March 12, 1923 - November 15, 2018
Katherine Patricia Muhar was the 7th born of 10 children in Keewatin, Mn. Growing up on the Iron Range was rich in life experience and harsh in amenities. The whole family struggled daily to put food on the table and shoes on their feet. Each child learned young to pull their weight. Play and foolery were not options. Extra curricular activates for the children were to return home, churn butter, milk the family cow and tend the garden. For Judy it was working at her maternal uncle's store scrubbing and sweeping. She had a love of music kindled by her mothers singing. In high school she learned to play the violin and loved it. Grandpa Muhar was strongly opposed to this musical pursuit as the only musicians he knew played for pennies on street corners. She disobeyed his order to cease this activity and practiced at school or in his absence. She was discovered as a result of house fire when she raced back in to save her violin. Upon graduation from high school "Katie" was put on a bus to St. Paul and her oldest sister helped her secure a room at the Y. "Katie" immediately was anointed with the name "Judy" and was known as "Judy" from that day forward. The name was appointed by girlfriends as she was the spitting image of the very popular Judy Garland, also a Minnesota native. Her husband never knew her as anything but "Judy" except on the marriage license and check book.
Judy met the love of her life at a dance. Orville Krasselt was an excellent dancer and charmed his way into her heart. They were married at Halloween time in 1943 and he continued to tease her throughout their marriage by telling people he found her in a Tricks and Treat Bag. After fifty three years of marriage and four children, he passed away.
Hard work was synonymous with Judy, and she loved it. She loved being around people. Today her skills would be described as customer service. Throughout raising her four children she worked mostly as a waitress. On the side, she honed her skills in catering and cake decorating. She loved cooking and baking. The Minnesota State Fair was a major event each year. Judy always won many ribbons for her baked goods year after year including being a sweepstakes winner for her butter pecan cookies. Although she always shared this recipe many discovered making this sweepstakes winning recipe was more than an accumulation of ingredients in a bowl. As a family we loved piling into the car with cooler of sandwiches and spending the day exploring the fair. Judy was always a confidant and advisor to nieces, nephews and friends. She listened, encouraged and advised on flowers, food and challenges. Along with the wisdom of age and experience they got the secrets to great spaghetti sauce. After raising their family Judy and Orville pursued many interests taking multiple classes together. A floral design class opened up an opportunity in 1974 to take over an existing business, Chicago Lake Florist, on Chicago and Lake Street. After Orville's catastrophic stroke in 1985 their son, Ernie, filled Orville's shoes and Judy and Ernie continued to work side by side everyday until 2015. Judy was an active part of the Chicago Lake community. For many years Judy went into classrooms and taught young children about flowers and those children happily came with handfuls of small change to buy a flower for their mother and later weddings. Many times she would try Ernie's patience as she would counsel a young man who thought her needed to buy a dozen roses to make amends that one single rose purchased regularly was more valuable than to not upset the family budget. Judy loved that flower shop and her customers.
Judy was a very proud Croatian, however, she never wanted her children to learn Croatian as she always remembered her beginning years in school being discriminated against as she and all her siblings did not learn English until they started school. Appreciation of ethnicity came many years later. This 'secret language' also gave her privacy on the telephone with her sisters to expound on the challenges of child rearing and marriage. In more recent years she has been known as "Stara Baba".
In 2015 Judy's health failed rapidly and she needed full time nursing care. Judy spent the last three years of her life residing in Augustana Health Care of Apple Valley. Judy was very well known and cared for by all the staff. Although AHC is a large facility, staff throughout the facility would stop and say hello as she was on the way to beauty shop or sitting in downstairs lobby with Kym. To all she is known as "Stara Baba". You know that many became fluent in a little Croation as they always greeted her as "Stara Baba" Judy's care was greatly enhanced by the attentive eyes and wonderful heart of her niece, Kym Barbanell. Kym spent several hours every single week sitting with Judy, encouraging activity and long conversations revisiting a life well lived. She was a continuous advocator, communicator and facilitator to ensure her aunt every need was met. In her final days Grace Hospice was added to Judy's care. Judy's good fortune and care continued with Grace hospice as Judy transitioned from this life. In talking with her during her final months Judy shared many stories and reflections of a life well lived. Her happiness, opportunity to pursue her many talents and her love of people gave her both joy and peace of with no regrets.
Judy's good fortune was her family, neighbors, customers and friends. She was very grateful for their companionship, kindness and concern. As we mourn Judy, we know she was very sad to outlive JoAnne Kriske, Ernie's life partner, who died May 2018. She was always so thoughtful and attentive to her. We were blessed to have "Judy" for 95+ years.
The family thanks all of you for your support and kindness.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Visitation 1/2 hour prior.
Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel
6527 Portland Ave. S.
Richfield, MN 55423