LocalTies celebrates Vivian Heitke's 100th birthday by making her the January 2021 cover girl.

I grew up near Dassel, Minnesota in a small Swedish community called Lake Jenny. My parents were both Swedish emigrants, but met and married here in America. I am the fourth of five children and as each of us became adults we left home to try to help support our parents during the Depression years. My father died at an early age when I was 20.

Vivan & Clinton
Vivian & Clinton, April 9, 1944

I had gone to live with my brother in California and met my husband, Clinton, who was an essential war time worker, he worked at Douglas Aircraft during World War II. After the war was over, he wanted to come back to Minnesota to farm so we moved back to a farm near Paynesville that belonged to his father. 

We did not farm very long before moving to South Minneapolis where we lived for 10 years until the farming bug once again brought us to Corcoran in 1960. We lived on a small farm right down Rolling Hills Road (just north of where the pony farm used to be), close enough that my husband could still commute to the airport daily and work for Northwest Airlines. We raised our six children there and lived there until September 2014. Then we moved to Cornerstone when I could no longer care for my husband at home. Clinton died here in February of 2015 at the age of 99, we had been married for 70 years.

Vivian & Clinton sharing a meal at The Farm. Photo by Sam Heitke

I have many memories of raising four boys and two girls at the farm in Corcoran. I think my fondest memory is each evening having the family all sit down together for a meal. Over the years our family grew with husbands and wives and 15 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

Clinton & Vivian with the grandchildren, 1988.

Our house was never a quiet one. We attended Wayzata Evangelical Free Church and also had many friends there over the years.

Grandma Heitke with some of her grandkids, Thanksgiving 2018.
The Heitke Farm.

I can hardly believe myself that I have made it to 100 years. I have been very blessed to have had such a long life and have relied on my faith in Jesus Christ over the years. He has given me peace, grace and joy in whatever circumstances he has put me in.

Cornerstone has been a very wonderful place to live and is filled with many caring people – it has made my time here very special.

Fond memories by her family:

One of the sweetest memories is helping grandma in the kitchen. Her kitchen was always where you ended up during any family event. It was TINY and efficient. She’d put you to work doing dishes, peeling potatoes etc and then allow you to sneak into the cookie tin in the corner. 😊 She would ask about school, activities and BOYS! LOL
She is always willing to listen to your stories! And she still asks about BOYS!! Luckily, I was able to introduce my, at that time boyfriend, now husband to her right before all this COVID crap hit.
~Ruth Heitke Casper


Clinton Heitke, Emily (Heitke) Finnelly with Caroline Finnelly in her lap, Nolan Finnelly, Henry Finnelly and Vivian. Submitted by Emily Finnelly

The Farm.
That’s where Vivian lived. Obviously, she lived in the house, but when it was discussed where the family would gather for Christmas, birthdays, a hot dog roast, to fix a car, to take pictures, to see out-of-town guests, the answer was “The Farm.” Vivian and Clinton created an atmosphere of love and hospitality that is hard to duplicate. My parents tell a story about how they left my brother and I with my Grandparents for a few days while they went out of town.  When my brother and I saw their car pull into the yard we ran crying because we didn’t want to leave.
That Medina farm sits beautifully on a corner holding lovely memories of cherished people. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of their legacy.

~Emily Finnelly


Photo collage submitted by Jane Williams

We all have so many happy memories with our Mom/Grandma. How blessed we are to have such a wonderful mom to wish Happy 100th Birthday!Galatians 5:22-23 RSV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.
~Jane Williams


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