Kathryn Marie Tagatz, 93 of Blue Earth passed away Monday September 24, 2018 at St. Luke’s Care Center.
Visitation will be Friday September 28 from 4:30-7 PM at Patton Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service. Funeral service will be Saturday September 29, 10:30 AM at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Blue Earth. Online condolences can be left at www.pattonfh.com
Kathryn Marie (Marken) Tagatz was born on April 3, 1925 to Sanna (Nelson) and Christ Marken near Clarksfield, Minnesota. Kathryn was a first generation Norwegian American and very proud of her immigrant family’s heritage. She attended grade school and graduated high school in Boyd, Minnesota where she graduated salutatorian of the class of 1942. Following graduation, Kathryn went on an extended summer trip to the West where she and friends worked at Yellowstone National Park and visited the Oregon/Washington Coast.
In the fall of 1942, Kathryn became a member of the 1st Accelerated Class of State Teachers College at Mankato State; implemented due to the lack of educators during World War II. Participants in this teaching program earned their 2-year teaching degree in 1 year. The collegial friendships that she made lasted a lifetime and the graduates/friends communicated frequently through Round Robin letters and annual summer reunions until 2010 when health and loss prevented the group from gathering- 67 years of friendship was cherished.
Kathryn taught elementary school in Albert Lea and Olivia, Minnesota before her marriage. On June 28, 1952 near Lake Washington, Minnesota, Kathryn was united in marriage to Richard Tagatz; making their home on a farm in rural Emerald Township in southern Minnesota. Kathryn was mother to a son and daughter. Neil Tagatz, who continues to farm the family farm near Blue Earth. Her daughter, Carol Tagatz Mapa, is a Lutheran- ELCA pastor serving in rural Gothenburg, Nebraska. While Neil was in early elementary and Carol waiting to begin school, Kathryn completed her Master’s Degree in Education from Mankato State. She then continued her teaching career in Frost, Minnesota. Following the consolidation of many area schools, Kathryn moved with students and taught in Blue Earth Elementary school until her retirement. Her teaching career spanned over 36 years.
On December 6, 1989 Kathryn’s only grandchild was born: Catherine Dolores Mapa—her namesake. Catie and Grandma Kathryn had a very special bond these last 28 years. Catie inherited Grandma’s imagination and love of stories, books and sense of adventure. At a very young age Catie would tell a story and “draw” pictures. Grandma would add the text; resulting in some wonderful stories and many good laughs! Grandma would entertain tea parties with Catie and her stuffed animals. Whenever possible, Grandma Kathryn would attend concerts and special events in Catie’s life. This continued even throughout her grand daughter’s education at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Catie has heeded Grandma Kathryn’s advice to “go to school” and has begun her work on a Master’s in Social Work. Catie has been a caregiver and dedicated granddaughter to her grandmother up until her death.
Kathryn was a woman ahead of her time, managing a family, a teaching career, being a partner in the occupation of farming and continuing her own education. Education was very important to her; instilled by her parents “to go to school!” She taught with a passion and great commitment to her students and her profession. It wasn’t unusual during her last years, to have a nurse, CNA and other caregivers to comment on her having been their teacher or a teacher of their children. Kathryn never judged her students, she treated them each as a valuable individual with great potential to read and to learn.
Kathryn was active in the local teachers organization and retired teachers association, worship and women’s group at Immanuel Lutheran Church, rural Emerald Township. As her children were growing up she was involved in 4-H, Cub Scouts and Brownies. She loved to read and was a skilled seamstress. She was a wonderful hostess and will be remembered for her gift of hospitality. In retirement she continued to do handwork and spent time enjoying the company of her favorite dog: Moses; sitting on the lawn of her country home and scratching him behind the ears. She also made two extended trips that were meaningful: one to Hawaii and what she dubbed “Grandma’s Marathon” to Norway where she was reunited with her Norwegian cousins! She moved into Blue Earth to “the little yellow house”, which she loved, until moving into assisted living in 2011. She was a determined, independent problem solver and her words of wisdom for her students and family: “Take responsibility for your actions. Respect everyone- young or old. Set goals and work towards them—don’t give up! Be compassionate. Remember the Golden Rule. Organize! Enjoy life!”.
Kathryn is survived by her children; Neil and Rev. Carol (Rev. Jon) Mapa. Granddaughter; Catherine and many nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents, husband; Richard, sister; Martha Tarjeson and her four-legged friend; Moses.