Leo Kilzer, age 104, of Clara City, MN, died early Saturday morning, Aug. 4th, at the Clara City Care Center. Funeral services will be held on Friday, August 10, at 1PM at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Clara City. Burial will be Saturday, August 11, at 11:00 AM, at the Oakes View Cemetery, in Oakes, ND. Visitation and reviewal will take place from 5 – 7 PM Thursday evening at the Wing-Bain Funeral Home in Clara City and continue one hour prior to the funeral at the church on Friday afternoon. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Wing-Bain Funeral Home of Clara City.
Leo Jacob Kilzer was born to Minnie (Bock) and Jacob Henry Kilzer on May 19, 1908 in Garland (then Germantown), Nebraska. He died on August 4, 2012 at the Clara City Care Center where he was a resident since 2001, following a stroke.
Leo was baptized on June 7, 1908 at Zion Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod in Garland. He and his parents moved to Oakes, North Dakota on March 14, 1910. Their home was 1 ½ miles east of the city. They came by railroad along with other emigrants moving to the Dakotas and western states at that time.
Leo attended grade school in Bear Creek Township at Bear Creek School. He was confirmed on September 24, 1922 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod of Oakes. He graduated from Oakes High School on May 27, 1926. He played violin in the orchestra which was cause for a great deal of enjoyment in later years, especially retirement.
On January 3, 1933 he married Erma Homer of nearby Milnor. She was a teacher in the rural Oakes area schools. They were married at home on his parent’s farm. For a time they rented a farm west of Oakes but then moved into Oakes. Mr. Kilzer worked at an appliance store where he learned radio repair. Later they moved to Milnor and opened a business called Home Appliance Co. and then Household Supply Co. Ultimately he secured a job at the Milnor Co-op Creamery where he learned the business and butter making.
In 1947, he went on his own. He managed creameries at Hannover, North Dakota, Hanska, Minnesota and finally Maynard, Minnesota until the creamery closed.
After retiring, he opened Leo’s Fix-it Shop where he kept very busy for several years. He and his wife spent 14 winters at Weslaco, Texas where he again took up violin in addition to woodcarving and watercolor painting. He was a prolific painter until age 92.
Through the years he was an active church member and more recently a charter member of Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church of Clara City, Minnesota. He also sang in an area choir and his church choirs. He was a member of the Maynard Lions Club.
Leo is survived by his sister Marie Hankel of Oakes, North Dakota, his daughter Joanne (Jerry) Knoblich of Park Rapids, Minnesota; three grandchildren: Shelly Anderson of Gackle, North Dakota, Paul (Janice) Knoblich of Statesboro, Georgia and Michele (Roger) Stroh of Horace, North Dakota; 7 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren, 2 nieces and 6 nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Erma and younger sister Flora Dawkins.