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Dorothy M. Kiehne

August 22, 1933 - June 8, 2022

Dorothy Mae Kiehne, 88, of rural Lanesboro took her first breath of Glory on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, when her Lord & Savior Jesus Christ welcomed her home.

At the time of her death, Dorothy resided at Chosen Valley Care Center in Chatfield, MN where she had been a resident for just over 19 months; she courageously battled colon cancer & its ensuing complications for over 6 years.

Dorothy was born August 22, 1933, in Preston, MN to Henry and Agnes Ristau. She graduated from Preston High School, where she learned of her passion for accounting/bookkeeping and shorthand. Dorothy later worked as a bookkeeper at Preston Creamery and saved money to purchase her own first car, a brand new custom-ordered light robin’s egg blue 1954 Ford from Peterson Motors in Lanesboro, MN.  (Unfortunately, her younger sister rolled Dorothy’s first new dream car during a failed driving lesson which left Dorothy pinned underneath the car). Peterson Motors gave her a really great deal on her second purchase of new 1954 Ford car, light tan this time as that is what the dealership had on the lot. 

Dorothy drove her beautiful new light tan car to work, parking right out front of the Creamery.  Her boss came out, looked it over, sat in it, and pronounced it “Pretty Nice”.  Soon afterwards, this handsome young farmer, who also just happened to haul milk into the Creamery asked her, “Soooooo, when do I get to ride in your new car?”  Hence the “First Date”, and as Dorothy shared with OT/PT, “The rest was history!”

That handsome young farmer/milk-hauler from Lanesboro proposed!  Dorothy & Arlen D. Kiehne were married on July 21, 1961. Shortly after marriage, Dorothy shifted her career from bookkeeper at Preston Creamery to full-time dairy/beef/crop farming operations with her husband and raising their children.

For over 15 years, Dorothy’s Saturday nights included preparing lessons on Jesus and His life and love for her Pre-School Sunday School class at Christ Lutheran, as well as extensive art projects to enhance the lesson.  She told the Hospice staff she loved teaching that age group because she was “still smarter than they were”.  Dorothy recruited her teenagers to “cut stuff out for the little ones” while bribing with very-late-night TV time of SNL, Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess.  Water became wine with the help of Kool-Aid, fishing poles caught construction paper “fishies” with a piece of candy taped to the back, and pieces of left over paneling careful sawed to smaller size by master carpenter Arden Gullickson allowed plying budding carpentry skills “just like Jesus”!  Attendance charts became adding decorations to a Christmas tree for December, or more fruit to the cornucopia for November, or another ribbon to the kite’s tail in March, or adding another baby duck to the pond with Mama duck in April.  Her students would run up to her in the grocery store yelling, “Mrs. Bikini! 

Mrs. Bikini!!”  Grinning while she kneeled, she would give them a hug and ask about their day.  She passionately loved making Jesus come alive, planting little seeds of His love, mercy and grace in her students’ hearts.

Dorothy enjoyed sending (and receiving) cards: birthday, anniversary, wedding, sympathy, get-well, and thinking-of-you. Her favorite birthday gift consisted of stamps, pens, and more blank cards that she could send to other people!  Dorothy also enjoyed reading Christian romance novels, watching Hallmark movies, taking pictures of everything with her Brownie Hawkeye, baking her famous brownies for visits with relatives and the crew helping at the farm with chopping/chute work/anything (going so far as to call from Chatfield to ensure the guys were “getting fed”), sending care packages to grandchildren, keeping indoor plants alive, planting numerous outdoor flowers in her garden as well as burp-less cucumbers and tomatoes in her younger years, designing embroidery work, creating a dress better than store bought with impressive seamstress skills, journaling every incident occurring on the farm including weather and precipitation amounts, climbing on the Honda 4-wheeler to go set her gopher traps, and all things farming, especially driving tractors.  One particular Mother’s Day a new IH1486 arrived in the farm yard, to which Dorothy asked her husband (who had forgotten it was Mother’s Day weekend), “So, is that MY Mother’s Day present?”  Ever the intelligent man, Arlen affirmed that “Yes It Was”.  Dorothy would remind her husband of that fact when ever he wanted to upgrade by trading the IH1486 away, with “Well, WAS it my MY Mother’s Day present or not?”  Although strongly resistant to “those green tractors”, as their tractor ownership gradually shifted from red to green, she eventually grew to love driving her JD8120 on the gravity box behind the combine.

Dorothy leaves behind her husband of 60 years, Arlen Kiehne of Lanesboro; children John Kiehne of Lanesboro and Susan Kiehne of Preston; four grandchildren Jennifer (Travis) Schurhammer, Jason (Trisha) Jacobson, and Elayna and Maegan Kiehne; four great grandchildren Bradyn and Josie Jacobson, and Emma and Eliana Schurhammer; son-in-law Kirby Rennerfeldt; sister-in-law Ella Ristau; and sister Emily Lange.  She was preceded in death by a daughter Sally (Kiehne Jacobson) Rennerfeldt; and four brothers Herman, Roy, Dale, and Roger. 

Dorothy’s family would like to thank Mayo Clinic’s  Oncology, Palliative Care, and Vascular Wound Care medical personnel, along with the wonderful ED & Hospital staff, Chosen Valley Care Center, and Mayo Hospice for their wonderful care of Dorothy.

Funeral services will be 9:30 a.m., Saturday, June 18, 2022 at the Christ Lutheran Church in Preston. Visitation will be 5 - 7 p.m. Friday, June 17th at Christ Lutheran Church in Preston and one hour prior to the service at the church.


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