NEW ULM – Harriet Eckstein, 90, died peacefully the morning of July 1, 2014, while residing at Oak Hills Living Center in New Ulm.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 9, at St. Mary’s Cath-olic Church in New Ulm with Monsignor Douglas Grams celebrating the Mass. Burial will follow in the New Ulm Catholic Cemetery.
Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Tuesday and 7:30-10 a.m. Wednesday at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home NORTH CHAPEL in New Ulm.
There will be a rosary prayed at 3:40 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.
To leave an online condolence for her family or to sign the guest book go to www.mvfh.org
She was born October 2, 1923, to David and Harriet (Ware) Mathews in Salem Township, Knox County, Ill. on the farm homesteaded by her great-grandfather in 1845.
Harriet was proud of her family history. She very much enjoyed traveling back to her “roots” in the small town of Yates City, Ill. and reminiscing about growing up there in the 20’s and 30’s.
After completing business school in Peoria, Ill., Harriet moved with her family to Ames, Iowa, where she worked as a secretary in the Zoology Department of what is now Iowa State University. It was there that she met Anton “Tony” Eckstein, a New Ulm native. They were married on June 29, 1946 at St. Cecelia’s Catholic Church in Ames.
Their lives together began in Olivia, with Tony practicing veterinary medicine. In 1947, they moved to New Ulm, and Harriet became an active member of the community.
Some will remember Harriet’s involvement with the library at St. Mary’s school and the annual Palm Sunday Breakfast at St. Mary’s church. She undertook numerous projects for local organizations like the Loretto Hospital Auxiliary and Cathedral High School. She is best remembered for her efforts in establishing the Lind House Association and restoring the historical landmark to its original appearance. It gave her great joy to see the former governor’s home enjoyed by so many.
Other organizations she was committed to were the Brown County Historical Society, the Wanda Gag Home Association, the German Bohemian Society, and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
For her efforts, she was awarded the Service to Mankind Award in 1990. In 1991, April 11 was proclaimed Harriet Eckstein Day by then New Ulm Mayor Carl “Red” Wyczawski.
As a wife, Harriet was very supportive of Tony’s veterinary practice, his political career, and his family of 11 younger siblings. As a mother she was helpful and caring. She was a friend to many in the community.
Harriet had many varied interests. Genealogy took up much of her time, as did quilting and bridge. She loved to entertain friends and go camping with family. She enjoyed time spent at their lake home in Cross Lake, Minn.
Harriet was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, an infant son, a sister, Katherine, and a brother, Richard. She is survived by her children and their spouses: Beverly and Jack Friend, Rochester; Bradley and Janet Eckstein, New Ulm; Mary and David Withee, Suamico, Wis.; Thomas Eckstein, New Ulm; Catherine Eckstein, New Ulm; and Barbara and Kenneth Rieke, St. George. She is the grandmother of Julie, David, and Daniel Friend; Anna Withee; Aaron, Douglas and Casey Eckstein; Timothy and Andrew Rieke, and Elizabeth (Rieke) Seifert; and the great-grandmother of Aidan, Dylan, Colin, Carson and Colton Friend; Aidan and Ethan Eckstein; Brooke Merkel and soon to arrive Baby Seifert. Her sister Phyllis Rothrock resides in Hendersonville, N.C., and sister-in-law Elizabeth Mathews in Stanwood, Wash.