Cover photo for Verna Kraft's Obituary
Verna Kraft Profile Photo
1927 Verna 2024

Verna Kraft

September 1, 1927 — January 2, 2024

The sun has set on a beautiful life. Verna Mathilda (Nelson) Kraft, 96, passed away on January 2 in Rochester, Minnesota at Cottagewood Memory Care. She was born September 1, 1927 in her sister's home in Austin Minnesota. Verna lived in numerous SE MN communities, moving as her father's blacksmith's business necessitated. After attending 8 different schools, she spent her high school years in Austin. She married Lawrence Kraft March 21, 1944 in SanDiego, CA at the Naval Hospital. Soon after, their first child Judy was born. After he returned from the war, they made their way back to Minnesota and moved to a farm in Dexter. During that time, a daughter, Debi and a son, Larry, were born. In 1957 the family relocated to a farm near Spring Valley. During that time, Verna contended with no indoor bathroom or running water, she did a large amount of baking and field work. She raised ducks, chickens, and had a substantial garden and orchard. In the early 60's she took a job as a waitress at the Coffee Shop Café, riding the school bus to and from work, since she did not drive. In 1968, she became a bookkeeper and clerk for their business, the Spring Valley Sales Barn. In 1971, she became a book keeper at Biel Implement. After moving to Stewartville in 1974, Verna worked for many years at Sears in Rochester, working in both the paint department and then in the automotive department. She loved to tell stories of how she won over customers and her co-workers as she was the only female in those departments for many years. In 2003, Lawrence and Verna moved to a townhome in Rochester. Lawrence died in 2006 but she remained independent and was still driving until she was 92! At that time she moved to Homestead Senior Living. In December 2022, she moved to Cottagewood Memory Care.

Verna was proud to be a full blooded Dane and first generation American. She dearly loved her large family. While on the Spring Valley farm, she, Lawrence, and the kids were host to a Nelson Family Picnic nearly every Sunday during the summer, often with 30-40 in attendance. Those extraordinary memories have remained precious to all and have not faded through the years.

Verna enjoyed travel, was an avid reader and cook. She loved music, concerts, and plays. She took to the stage and performed with Brave Community Theatre in Spring Valley, being one of the original cast member 52 years ago. Her favorite roles were the Madam in Paint Your Wagon and Matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof.

Her greatest joy came from her family. Children, grandchildren and their children, as well as nieces and nephews, were the highlight of her days; three children, eight grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren and over 56 nieces and nephews.

Verna is survived by: her Son-in Law, Dick Kuehn, daughter Debi Neville, and son Larry (Patty) Kraft. Grandchildren, Jason Kuehn, Jacque (Bobby) Arnold, Mariah Neville Mihm, Drew (Jessica) Neville, Shane (Jodee)Kraft, Jennifer Kraft Watson, Elizabeth Kraft Turek, Corey (Heather) DeYoung.

Great grandchildren, Eric, Haley, Vincent, Lucy, Landon, Aiden, Adeline,Taren,Tanner ,Treyton Bryton Christian Emily Katelyn, Madesyn and Piper. Great-Great grandchildren, Presley, Adilyn, Kaeden and Allison.

She was preceded in death by her husband Lawrence, daughter Judy Kuehn, son-in-law Andrew Neville, parents Marie and Hans Nelson, brothers; Axel, Fred, Chris, Ed, Olaf and John, sisters; Annie, Maggie,and Liz.

A Funeral service will be held Sunday, January 7 at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home, in Rochester with visitation 12:30-2:00 pm, service at 2 pm with reception following. Burial will be Monday, January 8 at 10:30 at Grandview Memorial Garden.

In memory of Verna, donations may be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, or the DVA (Disabled Vets of America)

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Verna Kraft, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Sunday, January 7, 2024

12:30 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes

5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, MN 55901

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Sunday, January 7, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes

5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, MN 55901

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Monday, January 8, 2024

10:30 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Grandview Memorial Gardens

1300 Marion Rd SE, Rochester, MN 55904

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