In Memory of … Remembering some of those we lost in 2014

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Many memories can be created in the span of one year. Many things can happen and lives can be drastically changed. Getting married, having a child, moving and much more can all happen in one year. A year also brings the passing of many loved ones, and 2014 saw many community staples pass away. Yet they will always be remembered in the hearts of family, friends and community members.

Here are just a few of the people who passed away in 2014. To view more people, visit

Eric Lindquist, 37

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May 26, 1976-Jan. 24, 2014

Eric Lindquist was born in Austin and attended Austin Public Schools into ninth grade, 1991, before he enrolled at New Ulm High School and graduated in 1994. Lindquist later graduated from Mankato State University and most recently worked as a long-haul trucker, primarily with Swift Transportation out of Phoenix, Arizona.

Lindquist played basketball, baseball, football and was particularly good at tennis. He grew very fond of most outdoor activities, especially in the winter.

He passed away after falling through the ice while ice fishing in the Minnesota River in Shakopee.

“He loved the outdoors,” Lindquist’s father Bruce Lindquist said. “He came alive when it got cold.”

Larry Kramer, 71

April 6, 1942-Jan. 25, 2014

Larry Kramer graduated from Austin High School in 1960 and was a three-year starter at offensive tackle at the University of Nebraska, where he was a consensus All-American in 1964 and inducted into the the Nebraska Hall of Fame. He went on to coach for 32 years and led Austin College in Sherman, Texas, to a NAIA national title. Friends and family remember him for his personality as well as his football skill.

“He was a tremendous, kind guy,” said Larry Maus, an Austin resident and friend of Kramer’s. “He was not a mean person at all. It shows that you don’t have to be a meanie to be a great football player.”

Kramer was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame for his distinguished career both as a run-blocker and a pass-blocker. He helped NU quarterback Bob Churchich break Dennis Claridge’s single-season passing record, and he made the same UPI and Coaches All-America teams as Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus.

He passed away at Rossville Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in Rossville, Kan. Kramer had been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and his health had declined for eight years.

Scott Gardner

Scott Gardner

Scott Gardner, 40

Aug. 14, 1973-March 20, 2014

A life-long Austin resident, Scott Gardner worked at Hormel Foods and Quality Pork Processors for much of his adult career. He also played billiards, palled around with his brother on camping or fishing trips, coached and played softball, and was involved with various Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry events.

For a brief time in 2012, he returned to working as a behavior modification analyst for a special needs group home that was coming to Austin. Friends and family also knew him as a loving father and husband.

“He always wanted to go pick up his kids and go get ice cream,” Gardner’s wife Tawnya said. “He couldn’t stand to be a way from them. He was an impeccable father.”

He passed away after fighting brain cancer for more than a year.

Terrance Dilley

Terrance Dilley

Terrance Norman Dilley, 73

May 20, 1940-April 25, 2014

Friends remembered Terrance Dilley as highly intelligent, but someone who loved to laugh. From 1965 on, Dilley worked at Riverland Community College and played a pivotal role in making the college what it is today by serving on several hiring committees and helping with transitions.

Dilley taught philosophy, sociology, anthropology, history, religions of the world, economics and humanities, among other subjects. He also spoke Latin, French, German and Greek.

Dilley also coached tennis at the college from 1976 to 1993 and was inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame. He also served on the ethics board at the Austin medical center for about a decade.

Keith Cich, who worked in the school library, described Dilley as his gateway into the Riverland community when he moved from Duluth.

“He loved to tell stories about people all the time,” Cich said. “He really saw a value in everyone — in a very humorous way, but he had a way of picking out things that were very valuable.”

Dilley passed away after complications to Myasethenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder.

Dean Eric Christianson, 43

June 10, 1970-May 2, 2014

As a life-long member of Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Dean Eric Christianson was drawn to the ministry, serving as a trustee and a deacon. Christianson worked at several different jobs in his life, including Corning Seed, Gandy’s of Owatonna, Cargill of Albert Lea, and he drove semi for Swift for a short time. He was a friendly person, was well liked and was always willing to engage in conversation. Mostly, Christianson was remembered as a helper and a caregiver.

Christianson passed away after drowning in the Payette River near Cascade, Idaho, after a hike.

Charles Berg

Charles Berg

Charles “Chuck” Berg, 86

March 10, 1928-June 26, 2014

Charles Berg worked as a police officer and as the Lyle maintenance worker, but most in Lyle will remember him for his woodworking. Berg donated several of his woodworking creations to the Lyle Area Cancer Auction, and his pieces became popular treasures at the auction.

“His craftsmanship was a benchmark of our success as LAC grew,” said Gary Ziegler, a LAC board member and a close friend of Berg’s. “His woodworking pieces became a symbol of our fight against cancer.”

From 1996 until 2010, Berg made 17 model vehicles, from cars to tractors and semi-trucks. He also made 14 different wall plaques that were mostly animal themed and some were patriotic. Stevens said there were more pieces before 1996, but they hadn’t started keeping track before then.

Curtis Barnett, 55

April 3, 1959-July 21, 2014

Curtis Barnett, who passed away after battling cancer, was named Austin’s MVP in football and basketball in 1976 and 1977. Barnett played football at Austin Community College and North Dakota State University before he landed at Minnesota State University in Mankato, where he played two seasons as a defensive lineman for the Mavericks.

Austin resident Kevin Higbe graduated with Barnett and said he was about as good as they come as a teammate.

“He had a heart of gold. If you needed something, Curtis was there,” Higbe said. “Athletic wise it came so easy for him and he was almost nonchalant at times. In high school, he played hard, but I don’t think he even realized what his potential was.”

Barnett taught special education for more than 20 years — 14 in Austin. He also coached varsity high school football, basketball, track and field, and cross country.

Leonard Astrup

Leonard Astrup

Leonard Astrup, 86

Aug. 3, 1927-July 22, 2014

Leonard Astrup opened the first Sterling Drug in Austin in 1952. The company now operates 22 stores in Minnesota and Iowa.

“I think his legacy is that he was a businessman that started with nothing, worked hard and built a very successful regional company,” said his son Chris Astrup.

Astrup started his business in the second strip mall to be built in Minnesota. He opened his second Austin store in 1960 and several stores followed in other communities. Astrup’s business was originally a Walgreens franchise until the company dropped the franchise division in 1980, requiring the Astrup Drug Inc. stores to become self-sufficient.

Not much could stop Astrup from getting his customers what they needed. Daughter Susan remembered him delivering prescriptions on a snowmobile during blizzards.

Joel Nelson

Joel Nelson

Joel Nelson, 64

Jan. 7, 1950-July 23, 2014

Joel Nelson was the owner and founder of Nelson Sound Electronics. Many knew Nelson for running sound for several area events. Nelson worked the Mower County Fair for 37 years. He also provided sound work for 12 other fairs around the area. He enjoyed the smaller pieces of sound work, such as paging information and announcements, announcing winners of various events, judging contests, putting speakers in the barns, setting up microphones, and helping with the free stages.

“His work wasn’t work to him; it was his passion,” Nelson’s daughter Nancy Mathisen said. “He just loved every aspect of it.”

The fair wasn’t the only place people remember seeing Nelson. Friends recalled Nelson providing sound for many different events, including Miss Minnesota pageants, Hormel Foods Corp.’s annual meetings, school plays, local and national parades, and even Rose Bowl work.

Anna Booth

Anna Booth

Anna Booth, 102

July 1, 1912-Aug. 1, 2014

Many people knew Anna Booth and her late husband, Glenn, for selling honey and raspberries in Austin for several years. After all, she was known as “the Honey Lady.” Booth grew up near Taopi and LeRoy before she married Glenn in September of 1931. The couple had six children and moved several times throughout their lives.

Granddaughter Jenny Bishop recalled the first time her grandparents showed her their bee-keeper’s outfits.

“I remember the first time she came out in her bee costume,”Jenny said. “I’m thinking, ‘What are you doing?’ She and grandpa both had these bee costumes on.”

They stocked several stores around town with honey, including Hy-Vee and Superfresh, and also sold honey at the farmers markets for about 10 years.

Evelyn ‘Evie’ Anderson, 82

Feb. 9, 1932-Sept. 15, 2014

Evelyn Anderson got involved in the Mower County Senior Center in 2010. About five years ago, she decided to bring a couple of workout DVDs in and make a weekly program of it.

Anderson started “Exercise with Evie,” which still takes place a few days a week. Even though Anderson is gone, the program lives on. The DVDs are a combination of walking and weight-lifting, but at a pace that anyone can participate in, including senior citizens. The two discs she brought in were called “Walk Away the Pounds” with Leslie Sansone, and “Chair Dancing: Sit Down and Tone Up” with Jodi Stoloves.

Close friend Diane Wacholz recalled Anderson’s love for keeping active.

“I think she enjoyed exercise, and she started the program because of that,” Wacholz said.

Dick Schindler

Dick Schindler

Richard ‘Dick’ Schindler, 72

Feb. 23, 1942-Oct. 18, 2014

Along with delivering more than 4,000 babies during his medical career, Richard Schindler was an active community member, a friend and a mentor.

Schindler joined what is now Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin in 1972, and he was also based at the Adams clinic for many years. As a doctor, most recall Schindler’s interest in not only his patient’s health and wellness but also their lives.

Many also knew Schindler as a passionate member of the community who had a love for helping and making others happy. He chaired the YMCA board of directors, participated in the city of Austin’s Police Civil Service Commission, and served on Vision 2020’s Community Recreation Center Committee, among other things. He was also an avid biker and helped with the Austin mountain biking team.

“He was such an amazing man who touched so many people in this community,” said Erik Schindler, the oldest of Schindler’s four children. “I’ve never seen somebody fight so hard for the community.”

He died as the result of cycling accident, which happened off of a bridge on a mountain biking trail he helped create.

Mark Heim, 48

Sept. 24, 1966-Oct. 24, 2014

Mark Heim and his wife, Jan, owned and operated Ankeny’s Mini-Mart No. 1 in Austin for the last 14 years, and Heim also worked as a printing salesman at J-C Press in Owatonna for 23 years. Heim loved many things, but his main love was for his faith and family.

“He’d come home after a long day at work and [say], ‘well, let’s go golfing, let’s go do whatever outside,’ because he knew how valuable family time is and he wasn’t going to let being tired stop him,” Heim’s daughter Kelli Hamer said.

Family and friends remember Heim’s constant smile and positivity. He was willing to talk to anybody, and once he knew someone he wasn’t likely to forget them. Heim was a youth leader at his church when his children were young, and more recently he was an usher and involved in a life group at Cornerstone Church. Heim loved sports. He enjoyed playing golf, softball, kickball, football, broom ball or snowmobiling, or just watching a Minnesota team play on TV.

Peter Clifford Schmidt, 81

March 28, 1933-Oct. 27, 2014

Peter Schmidt, who coached and taught at Pacelli High School from 1965 to 1997, left his mark on plenty of athletes over the years. Schmidt coached the Pacelli girls track and field team to state titles in 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1977. He coached the Pacelli boys track and field team to state titles in 1983 and 1984. Schmidt was also an assistant coach on the 1992 state champion Pacelli boys basketball team and gave a hand in many other sports as well.

“He was included with kids and athletics all of the time. He was a coach true and true,” fellow teacher Norm Blaser said. “If they couldn’t find a coach for a sport, Pete would step up and he was very passionate about Pacelli. He used to say that if he could make chocolate milk green, he would do that.”

Schmidt coached football, cross country and wrestling, and he also coached junior high and youth sports. Schmidt was one of the first inductees into the Pacelli Athletic Hall of Fame. He graduated from Pacelli in 1953 and was well known as a social studies teacher.

Richard ‘Dick’ Strand, 70

Dec. 1, 1944-Dec. 1, 2014

Strand coached the Southland football team from 1973-2003. Strand finished his Southland football coaching career with 194 career wins, and he led the Rebels to a state title in 1983.

Scott Retterath was the quarterback of that squad in 1983. He remembered Strand as a coach who cared about his team and was able to get the best performances out of his players.

“Dick was always one of the coaches who would really listen to what you had to say,” Retterath said. “He cared tremendously about all of the players. Not only the kids who played a lot, but everybody on the team. Everyone was treated fairly. I didn’t know too many kids that didn’t want to play for him. He was just an all-around good guy. He was tough when he had to be and there’s kind of a fine line there. There’s a time to be a real tough disciplinarian and then there’s a time when you’ve got to put on the kids’ gloves and tread lightly. He knew where that line was.”

Tracy Schilling

Tracy Schilling

Tracy (Cooling) Schilling, 52

March 15, 1962-Dec. 11, 2014

Family and friends distinctly remember how nervous Schilling was the first time she spoke at the Lyle Area Cancer Auction to pledge money raised at her Halfway to January Cancer Bash. But the last time she spoke at the auction, Schilling was accustomed to talking in front of the LAC crowd.

After her diagnosis of breast cancer in 2004, Schilling became part of the Lyle Area Cancer Auction. In 2006, she formed the Halfway to January Cancer Bash, which was held yearly in June. She beat breast cancer but was later diagnosed with signet cell cancer — a rare, aggressive type of stomach cancer — in 2012, and with metastatic colon cancer in 2013.

As she battled cancer for several years, Schilling always had a smile on her face and an upbeat attitude, according to friends and family.

“She was just a good person that loved life,” said Patricia Peters, Schilling’s mother. “She was good with everybody.”