Ila Mae Uptagrafft, 84, mother of Preston woman

Ila Mae Uptagrafft

Ila Mae (Tastad) Uptagrafft, 84, of Rochester, died peacefully on Sunday, June 3, 2018, at Traditions of Preston, after a 10-year battle with Parkinson's.

She was born on Sept. 6, 1933, at home on her family farm near Mount Vernon, S.D., to Harris and Lola (Seaton) Tastad. Her family later moved to Mitchell, S.D.

She attended Litchfield grade school and graduated from Mitchell High School in 1952.

During her senior year of high school, she began working at Northwestern Bell as a telephone operator. She worked there for 34 years, starting in Mitchell and eventually transferring to Rochester, where she retired as an engineering clerk.

She met the love of her life, Wayne, at age 13, while at the movies with a friend. After he returned from serving in the Korean War, they were married on Feb. 27, 1953, in Mitchell, S.D., at the Methodist Church.

After her retirement, she enjoyed keeping up with the "telephone ladies," meeting them for coffee and conversation. She worked part-time at Hunt Drug for 10 years. She enjoyed working with the customers and keeping busy.

She was passionate about baking, making many good treats and chocolate. She enjoyed traveling. After her daughters were grown, she would spend many of her winters in Arizona with her husband, where she enjoyed making pottery and other art. She traveled with her grandchildren in the summertime, taking them to her favorite places.

She liked to spend time playing cards, especially Pinochle with friends. She was a member of the Red Hat Society and enjoyed being outside gardening and planting flowers. She loved to watch sports, especially football and baseball.

Her most important pastime was spending time with her children and grandchildren. She was a very patient, dedicated and passionate woman. She never let her Parkinson's define her and continued to live her life to the fullest surrounding herself with the things she loved most.

She is survived by her husband of 65 years, Wayne; daughters, Karen (Jeffrey) Lansing of Rochester, Linda (Marvin) Seppala of Wilsonville, Ore., Connie (Roger) Busho of Owatonna and Sherri (Jeffrey) Fleming of Preston; one sister, Doris Podhradsky; nine grandchildren, Shelly, Krista, Mike, Kelly, Brad, Alexandra, Meghan, Adam and Tyler and 14 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her brother-in-law, Louie Podhradsky; sister-in-law, Joyce Klinger; brother-in-law, Robert Uptagrafft and brother-in-law, Harold Wayne Uptagrafft.

Funeral services for her were held on Monday, June 11, at Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester with the Rev. Vern Christopherson officiating.

In lieu of flowers, be sure to share some chocolate with others.