Ann Cecelia (Wilkowski) WattlesNovember 5, 1919 ~ April 19, 2017 (age 97)
Ann Wattles, 97, of Bemidji, MN died Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at her home.
Memorial Services will be 10:30 a.m., Thursday, May 4, 2017 at St. Philip’s Catholic Church with Fr. Chuck Huck officiating. Family will greet friends one hour prior to the service at the church. Inurnment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Bemidji. Arrangements were entrusted to the Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji.
Ann Wilkowski was born November 5, 1919 in Foster Junction, WI to Matt and Laura Wilcowski, the youngest of ten children. She moved to Big Falls, MN as a child, where her father was a blacksmith for the railroad. She graduated from Big Falls High School in 1937 and started working as a waitress while still in high school. On October 16, 1938 she married Waldo Wattles in Bemidji. They lived at 822 Fifth Street for several years while he worked for Grinols Fuel & Implement. They purchased the Given house at 422 Irvine Ave. in 1944 and she had been in the house for 73 years. Waldo and Ann owned and operated Wattles Studio from 1951-1961. She did the tinting for the studio and handled all the orders and bookkeeping. Ann was bailiff from 1953 through the spring term of 1958. She was working also as a waitress for Hilda Figel at the Town and Country Club when she was recommended for an opening at Myron’s. She worked as a saleswoman at Myron’s Dress Shop until it closed in 1962. From there she went to work at Wilson’s Clothing, and worked 25 years for Bob and Jan Wilson. When Wilson’s closed in 1987, she went to work at O’Meara’s until it closed in 1990. She then worked at Ehler’s Clothing at the mall, and when that shop closed, she went to work at Clearwater Cottage. At the age of 85, she laughed that she had closed five dress shops in Bemidji and that it was time for her to retire. She was a member of St. Ann’s Circle and a faithful member of St. Philip’s Catholic Church. She loved music and encouraged all three of her children to study piano and organ, and all three served as organists at St. Philip’s. She joined the DOES organization in 1962 and loved the ritual work and her friendships with the members of the organization. She served as president of the DOES in 1965 and traveled to Hawaii with the group in the 1970’s. Her husband, Waldo Wattles, was killed in a plane crash in 1969. Her sister, Geney Rockstad, lived with her at 422 Irvine from 1977-2005 and the two sisters shared many good years together. The both loved to travel and one of their favorite destinations was Las Vegas. Ann celebrated both her 85th and 90th birthdays in Vegas. Ann was practically a charter member of the Palace Casino at Cass Lake, and was known by many for her love of bingo and the slots. One of the family’s favorite stories was about leaving her grandsons’ birthday party early, because she had a hunch she was going to win the drawing for a truck at the Palace. And she did!
She is survived by son, Phillip Wattles of Bedford, TX; daughters, Cecelia McKeig of Federal Dam and Valerie (Rick) Hanson of Bemidji; grandchildren, Alex Hanson of Bemidji, Mike McKeig of Penryn, CA, Justice Anne McKeig of Brooklyn Park, Casey McKeig of Remer and Patrick and John McKeig of Federal Dam and six great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Waldo Wattles.
Online guestbook at www.olsonschwartzfuneralhome.com