Patricia Marie Flynn Heimsness, 81

Published 5:03 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Patricia Marie Flynn Heimsness, 81

Patricia “Patti” Marie Flynn Heimsness, 81, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away at her home on Thursday, May 9, 2024.

Patti was born in Austin, Minnesota, on July 16, 1942. She lived a life filled with love, adventure, and dedication to her family. As the first of five siblings to parents Jack and Lillian Flynn, she embraced a life rich with family bonds and community spirit.

In her youth, Patti found joy in many activities. She loved ice skating and trout fishing and was one of the first two girls in Austin to play baseball at just ten years old. Her childhood was filled with happy memories of riding bikes in the neighborhood, playing Kick the Can and Annie I Over. She also enjoyed ice skating on East Side Lake, sledding at Skinners Hill, and camping and spearfishing in Canada. Many of her treasured memories began when her father bought the family boat in 1956, soon leading to their first trip up north to Woman Lake. There, the family enjoyed boating, fishing, water skiing, even trick skiing, and trips into Longville for turtle races and ice cream, as well as the crystal clear water and calls of the loons. This trip became an annual family tradition that spanned more than fifty years and four generations.

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Her childhood was also enriched by the close friendships she formed with many, including Judy Anderson and Nancy Jordan, with whom she stayed friends throughout her life. She grew up alongside her siblings Tom, Jeff, Steve, and Erin and later learned of sister, Phyllis, through ancestry research. Patti also played the clarinet in the school band, and her family fondly remembers the squeaky sound of her practicing.

Patti’s family often visited their Grandma and Grandpa Flynn in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, creating cherished memories. After their grandfather’s passing, Grandma Ida moved in with them, fostering a close bond between Patti and her grandmother. She was also very close to her cousin Kathy, who sadly passed away from polio at the age of seven. As a young woman, Patti worked at George’s Pizza and in the mail room at Hormel.

Patti’s life was blessed with two marriages. In 1963, she married David Wayne Gemmel of Austin, MN, with whom she shared the joy of having three daughters: Tara, Darya, and Alicia. Later, she found love again with Larry Jerome Heimsness, also of Austin; they married in 1973 and had one son, Christopher, whom they called Chip.

Through Larry’s job at Hormel Foods, they transferred many times, beginning with a move to Oklahoma City, followed by a move to Ottumwa, Iowa, then Fremont, Nebraska. For the last few years of Larry’s career, they enjoyed life at a lake home in Valley, Nebraska, and finally retired in Billings, Montana, where he could golf every day.

Despite these moves, Patti’s heart always longed for Minnesota, to be near her children and grandchildren. After 16 years in Billings, her dream came true, and they finally returned to Minnesota, where she and Larry lived in Stewartville, just two doors down from their son, Chip. Eventually, she returned to Austin to dedicate herself to caring for her mother until Lillian passed in December of 2021 at the age of 99.

Patti had a wide range of interests that kept her engaged and curious throughout her life. She had a passion for genealogy, photography, history, and non-fiction reading. Patti famously loved black licorice, a treat she shared with a select few who could stand it! Her love for family history and exploration took her on many trips to Europe, where she explored her family lineage. A particularly special trip was to France to visit her “adopted” French daughter, Elizabeth, who had stayed with the family as an exchange student on two different occasions.

As a stay-at-home mom, Patti also pursued various ventures. She ran an in-home daycare and found success selling SASCO health and beauty products for almost a decade.

Patti was preceded in death by her parents, Jack and Lil; brother Jeff; sister-in-law Margo Jean; niece Brianna; son-in-law Joey; sister Phyllis; and great-grandson Beau.

She leaves behind a large and loving family, including her four children and nine grandchildren: Sara, Addison, Preston, William, Cameron, Betsy, Tristan, Payton, and Chase. Her legacy further continues with eight great-grandchildren: Maggie, Saylor, Bentlee, Paisley, Maverick, Ezra, Cash, and Callan.

After fighting ovarian cancer for almost four years, Patricia Marie Flynn Heimsness passed away on Thursday, May 9, 2024, surrounded by her children, leaving behind a lasting memory of warmth, strength, and love. Her spirit will be forever cherished by those who knew and loved her.

A funeral service was held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17th at Christ Episcopal Church with Father John Sullivan officiating. Interment will be in Grandview Cemetery at a later date.

Clasen-Jordan Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.