Ellen J. Zmolek, 75, of Rochester, passed away peacefully, with her loving family at her side, on Monday, April 8, 2019.
Ellen was born November 12, 1943 in Iowa City, IA to Carl and Evelyn (Stokes) Wilson. She was a 1961 graduate of Traer High School, in Traer, IA and then went on to earn her Bachelors in education from the Iowa State Teachers College. On February 5, 1966, Ellen married Eugene Zmolek at St. Pius Catholic Church. She began her teaching career in Rochester as a health and physical education teacher. She then became involved in the community education program, where she spent the majority of her teaching career before retiring in 1999. During her time as a teacher, Ellen was blessed to have taught children of all physical and mental abilities, as well as adults of all ages. She enjoyed working in her flower and vegetable gardens, sewing, knitting, and watching her children and grandchildren's sporting events and horse shows. Ellen had a passion for music, which shined through with her playing piano and being active in the choir and bell choir at church. Ellen was an active member of Congregational Church UCC, as well as being involved with Channel One, and the Dorothy Day House. She was a humble, patient, caring and generous woman.
Ellen is survived by her husband of 53 years, Eugene; children, Brian (Julie) Zmolek of Rochester, Doug (Jenny) Zmolek of Rochester and Becky (Mark Connelly) Zmolek of Rochester and five grandchildren, Abigail, Riese, William, Bennett and Ella. Ellen was preceded in death by her parents, Carl and Evelyn and by an infant sister, Ruth Evelyn.
A memorial service celebrating Ellen's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at Congregational Church UCC, 974 Skyline Dr. SW, Rochester, MN with Rev. Garth Schumacher officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the Rochester Sports Foundation or to Mayo Clinic Hospice Music Therapy Program. Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes are honored to be serving the Zmolek family; to share a special memory or condolence to the family please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
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My memory of Ellen goes back many years. I worked in the Activity Dept. at Rochester Healthcare Nursing home when Ellen's father, Carl Wilson, was a resident there. Ellen was a faithful volunteer, always with a smile and lots of energy!! She would pop in before lunch, pick up her Dad and take him home for lunch with her so many days. He was such a delight to all of us, too. My sympathy goes out to Ellen's family during these sad days. May God bless the memory of a lovely lady that I remember. JoAnn Greseth
The Zmolek's became our new neighbors and good friends when we moved to Rochester in 1974. Our kids played together and attended schools together all those years. Ellen was always busy with family, work, and running kids every where. I enjoyed seeing her almost every day until they moved to the cul de sac. Ours thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very sad time.
Ellen was my high school classmate from 8-12th grade. After graduation she always came to our class reunions and other class celebrations to add to the fun. She loved her family and friends deeply and will be missed by many. Deepest sympathy to her family.
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the Zmolek family. We certainly have shared many fine memories through the years watching our sons and grandchildren on the ice. I know Ellen was especially proud. My heart is with all of you. Grace Curry
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