Sylvia K. Boettcher, 94, of Winona, passed away on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at Saint Anne’s Extended Healthcare.
Sylvia was born on July 31, 1925 to John and Grace (Connaughty) Sweningson in a house in Pine Creek (near Rushford). By her own account she attended Rush Creek School where they walked with her siblings 2 1/2 miles roundtrip each day. Sylvia was 8 years- old when her father bought a farm between Utica and Lewiston, MN. She attended Utica country school through the eighth grade. During the summertime, she worked in the fields, mowed lawn and completed many outdoor and household chores. The cows were milked by hand and fields were plowed by horses. Sylvia attended Lewiston High School, graduating in 1944. She played trumpet in the school’s band, and in fact, marched in the dedication of the new Interstate Bridge across the Mississippi River near Winona in 1942.
After high school graduation, Sylvia attended Winona Secretarial School. Upon graduation, she worked for a parole agent and county nurse in Rochester. She met Edward Boettcher at a dance in Wyattville where Sylvia was introduced to him by her girlfriend. Ed started working for the neighbor and as Sylvia said,” that was it”. They were married in Minneapolis. Ed and Sylvia farmed for five years on Ed’s uncle’s farm. This endeavor did not yield much money, so they sold everything and went to work as a hired couple. Dale and Joanne were born during the time they lived on the farm.
In 1953, they bought a house on West 5th Street in Winona. Sylvia stayed home to raise their growing family. She volunteered at Jefferson Elementary PTA and volunteered on her block for the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Association. Sylvia loved to cook, bake and keep a clean house. During these years Gary, Cindy, Lynn and Sue were born. In 1967, after her youngest child started school, she went to work as an aide at Community Memorial Hospital earning her Practical Nursing Diploma from Winona Area Technical School in 1967.
Not one to stay inactive, Sylvia completed tons of volunteer work, both at the Hospital and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She is probably best known for her work for the Red Cross. The Red Cross honored her for 42 years of service during the Bloodmobile blood drive at the church. She was recognized for her hard work including making homemade chicken noodle soup. Mom was 90 years old at the time and continued working until this past Spring.
Sylvia listed the top ten activities during her lifetime as follows: 1. Leading the Jefferson Elementary School PTA. 2. Working on her block for the American Heart and Cancer Associations. 3. Employed as the Secretary for the Olmsted county nurse and parole agent. 4. Serving as a Home Health Nurse. 5. Key Kids Caregiver for District 861. 6. Coordinator for the Red Cross at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. 7. Active member of the Episcopal Church Women 8. Served on the vestry, taught Sunday school, participated in the Prayer Chain, and served on the Alter Guild all at St. Paul’s Church 9. Employed as an OB Nurse at Community Memorial Hospital, assisting with many births 10. Volunteering as a Pink Lady at CMH for many years.
Sylvia is survived by her children Dale Boettcher , Joanne (Tom) Riska, Cindy (Sigurd) Scheurle, Gary Boettcher and Lynn (Russell) Fjellanger, son-in-law Steve Crenshaw; grandchildren; Mike, Kurt, Nathan, Erick, Dawn, Libby, Matthew, Erin, Adam, Lee, Kayla, Grace, Branch, Ashley and Joshua: great-grandchildren: Reed, Olivia, Colins, Brianna, Lyra and Lily: great-great grandchild; Cassin.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Grace Sweningson; her sisters Virgil Sogla and Arlene Sweningson, her sister-in-laws: Doris Sweningson and Shirly Pflughoeft, her husband Ed Boettcher; her twin sons and her daughter, Sue Crenshaw.