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Posted: Saturday, December 9, 2006 12:00 am | Updated: 1:57 pm, Fri May 11, 2012.

Franklin Joseph Pierce

1917 - 2006

BLOOMING PRAIRIE - Memorial services for Franklin J. Pierce, 89, formerly of Geneva will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Community Lutheran Church in Geneva. The Rev. Joel Xavier will officiate. Interment will be in the Geneva Cemetery with Military Honors accorded by the area Servicemen's Organizations. Visitation is one hour prior to the services at the Church. To sign the guest book, go to

Franklin died Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006, at Prairie Manor in Blooming Prairie.

Franklin Joseph Pierce was born June 14, 1917, to Manford and Edna (Franklin) Pierce in Staples, Minn. They moved to the Geneva area when he was a child and he attended school in Geneva. Franklin served in the United States Army from 1942 - 1945, serving in France and the Rhineland. He had been a driver for General Patton. On Nov. 17, 1945, Franklin was united in marriage to Helen Benson in Albert Lea. He worked as a butter maker at several creameries in the area including Clarks Grove, Hope, Mansfield, Lerdahl, and retired as the manager of the Geneva Creamery in 1982. Franklin was a member of the Community Lutheran Church and the VFW. He enjoyed woodworking, playing golf, bowling, fishing, and spending time outdoors.

Survivors include his wife, Helen of Geneva; children: Larry and wife, Joni Pierce of Owatonna, Susan and husband, John Hohansee of New Richland, and Mary Lund of Geneva and special friend, Steve DeFor; grandchildren: Lori (Tom) Leeman, Jodie (Andy) Waalkens, Kari (Jeremy) Hohansee, Amy (Shannon) Vandersyde, Tami (Matt) Wacek, Rhonda Lund, and Jesse Lund; 13 great-grandchildren; sisters, Phyllis (George) Drimel of Florida and Rachael (John) Stoffel of Pine City, Minn.; brother, Mikel (Pat) Pierce; and many nieces and nephews.

Franklin was preceded in death by his parents; son, Alan; son-in-law, Norman Lund; brothers: Reuben, Donald, Clarence, and Harold; and sister, Sylvia Jordon.

Edward J. Gibbons

1927 - 2006

HURLEY, Wis. - Edward J. Gibbons, 79, of Hurley, prominent retired Hurley businessman and banker, died Friday, Dec. 8, 2006, in Hurley.

He was born May 10, 1927, the oldest of three children, to Edward and Jessie (Auger) Gibbons, Sr. He grew up in Hurley, attended St. Mary's Grade School, and graduated from J.E. Murphy High School with the Class of 1945. After graduation, Ed served two years in the U.S. Army, Co. A 11th Engineer Battalion, throughout Europe at the close of World War II, and was honorably discharged on Feb. 3, 1947. Following his tour of duty, Ed attended and graduated from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration. He then attended two years of law school at the University of Minnesota.

Upon returning to Hurley, Ed owned and operated Iron County Lumber and Fuel Company. On Sept. 25, 1954, he was married to the former Joan Rydeski at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Wakefield, Mich. Joan survives. In 1975, Ed accepted the position of President and CEO of the Iron Exchange Bank in Hurley, retiring in April, 1990.

Ed was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hurley and former member of St. Mary's Finance Committee. He was a former member of the Hurley City Council; Iron County Resource Development Corp.; Iron County Red Cross; Iron County division of the Salvation Army; and the Hurley Volunteer Fire Dept. He was also a current member of Hurley American Legion Post 58 and Hurley Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1580. Ed especially enjoyed visiting with his friends and family and will be remembered for his wit and sense of humor.

Survivors include his wife, Joan, of Hurley; two sons, Edward (Christine), Marathon, Wis., and Tim (Maria), Springfield, Va.; a daughter, Jean (James) Borgman, Owatonna; grandchildren, Jenny (Jason) O'Rourke, Julie, Joanna, and Jessie Gibbons, and Peter and Claire Borgman; two younger sisters, Diane Meehan, Escanaba, Mich., and Eileen (Ken) Forbes, Sacramento, Calif.; a sister-in-law, Jean Laird, Oak Lawn, Ill.; many nieces and nephews, and his cousin, Fern Novack, of Dunnellon, Fla.

Besides his parents, Ed was preceded in death by two brothers-in-law, Jack Meehan and Jack Laird.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon on Monday, Dec. 11, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hurley, with the Rev. Michael Hayden, presiding. Rite of Committal will be held at the church, where military rites will be accorded by representatives of Hurley American Legion and VFW Posts. Spring burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, Hurley. A luncheon reception will be held at the Liberty Bell Chalet in downtown Hurley immediately following services. Relatives and friends may call at the church from 10 a.m. until noon on Monday.

Pallbearers will be Leon Baron, Peter Borgman, Robbie Lanctoe, Dennis Petrusha, Tony White, and Harry Falbe. Engstrom Funeral Home, Hurley, is assisting the family.

Robert F. Houdek

1933 -2006

OWATONNA - Robert F. Houdek, age 73, of Owatonna, died Dec. 8, 2006 at the Homestead Hospice House of Owatonna.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 11, at the McRaith Funeral Home in Waseca, with Deacon Pat Fagan and the Rev. John Linde, officiating. Interment will be held at the Woodville Cemetery in Waseca. Visitation will be held on Monday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the funeral home.

Robert Francis William Houdek, the son of John and Leota (Brink) Houdek, was born on Feb. 13, 1933 in LaMond Township, Steele County, Minn. Robert worked as a farmhand for the Alan Kasper Farm in Steele County. He was united in marriage to Virginia Frank on June 8, 1957 at the Assembly of God Church in Ellendale. Robert worked for the Owatonna Baker for six years and then worked for Federated Insurance of Owatonna, retiring after 24 years of work. During this time he also farmed.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia Houdek of Owatonna; son, Carl (and Lynette) Houdek of Owatonna; brother-in-law Donald (and Joyce) Frank of Waseca; two sisters-in-law, Darlene Houdek and Jean Frank, both of Owatonna; and other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; son, David in 1978; brother, Joe Houdek; and two brothers-in-law, Lorenz and Wesley Frank.

Beatrice Spencer

1910 - 2006

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS - Beatrice Elizabeth Thon Spencer died Dec. 8, 2006 at Woodlyn Heights Healthcare Center in Inver Grove Heights.

Born Sept. 22, 1910 in Owatonna, she graduated from Owatonna High School. On Aug. 5, 1933 she married John M. Spencer at the Associated Church in Owatonna, and lived there until 1993 when she and her husband moved to St. Paul. Bea was employed at Federated Insurance Companies before her marriage and spent the rest of her life as a homemaker.

A member of the Associated Church, she served on several committees through the years along with other civic projects. A member of the Order of Eastern Star #123, She was Past Matron and a Past Grand Adah of the Grand Chapter of Minnesota.

The Spencers sponsored an A.F.S. student, John Rogers of Southampton, England, in 1954-55. Bea was a charter member of the Owatonna Arts Council and served on the Board of Directors for ten years as secretary. She was a charter member of the Owatonna Hospital Auxiliary, and also a member of the 20th Century Club and the Steele County Historical Society.

She is survived by two daughters, Jeanne Elizabeth Lufkin of St. Paul, and Beatrice Louise Gladen of Minneapolis; six grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and one brother, James P. Thon of Owatonna.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John M. Spencer; her sister, Anna Louise Thon; and her brother, A. Robert Thon.

Bea requested no memorial service. Friends and relatives are invited to gather at the Lufkin home for a time of remembrance from 1 - 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10. Inurnment will be at Forest Hills Cemetery, Owatonna. Memorials to Mendota Heights United Church of Christ, 680 Highway 110, Mendota Heights, MN 55118. Michaelson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

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