Christine (Tragarz) Dziengel, beloved and loving wife of Clem and mother of Kathryn, Carrall, Roger, and grandson Tom; passed away Aug. 27, 2018 at Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center, Hallock, Minn., at the age of 99 years 9 months.
Christine was born Nov. 21, 1918 to Josephine and Thomas Tragarz and lived on a farm east of Argyle, Minn. Christine was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith at the Alma Catholic Church, rural Argyle. Her father died in a farming accident when she was very young. Her mother remarried and she and her brother, Stanley moved to a farm near Radium, Minn. Two half brothers, Tony and Steve were born. Her mother died when Christine was 13 and she went to live with her Aunt Mary and Uncle Mike Plencner on a farm near Warren, Minn.
Christine met her husband to be, Clem Dziengel, when she began cooking for the threshing crew near Argyle. Clem ran the steam engine for the harvest season. Clem and Christine were married in Alma Catholic Church east of Argyle Nov. 14, 1939 and they bought a farm in Davis Township near Kennedy, Minn. Christine and Clem began with horses to do their farming in the fertile gumbo soil in the Red River Valley of the north. Next came John Deere tractors and then Cat tractors and combines as they mechanized and improved the farming operation. In 1953 Clem and Christine built a ranch style home and three car garage to replace the original home that had a coal furnace, kerosene lamps for lighting, wood/gas cooking stove, hand pump for water from a cistern, and an outhouse because there was no other plumbing in the house.
Christine always had a large garden and preserved her fruits and vegetables. She made Polish baby dills and French cut beet pickles and donated many jars to the St. Patrick Catholic Church Fall Festival to be sold. Many people came to buy those pickles and she became known as the “pickle lady” of Kittson County. Christine exhibited her baking, pickles, and other preserved foods at the Kittson County Fair and won many championships. Her Polish Baby Dills recipe won the Championship at the Minnesota State Fair. In 1984 Christine was awarded the Calvin Bouvette Memorial Award in recognition of her many years of exhibiting at the Kittson County Fair in food preservation. Christine and Clem were active 4-H leaders and inspired their three children and grandson to exhibit Ayrshire cattle, grain, preserved food, sewed clothing, and other 4-H projects at the Kittson County Fair. They earned many awards and trips to the Crookston Winter Shows, Northwest Dairy Days in Thief River Falls, and the Minnesota State Fair for their efforts.
Christine and Clem were active in agricultural projects with the county extension department and hosted and sponsored exchange student Jacque Gilbert from France, and other students from Mississippi, and Venezuela to visit and see their farming operation during the summer season.
Christine and Clem celebrated 65 years of marriage before Clem passed away in 2005. Christine moved to Tamarac Assisted Living Center, Stephen, Minn., in 2013 and then became a resident of Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center in 2014.Christine’s life was a life of service to others. Guests were always welcomed into her home with her generous offer of food and comfort.
Christine is survived by her three children: Kathryn Earnest, Carrall Nelson, and Roger (Judy) Dziengel. Christine also raised her grandson Tom (Marlene) Dowdle from the age of six months. Her other grandchildren are: Teresa (Chris) Mohr, Debra (Stan) Phelps, Brian (Nancy) Quackenbush, Michael (Jolynne) Dziengel, and Wendy (Brent) Hatlewick. Christine’s great grandchildren are: Alicia (Chad) Johnson, Alex (Jill) Dowdle, Kayli (Tristin) White, Joshua Phelps, Brandon Harney, and Derek Hatlewick. Christine’s great-great grandchildren are: Ethan, Sadie, and Jaxon Phelps; Zander, Sophie, and Kinsley Johnson. Christine’s step-great-grandchildren are: Angie, Andy, and Aaron (Dana) Kirkeby; Aleshia, Findley, Austin, Samantha, and Baylee Hatlewick. Christine’s step-great-great grandchildren are: Samantha (Sonny) Ehli, Zackary Carlin, and Trent Hatlewick. Christine is also survived by her half-brother Steve (Ruth) Grembowski, sister-in-laws Irene Nowacki and Gloria Dziengel; brother-in-law Tom Dziengel, and many nieces and nephews.
Christine was preceded in death by her husband Clem, parents Thomas and Josephine (Kuznia) Tragarz, brother and wife Stanley (Betty) Tragarz, half-brother Tony Grembowski and his father Frank, and son-in-laws Michael Earnest and Robert Nelson.
Funeral services were held Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Patrick’s Church, Hallock. Interment was in St. John the Baptist Cemetery, rural Argyle. Visitation was held at the church Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Fr. William DeCrans, presiding; Reader, Charles Dziengel; Altar Server, Earl Karboviak; Gifts, Carrall Nelson and Roger Dziengel; Special Music, St. Patrick’s Choir, Jill Dowdle, organist.Pall Placement, Angie Kirkeby, Jolynne Dziengel, Alicia Johnson, Samantha Ehli, Dana Weiskopf and Wendy Hatlewick. Casket bearers, Andy Kirkeby, Myke Dziengel, Aaron Kirkeby, Zackary Carlin, Alex Dowdle and Keith Dziengel.
Austin Funeral Chapel, Hallock, was in charge of the arrangments. www.austinfuneralchapel.com