Jean Spates

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Jean Carol Spates

Jean Spates

June 28, 1932 – August 6, 2017



Jean Spates, age 85, died Sunday morning, August 6, 2017, at the Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, August 9, at St. Francis Catholic Church in Benson from 4-7 pm with a Parish Prayer Service at 5 pm and a Rosary Service at 7 pm. Visitation will continue Thursday, August 10, from 10-11 am, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am, at St. Francis Catholic Church. Interment will be in the church cemetery.


Jean Carol Spates was born on June 28, 1932, in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of David T. and Hattie (Kulla) Graff. She grew up on a five acre farm near New Brighton, Minnesota and later moved with her family and lived above their grocery store in New Brighton. She attended school in St. Paul and graduated from Murray High School. 


On November 22, 1952, Jean was united in marriage to Kenneth Charles Spates II at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. This union was blessed with over 43 years of marriage and eight children. They lived in St. Paul until 1965 when they moved to Benson and Kenneth joined the law office of Barnard, Hilleren, and Spates. They moved to Lake Minnewaska in 1988.  Her years at the lake were filled with memories of fishing, swimming, gardening, and camp fires.  Five years after the death of Ken, Jean returned to Benson and lived in the Victory addition. 


Jean loved her family and enjoyed spending time with them.  (We loved visiting her.) She often hosted feasts and card parties at her small townhouse where hours were spent playing poker and three-thirteen.  Her love language was cooking and baking.  Nothing thrilled her more than to hear how “delish” her meals were.  She looked forward to cheering on her favorite sports teams the Twins and the Vikings.  She gifted her children, grandchildren, and the missions with many afghans and sweaters she knitted and crocheted.  Her favorite devotion was the Rosary and she prayed it daily. She was called from this life on Sunday morning August 6, 2017 at the Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. She attained the age of 85 years, 1 month, and 14 days.


She is survived by her children: Kenneth (Dana) Spates, Scot (Anne) Spates, Kevin (Donna) Spates, Pam (Brad) Neuhaus, Carrie (John) Chamberlain, Sheri Spates (aka Sister Monica), Jay Peter (Liz) Spates, and Kim (Pat) Flolo; 20 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; siblings: Robert (Darlene) Graff of Duluth, Patricia (Jorgan) Fog, of Shoreview, Richard (Marlys) Graff of Bayfield, Wisconsin; and several other relatives and friends.


She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth on November 26, 1995; her parents, David and Hattie Graff; a brother, Donald; sisters: Grace, Phyllis, and Mary Jane; and a great-grandson, Ian James Spates.  Blessed be her memory.


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