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Willetta Barthelemy, 91

Willetta Elnora Barthelemy, 91, Alexandria, died November 22, 2013.

Willetta was born January 19, 1922 in Millerville to George and Anna (Bitzan) Kuhn. She was baptized at Our Lady of Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Millerville. Willie, as she was known to her family and friends, grew up with her four brothers and four sisters, working on the farm, leaping from the hayloft, climbing trees, and playing softball in the pasture with her brothers.

She attended St. Marys School in Millerville and Kensington High School. Willie later attended Dakota Business College in Fargo, North Dakota, where she earned a degree in accounting.

In 1941, Willie moved to Alexandria, where she became a member of St. Marys Catholic Church. She worked as an accountant at Pacific Gamble Robinson, a food distribution company. In 1953, she married Peter Barthelemy, who had recently served in WWII. Pete went to work at the family store, Barthelemys Furriers. Early in their marriage, Willie spent much of her time working alongside her husband at the fur shop on Broadway in downtown Alexandria.

Pete and Willie soon began to raise their three children, Jon, Lynn and Jan. Her first-born, Jon, had Down syndrome. It was this "disability" that led to the defining purposes of Willies life. She volunteered with the Association of Retarded Citizens, helped with Special Olympics, spent one week every summer as a camp counselor for Jon and others, and volunteered for countless other programs and organizations.

Willie loved being a mother and a grandmother, and in return she was adored by her five beautiful grandchildren. She took exceptional care of her son Jon throughout his life.

Additional hobbies of hers included reading, gardening, decorating and collecting antiques. Willie was famous for her superb cooking which many in her family enjoyed.

Willie is survived her daughter, Jan Heggestad; granddaughters, Marcie (Josh) McEachern, Lizibeth Fischer; grandsons, Robert Jr. (Krystal), Nicholas, and Marcus Heggestad; great-grandchildren, Gracelyn, Adelise and Isabel McEachern, Robert III, and Sawyer Heggestad; sons-in-law, Jim Fischer and Robert Heggestad; her sisters, Hyacinth Kuhn and Cordelia Sanvik; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, George and Anna Kuhn; her husband, Peter Barthelemy; son, Jon Barthelemy; and daughter, Lynn Fischer; her brothers, Alfred, Richard, Francis and Arvin Kuhn; and her sisters, Lucille Brazil and Elvira Hughes.

Mass of Christian Burial for Willie was held at The Church of St. Mary in Alexandria on Wednesday, December 4 at 11 a.m. Entombment was at St. Marys Cemetery.

Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria;