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Elizabeth "Liz" Marie Utke

Elizabeth "Liz" Marie Utke, 76, of Brandon, S.D. formerly of Park Rapids, died Thursday, April 30, 2009, at SouthRidge Health Care Nursing Home in Sioux Falls, S.D.

She was born July 9, 1932 in Audubon to Thurman and Huldah Annette (Hanson) Wetteland. She grew up and attended school in Audubon, where she graduated from high school in 1950. She went on to attend Concordia College in Moorhead for one year, and then one year at Moorhead State College where she attained her teacher's certificate. She moved to Enderlin, N.D., where she taught elementary school.

She married John E. Utke on Oct. 8, 1955 in Audubon. They lived in Enderlin, where they raised their family and operated a farm for many years. In January 1965 they purchased the Coast to Coast Hardware Store in Greenbush. They moved back to Enderlin two and a half years later and purchased the Coast to Coast Hardware Store in Enderlin, which they operated for many years before retiring in 1984. They moved to South Fargo, N.D. after their retirement and lived there for more than 20 years. In 2004 they moved to Park Rapids, where they could be near their two sons. In 2007 they moved to Brandon, S.D., and recently entered the SouthRidge Health Care Nursing Home in Sioux Falls, S.D.

She was an active member of the Methodist Church in Sheldon, N.D., First Lutheran Church in Enderlin, N.D., St. John's Lutheran Church in South Fargo, N.D., and Riverside United Methodist Church in Park Rapids.

She is survived by her husband; four sons: Paul (Nancy), of Park Rapids, Greg (Gail), of Brandon, S.D., Steve (Sharon Rydberg), of White Bear Lake, and Kent (Nancy), of Park Rapids; eight grandchildren; two sisters: Shirley Steinhaus, of Detroit Lakes, and Jean (Herman) Meier, of Detroit Lakes; a brother, Thurman (Vaida) Wetteland, of Detroit Lakes; and eight nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Lynette; and two brothers-in-law: Loren Steinhaus and Dr. Rodney Utke.

Memorial service: 11 a.m. Friday, May 8 at Riverside United Methodist Church in Park Rapids with Pastor Don Bird officiating. Linda Szuszitzky will be the organist. Congregational hymns will be "Amazing Grace" and "In the Garden." A piano tribute will be played by her granddaughter Allison.

Gathering: One hour prior to the services at the church on Friday.

Inurnment: A private family inurnment will be held at the family plot at Salem Cemetery in Enderlin, N.D.