Muriel Ann (Schmitz) Harper, 65, of rural Sebeka, died Monday, Dec. 17, 2007, at Lakewood Health Systems in Staples. She was born Sept. 5, 1942, in Minneapolis, to Bill and Eileen (Collins) Niskanen. She was the youngest of four children. She was...
Muriel Ann (Schmitz) Harper, 65, of rural Sebeka, died Monday, Dec. 17, 2007, at Lakewood Health Systems in Staples.
She was born Sept. 5, 1942, in Minneapolis, to Bill and Eileen (Collins) Niskanen. She was the youngest of four children. She was orphaned at an early age and lived with relatives in her growing-up years. She was taken care of by Oscar and Dorothy Niskanen and Hulda Neva in the Menahga area, Walter and Joan Traut of St. Stephen, Minn., and her sister Bev and Jake Lightfoot in Minneapolis. She attended country school in the Menahga area, the Menahga High School and Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis. She was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith. She married Ken Torma. Later she married Frederick J. Schmitz of Verndale, on May 20, 1978, at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Wadena. They continued to make their home in rural Wadena. Fred died on May 19, 2002. She sold their country home and moved into Wadena. On March 4, 2005, she married Richard E. Harper of Hillview. She attended the Wadena Technical College for secretarial studies and worked for Midwestern Gas, National Trade Exchange, The Gores Company, Faith in Action, Experience Works as an administrative assistant and as a laborer at Homecrest Industries all of Wadena.
She enjoyed camping with her sister, Bev, and brother-in-law, Jake. She also enjoyed fishing, bowling and roller skating with her daughter, Kayleen, and she enjoyed old-time dancing, swimming, watching westerns and walks in the woods. She was a Cub Scout den mother, Brownie badge mother and little league girl's softball coach. She also enjoyed creating beautiful flower and rock gardens and being with her family. She was a member of the Sebeka Legion Auxiliary and Christian Mothers.
A Mass of Christian burial was held Friday, Dec. 21, at St. Hubert's Catholic Church in Bluegrass with the Rev. Mike A. Kellogg officiating. Honorary pall bearers were all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Active casket bearers were Vincent Samuel, Steven Torma, Kenny Torma, William Niskanen, Robert Harper, Aaron Simi and Michael Knudsen. Internment was at St. Hubert's Catholic Cemetery in Bluegrass. Arrangements were entrusted to Wevley Funeral Home in Sebeka.
Survivors include her husband, Richard Harper; sons, Kenneth W. Torma, of Menahga, and Steven M. Torma, of Wahpeton, N.D.; daughters Kayleen R. Schmitz, of Wadena, and Brenda Simi, of Menahga; sister, Beverly (Jake) Lightfoot, of Humbird, Wis.; brother, William (Jane) Niskanen, of Milaca, Minn.; sister-in law, Lil Niskanen, of Menahga; brothers-in law, Donald (Elaine) Schmitz, Bernard (Agnes) Schmitz and Ray Ament; sisters-in-law, Amelia Schmitz and Phyllis (Richard) Keppers; 10 stepchildren, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Darryl Niskanen; an infant brother; and brothers-in-law, Greg Schmitz and Bill Schmitz; and sister-in-law, Ev Ament.