Elna Marie Kearns
WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) — Heaven gained an angel on November 18th after Elna Marie Kearns, 97, fell and broke her hip in her home. She resided at Brookdale Assisted Living in Winona, where she was loved and cared for by an amazing staff.
She had lovely friends ere and kept a busy schedule with lots of fun and interesting activities. She especially enjoyed making coffee hour, playing bingo, and visiting with George, the talking cockatiel.
Elna was born in Whitehall WI to Anna (Waychick) and Otto Heller. She was the youngest of five children. Elna was better known as Ellie. She married Harvey Sveum on June 26, 1943, at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Winona, where they made their home. They had four beautiful children; Vonnie, Darryl, Randy and Bobby. Ellie and Harvey divorced in 1965. Harvey passed away in 1968.
On May 11, 1973, Ellie married Frank Kearns, a kind man who treated her with the love and care she deserved. Ellie was a cook at the Oasis Café (The Big O) for many years and then worked at Brach’s Candy Company until she retired in 1987.
Ellie was known for crocheting quilts, making G’ma Ellie Jelly and Mocha Cakes at Christmas. She was so proud of her children and loved to take part in the fun activities that they and the grandchildren were involved: “Goodview Days” boating on the Mississippi River, Packer/Viking games, U of M football and watching her grandson play softball, hockey, football, and basketball games. She had many dogs and cats over the years. She loved and cared for them like they were her own children. Her passion for pets must’ve rubbed off on one of her grandsons (Kevin), as he became a veterinarian.
Ellie is survived by two sons, Darryl Sveum, (Winona), Randy (Peg) Sveum, (Rochester, MN), and son-in-law John Bitu; 6 grandsons, Kevin (Ann) Bitu (Champlain, MN), Kirk Bitu, (Ft. Lauderdale FL), Shane Sveum, (Winona MN), Erik (Marissa) Sveum, (Mpls), Patrick (Madeline) Sveum, (Mpls) Kristofer Sveum, (Mpls), and great-grandson Carter Sveum, (Winona); Nephews: Bill (Patsy) Heller, Joel Heller, Dick (Pam) Heller, Lee Heller, and Gayle Heller: Niece: Cindy (Heller) Hendrickson
She was preceeded in death by her husband, Frank (1986), son, Robert (1969) and daughter, Vonnie (2011), a sister (Ella Smith, Winona, MN), three brothers: Earl (Betty) (Owatonna MN), Harold (Mary Jane) (Santa Clara CA), and Ray (Violet) (Orange CA) and a niece Joann (Smith) Hagedorn, Winona (2020)
Join Ellie’s family at the Hoff Funeral Chapel from 10 to 11 a.m. for a visitation, with funeral services starting at 11:00. Masks and social distances are required. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Winona.