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Obituaries from the week of May 6, 2015

Evelyn Blake, 97


Evelyn Blake age 97 of Marshall and formerly of Royal Oak, MI passed away Friday, May 1, 2015 at Morningside Heights Care Center in Marshall.  Memorial services will be held at a later date in Michigan.  Burial will be in White Chapel Cemetery.  Online condolences may be sent at  Stephens Funeral Service - Walnut Grove Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. 

Evelyn Blake was born December 5, 1917 to Kellus and Nellie (Moore) Buchanan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  She was a lifelong member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Denomination.

Evelyn is survived by her children: Gary Blake of Ft. Myers, FL, Carol (Terry) Flesner of Walnut Grove; grandchildren: Stacy Blake of Royal Oak, MI, Tim Blake of Royal Oak, MI, Matthew (Brooke) Flesner of Savage, MN, Melissa (Tedd) Mendes of Lakeville, MN; great-granchildren: Faith & Gabriel Flesner, and Malachi, Joe, & Miles Mendes.



Arthur K. Drackley, 98


Arthur K. Drackley, honored educator, author and farmer passed away on Monday, March 16, 2015 at the Prairie View Senior Living in Tracy. Funeral Services for Arthur Drackley will be held at 11AM on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at Tracy United Methodist Church in Tracy, MN. Visitation will be held on Friday, May 8, 2015 from 5-7PM at the Almlie-Horvath Funeral Home in Tracy and one hour prior to the funeral at church on Saturday. A prayer service will be said starting at 7PM on Friday evening at the funeral home. Interment at Tracy City Cemetery. Online condolences may be placed at The Almlie-Horvath Funeral Service of Tracy is caring for the family.

Arthur Kenneth Drackley, 98 of Tracy, who 18 months ago was honored as the oldest-ever inductee to Tracy High School’s Wall of Fame for his teaching, passed away on March 16, 2015, at Prairie View Nursing Home. He taught English in the Tracy Public Schools from 1961 until he retired in 1979, and previously taught in public schools in Ceylon, Balaton, Mountain Lake, and Tyler. He farmed south of Tracy for 70 years.

A prize-winning poet and short-story writer, he published a book of his poetry “Prairie in my Pocket,” and in 1986 Drackley was awarded first place by the National Writer’s Club for his novel, “Thistle Man.”  Writer’s Digest magazine recognized his work, and he published many poems and short stories throughout his life. He also penned an unpublished full-length non-fiction work on farming methods “How We Did It Then: A Memoir of Minnesota Farm Life.”

Art was born June 13, 1916, in Marshfield, Wisconsin, to Arthur T. and Nellie (Sindel) Drackley. He then lived in Menomonie, Wisconsin. When his family moved in 1926 to Tracy, Minnesota, 10-year-old Art and his older brother Bill journeyed there in a railroad emmigrant boxcar – accompanying his family’s hired man, livestock and the family dog Jack.  He graduated from Tracy High School in 1933, attended Tracy Junior College, entered Winona State University (then Winona State Teachers College) in 1939 and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1941.  He was the first in his family to attend college.

His teaching career began in Ceylon in 1941 and continued in Balaton and Mountain Lake until 1945, when he became a full-time farmer until 1959 – the year he resumed his teaching career in Tyler and two years later in Tracy.  He lived on his farm south of Tracy continuously from 1945 until 2013.

An active member of Tracy United Methodist Church for nearly his whole life, he directed the church’s choir for 44 years, was a choir member for 79 years, and an active Sunday school teacher and lay speaker.  He performed as a vocal soloist in community and church events, and was a member of a male quartet that won a state-wide Minnesota Methodist Church contest. 

Drackley loved nature. He was an avid conservationist, environmentalist and bird watcher, and he often visited and supported open-prairie preservation areas.  For nearly seven decades, he lived on his farm – preferring country life where he found solitude and time to enjoy reading and writing. He believed that family is the foundation of existence and that faith is its bedrock.

His wife of 63 years – Charlotte (Shannon) Drackley – preceded him in death in 2004.  He is survived by two daughters, Barbara (Max F.)  Volkmann of St. Louis, Missouri, and Colleen (Robert) Jolly of Ames, Iowa; two sons, Richard  (Linda) Drackley of Decorah, Iowa, and James Drackley (Tonya Moore) of Urbana, Illinois; 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Memorials are preferred to the Tracy United Methodist Church.




Jim Hively, 75

Cathy Hively, 71


Jim and Cathy Hively, age 75 and 71, of rural Russell, died Thursday, April 30, 2015, at their home.  Memorial services were held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2015, at the Victory Christian Church in Balaton.  Private family interment will follow in the Russell City Cemetery at a later date.  

Rev. Doug Wing officiated the service. Special Music by Crystalynn Larsen.

Active Urn Bearers were Zachariah, Jeremiah, Amariah, and Kayla McCarthy, Jordan, Jared, Jacob, Justin Hively

Honorary Urn Bearers were Chase McCarthy, Westen Hively, Connor Hively

James Donald Hively was born July 9, 1939, in Tracy, Minnesota.  He was the son of Donald and Vera (Giles) Hively.  Jim was baptized and confirmed at the Presbyterian Church in Russell.  He attended school in Russell and graduated with the class of 1957.  He served his country in the United States Army, stationed in Hawaii.  Upon returning home, he went on to farm in rural Russell.  

Catherine Agnes Dirckx was born January 15, 1944, in Marshall, Minnesota.  She was the daughter of Joseph and Agnes (Lenz) Dirckx.  Cathy was baptized, received her first communion, and was confirmed at St. Eloi Catholic Church in Ghent, Minnesota.  She attended school in Lynd and graduated from Lynd High School with the class of 1962.

On March 31, 1962, Jim and Cathy were united in marriage at the Presbyterian Church in Russell.  The couple farmed south of Russell and have been on their current place since 1970.  In addition to farming, Jim drove truck for several people including Gravely Livestock.  While being a dedicated homemaker and farm wife, Cathy owned and operated her own Upholstery business and also worked at Fabrics Plus in Marshall, did some cleaning, and odd jobs painting and wallpapering.   The couple shared 53 years of marriage and had two children: Denise and Brad.  They also cared for Corey Buchert and mentored him as if he were one of their own.

The couple were faithful members of Grace Life Church in Marshall.  Jim liked camping, campfires, and fishing.  Cathy was always prayerful and enjoyed quilting, gardening, her flower beds, and making mock angel food cake.  They both lived for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren and never missed an opportunity to spend time with the family they loved so much.

Jim and Cathy Hively entered their heavenly home on Thursday, April 30, 2015.  Jim reached the age of 75 years, 9 months, and 21 days; Cathy reached the age of 71 years, 3 months, and 15 days. 

Jim and Cathy are survived by their children, Denise (and Edward) McCarthy of Hastings, MN, Brad (and Teri) Hively of Balaton, MN; mentored as a son, Cory Buchert of Russell, MN; 8 grandchildren, Zachariah (and Jessie) McCarthy, Jeremiah McCarthy, Amariah McCarthy, Kayla McCarthy, Jordan (and Stephanie) Hively, Jared (and Jessica) Hively, Jacob Hively, Justin Hively; 3 great-grandchildren, Chase McCarthy, Westen Hively, Connor Hively; Jim’s sister, Jane (and Allen) Hansen of Russell, MN; Cathy’s siblings, Barbara (and Cecil) Claeys of Owatonna, MN, Dennis Dirckx of Marshall, MN, Gary (and Jean) Dirckx of Battle Lake, MN;  Cathy’s in-laws, Carolyn Dirckx of Luck, WI, Wally Reesen of Arlington, MN, Barb Dirckx of Clarkfield, MN; nephews, nieces, other relatives and many friends.

Jim and Cathy are preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Vera Hively; her parents, Joseph and Agnes Dirckx; infant daughter, Agnes Hively; and Cathy’s siblings, Tom Dirckx, JoAnn Reesen, and William Dirckx.

Arrangements by the Hamilton Funeral Home in Marshall, MN. Guest book and tribute wall available online at