Leota E. Hannegrefs, 93, of Williston died peacefully at the Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home in Williston with her family at her side Monday evening, Dec. 30, 2013.

Her funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 4, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Williston.  Father Russell Kovash will officiate, and interment will be held at Riverview Cemetery in Williston. A Rosary service will be held at 5 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. Friends may share condolences and memories with the family online at www.fulkersons.com

Leota Hannegrefs was born Aug. 12, 1920, in Henryville Township, Renville County, Minnesota to Leo J. and Olga (Bleck) Puls. She was raised on a farm east of Olivia and attended country school and later attended Olivia High School where she and the neighbor kids took a horse and buggy for the first semester. The family later moved, and then her dad drove her to school. She remembered coming home from school in a dust storm that was so bad they couldn’t see, and she had to watch the road on one side while her dad drove.

They moved into Olivia when Leota was a sophomore.

She graduated from Olivia High School in 1937. After graduation, she began working as a secretary for attorney Edward Lindquist.

On May 6, 1940, Leota was united in marriage to Lester Hannegrefs. The couple lived on a farm near Bird Island and in Olivia before moving to Epping in July 1944. The couple moved into Williston in October 1972. Leota went to work as secretary for KXMD until the office was closed. She then worked for Rolfstad Attorneys at Law until 1975. That fall she went to work at St. Joseph’s and part time at the Federal Land Bank. In January 1979, she became full time at St. Joseph’s until she retired in 1982 at age 62.

Lester and Leota loved to travel, taking annual trips to Minnesota and even a trip to Europe.

They had been to every state west of the Mississippi and several east of the Mississippi, seeing many interesting places and things.

Lester passed away in 1997, and it was very hard for Leota. She tried to keep busy, she knew he was in heaven, and said he had been back twice. She could still feel him taking care of her.

Leota was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Altar Society. She was active in the Catholic Daughters and Cursillo. She also taught CCD at the church. She became active in school and was a band mother, and eventually became clerk of the school board. She was also a 4-H leader for 15 years and then a member of the Upper Missouri Fair board.  

She is survived by her sons, Eugene (Rhonda) of Buffalo, Minn., James (Susan) of Roseville, Calif. and Dale of Williston; daughters, Leota (Martin) Zagurski of Dallas, Myrna (Ken) Bottolfsen and Janet (Mike) Holmen, both of Williston; brothers, Bob (Ann) Puls of Sioux Falls, S.D. and Don (Arlys) Puls of Minneapolis, Minn.; 14 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren; and one great great-grandchild.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Lester; and by her brother, Leroy.

Friends may call at the Fulkerson Funeral Home of Williston on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and an hour prior to services at the church on Saturday.