Francis Valentine Eichten age 95 of Walnut Grove passed away Friday, March 6, 2015 at Mayo Health System Springfield. Graveside services will be at 10:00 a.m. Monday, March 9 at St. Mathias Catholic Cemetery near Wanda. Online condolences may be sent at www.stephensfuneralservice.com. Stephens Funeral Service – Walnut Grove Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Francis Valentine Eichten was born to Alfred Andrew and Florence Hermine (Schlumpberger) Eichten on March 28, 1919 in Wanda, Minnesota. He was baptized in April 1919 at St. Mathias Catholic Church in Wanda. Francis was a student at Wanda Public Elementary School and attended Lamberton High School. He was drafted into the Army during WWII and spent four years in France and Germany before being discharged with the rank of Sergeant in 1945. During that time, Francis was wounded and received the Purple Heart Award. He farmed for many years and did custom corn shelling and hay bailing, retiring in 1989. On August 12, 1989 he married Violet Johnson Gilmore in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Worthington. Together they enjoyed buying and selling collectables and antiques, and visiting with family and friends. Violet passed away in May 2005. Francis was a fifty year member of the Wanda American Legion. He also was a member of the Tracy VFW and St. Mathias’ Catholic Church Foresters, serving as the Treasurer of St. Isidore Court No. 1092 in 1983. Francis was a member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Walnut Grove. He was godfather to nieces Joleen Ann Schulte Larson and Ann Marie Eichten Weber.
Francis is survived by his sister Theresa M. Grupe of Apache Junction, AZ; brother Alfred G. (Marjorie) Eichten of Mankato; and many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. He is also survived by a stepdaughter Trudy (Patrick) O’Leary of St. Paul; stepson Tom Gilmore (fiancée Vera Novak) of Willmar; six step-grandchildren; several step-great grandchildren; four brothers-in-law: Lloyd (Eileen) Johnson of Worthington, Ray Johnson of Tucson, AZ, Milford “Jesse” (Janet) Johnson of Tucson, AZ, and Earl (Shirley) Johnson of Slayton; and sister-in-law Bernice (Harold) Schafer of Slayton. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife Violet, three infant brothers, an infant sister, sister Marion Schulte, brother Mark Eichten, two brothers-in-law, and two sisters-in-law.