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Margaret Blake, 98

After 98 years on this earth, Margaret Blake has journeyed to her final home. Her life’s work done, Margaret died peacefully on Friday, July 19, 2019, at Stacyville Community Nursing Home in Stacyville, Iowa.

Margaret Blake, 98

Born June 10, 1921, to Mathias and Maggie (Smith) Bissen, she grew up in the Stacyville/Johnsburg, Minnesota, area, riding to school in Johnsburg with her siblings in a horse drawn buggy. Following the death of her parents in 1939, she left the Bissen family home to work as a dietary aide at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Carroll, Iowa, and later at a munitions plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during World War II. At a bowery dance in Johnsburg in 1941, she met the love of her life, Alex Blake. When Alex joined the U.S. Navy, a young independent Margaret crisscrossed the country to meet her sweetheart in every port possible. After receiving her engagement ring from Alex by mail, they married on Oct. 17, 1944. After Alex’s military service ended, they settled into farming in the Mitchell County, Iowa, area. Nine daughters were born of this union. In retrospect, these grown now agree that Margaret’s resourcefulness, creativity and boundless energy that kept the home fires burning were amazing feats that were not fully appreciated until adulthood.

Margaret was a member of the Stacyville American Legion Auxiliary, active in the Visitation Catholic Christian Mothers, the Thread Clippers Quilt Club and Morning Glories Bowling group. She will be remembered for her strength and “can-do” attitude, never shying away from learning new tasks like rewiring lamps, caning chairs, refurbishing furniture, bowling and golfing. Margaret was a gifted quilter, having spent many hours hand stitching beautiful quilts in addition to sewing many of her daughters’ clothing items. Her mouth-watering angel food cakes and homemade chocolate chip cookies were a source of great pride and a target for hungry family and friends. After moving off the farm in rural Stacyville in 1983, Margaret and Alex enjoyed traveling and tending to the flowers in the backyard of their home, where family and friends were welcomed for conversation, laughter and, often, a cold beer. Margaret moved to the SCNH in 2014 and never failed to tell visitors how much she continued to enjoy her life there.

Margaret is survived by her husband of nearly 75 years, Alex; nine daughters, Trudy (Levy) Scott, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Elaine (Greg) White, Midland, Michigan, Jane (Kirby) Moses St. Ansgar, Iowa, Karen (Doug) Brumm, Toeterville, Iowa, Julie (Al) Barkley, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Linda (Mike) Mullenbach, St. Ansgar, Kristy Kudrna, Manchester, Iowa, Geri (Phil) Brumm, Stacyville, and Lu (John) Groth, St. Ansgar. Also surviving are her grandchildren, Sondra Scott, Julie (Pat) Murtha, Amy (Dan) Buzzell, Colleen White, Krista O’Geary, Kara (Joe) Walk, Micki (Bryan) Christianson, Brian (Michelle) Horgen, Kody (Ali) Moses, Kyle Moses, Carl Brumm and Bert Brumm, Alex Barkley, Joe (Renee) Barkley, Al Mullenbach, Tony Mullenbach, Bruce (Kely) Hemann, Blake (Alli) Hemann, Nicole Kudrna, Clint (Jenna Goodale) Brumm, Chase Brumm, Jacob (Ashley Pearce) Groth, Gusty(Keith) Adams and Sadie Groth. In addition there are 30 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren. Also, surviving are Margaret’s sister, Sister Marydel Bissen, LaCrosse, Wisconsin; brother, Fred Bissen, Stacyville; and many nieces, nephews and friends. Margaret was preceded in death by her parents, Mathias and Maggie Bissen; and sisters, Agnes Bissen, Rosina Koenigs, Sister Julia Bissen and Martha Heinrichs.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 25, 2019, at Visitation Catholic Church in Stacyville with Msgr. John Hemann officiating. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at the church. Burial will be in the Visitation Catholic Church cemetery following services. In lieu of flowers, Margaret has requested memorials be sent to the Stacyville Community Nursing Home in Stacyville. Schroeder & Sites Funeral Home in St. Ansgar, www.schroederandsites.com, is in charge of arrangements.