankato State in 1969.

According to Franck, Kloempken loved to travel. She recalled the time they went to Graceland in 2008 and had a lot of fun. Franck said they would go to Red Wing and take long weekend trips, and Franck would stay with her in Austin. Franck said herself, Kloempken and their third sister, Bonie, would choose a weekend every year to get together at Kloempken’s home in Austin and scrapbook and visit the different sites Austin had to offer. Franck said she and Bonie missed those trips when Eunys moved to Belle Plaine.

Eunys Kloempken works on a photo album in this submitted photo. -- Photo provided

Eunys Kloempken works on a photo album in this submitted photo. — Photo provided

“We just had a lot of fun and interesting times together,” Franck said.

Kloempken attended church at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Austin.

“We had a lot of people from church say how she was very involved,” Franck said.

Kloempken would help out in the church in many ways, such as working in the kitchen.

“She was always willing to just get involved,” Franck said.

Ruth Monson, the church choir director, said Kloempken was always very involved in the church mission work. She even went to Tanzania on a mission trip a number of years ago.

“She was really a very dedicated member of the choir,” Monson said.

Kloempken was in the church choir for many years, even before Monson became the choir director about 15 years ago. Monson remembered Kloempken as a very pleasant person who seemed to enjoy everything.

“Church was a very big part of her life,” Monson said.

When she moved up to Belle Plaine, Franck said Kloempkin started a book club because she missed having one.

Carol Gilbertson, a fellow teacher at Woodson Kindergarten Center and Banfield Elementary, said Kloempken loved to see her students reading. She recalled when summer was drawing near, Kloempken would tell her students that if she saw them at the library over the summer, she would give them 50 cents.

“She really encouraged her students to read,” Gilbertson said.

Franck said students did not forget her. Kloempken was invited to several of her former student’s weddings.

“She must have had an impact on [her students], that 20 years later she gets invited to their weddings,” Franck said.

Gilbertson recalled Kloempken’s love for gardening. She would garden with her younger brother, Mark, and when she was getting ready to start her garden, she would go to Dairy Queen and buy chocolate Dilly bars, so that she could use the sticks to mark the rows in her garden.

“She had a good sense of humor,” Gilbertson said.

Kloempken loved having fresh tomatoes, bell peppers and other vegetables, according to Franck.

Franck said the family has received many cards and online comments full of good memories of Kloempken. She said she has gotten a better sense of just how many friends Kloempken had in Austin.