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Leona Whitmer

Leona M. Whitmer (Podratz), age 103, of Willmar,passed away Thursday afternoon, March 18, at Vista Prairie at Copperleaf in Willmar.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 24, at Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. A graveside service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24, at Emmanuel Lutheran Cemetery near Morris. Arrangements are with Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar at

Leona was born on October 15, 1917, on the family farm in Swan Valley Township, Stevens County, Minnesota, the daughter of Max and Martha (Koehntop) Podratz.

She grew up in the rural Morris area and was baptized as a child of God into the Kingdom of God. Leona confessed her faithfulness in her Savior, Jesus Christ through her confirmation. In 1935, she graduated high school from West Central Ag School. On March 8, 1939, Leona was married to Joy Whitmer and they made their home in Morris. In 1952, she moved to Willmar and worked as a LPN at Rice Hospital and later at the Willmar State Hospital. She was a member of Vinje Lutheran Church and was active in women’s circle and volunteered with the church newsletter. Following retirement, Leona was a volunteer at Rice Hospital. Her hobbies included traveling, playing board and card games. She was active in three card clubs. Leona was a loving and caring mother and grandmother. She kept her family together.

She is survived by her four daughters, Margaret (and Don) Woods of Mendota Heights, Joyce (and DuWayne) Hagen of Buffalo, Bev Buffington of Perham and Connie (and Dick) Strandberg of Minnetonka; nine grandchildren; eighteen great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren, besides many other relatives.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; one brother, Burnard Podratz and a son-in-law, David Buffington.

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