Cover photo for Wilma Loken's Obituary
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1929 Wilma 2016

Wilma Loken

January 25, 1929 — January 18, 2016

Wilma Audrey Loken, 86, of Wahpeton, ND, passed away unexpectedly at her home on Monday, January 18, 2016. The visitation will be from 5:00 to 8:00 PM on Friday, January 22, with a prayer service at 7:00 PM, at Joseph Vertin & sons Funeral Home in Breckenridge, MN. The visitation will continue at the Breckenridge United Methodist Church, on Saturday, January 23, from 10:00 to 11:00 AM, followed by the funeral service at 11:00. Pastor Mark Gronseth will be officiating.
Wilma Audrey Ringen was born to Alf and Hannah on January 25, 1929, their first and only girl. She joined three older brothers, making her the baby sister to Harvey, Marcus and Bruce. Growing up in Kindred, North Dakota, she graduated from high school in 1947 and went on to Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where she graduated in 1951 with degrees in Mathematics Education, German and Library Science.
On August 26, 1951, Wilma was joined in marriage with Albert E. (Gene) Loken, who was just beginning his second year at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he was following his call to become a Lutheran pastor. Their marriage produced five much-loved children - Marc, Kent, Naomi, Beth and Paul. Being a pastor's wife meant many moves and several parishes. At almost all of the churches served by Gene, Wilma was asked to be the pianist and/or Sunday School teacher but did her best work as a school teacher, librarian, pastor's wife, mother and grandmother.
Gene and Wilma shared 42 years together before Gene passed away in November of 1993, leaving Wilma in the home they built together in their beloved Black Hills. After a few years on her own, she met Chuck Mateer, who shared her love of the Hills. They married and shared 130 months of married life before Chuck went on to his Lord. Again Wilma was alone, but she continued to live a very active life in Custer, South Dakota, where she was involved in numerous community organizations, including (but certainly not limited to!) the South Dakota ELCA Women's Group, Habitat for Humanity, Custer County Museum, the Order of the Eastern Star, and Custer Lutheran Fellowship church choir, sharing both her wisdom and humor while making the world a better place.
In March of 2013, she moved to Wahpeton, North Dakota, or "back home" as she would say. It did not take long for Wilma to find her place in Wahpeton. She transferred her church membership from Custer Lutheran Fellowship to the Breckenridge United Methodist Church, knitted with the prayer-shawl group, sang in the Community Christmas Cantata, studied the Bible, continued with Eastern Star, became a member of the Literary Club, drank many cups of coffee with several coffee groups, and ate lunch at the Wahpeton Senior Center weekly where she also enjoyed playing the card game "Hand-and-Foot". You would see her driving around Wahpeton/Breckenridge in her black Subaru – off to yet another meeting. She loved people and always said "Yes" when invited. It is easy to say that Wilma quickly made many friends wherever she went.
In addition to her many in-town activities, Wilma loved to travel, both domestically and internationally. This is evidenced by the many pictures hanging on her walls and the plethora of mementos from her journeys to the countries of Israel, Greece, Mexico, Columbia, and Thailand; to the Panama Canal; and from just about every state in the United States, including a very recent trip to Alaska. She has instilled this love for travel in her children and grandchildren.
Wilma left us so unexpectedly on January 18, 2016 that our world is reeling. As we celebrate Wilma's earthly life we glory in the fact that she is in the presence of her God. Thank you, God, for 86 years of Wilma!
Wilma will be dearly missed by her five children and their families, Marc (Kelly) Loken of Shoreview, MN, Kent (Annette) Loken of Wahpeton, ND, Naomi (William) Wilkins of Springfield, Tennessee, Beth Cherryholmes (special friend Andy Brostrom) White Bear Lake, MN, and Paul Loken of Vadnais Height, MN; seven grandchildren, Erin, Karinne, Sonya, Luke, Erik, Kristina, Ryan; six step-grandchildren; five great-grandchildren and five step great-grandchildren; one brother, Bruce Ringen of Cheyenne, WY; three sisters-in-law, Nona Ringen, Myrna Ringen, and Annabelle Loken. Wilma was preceded in death by her parents, Alf and Hannah; her first husband, Albert "Gene" Loken and her second husband, Chuck Mateer; her brothers, Harvey and Marcus Ringen; two great-granddaughters; her son-in-law, Keith Cherryholmes and a step grandson; two sisters-in-law, Frances Ringen and Fern Loken.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Habitat for Humanity or Can Do Canines: www.can-do-canines.org

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