Diane Mrnak, 65Diane Roberta Mrnak, 65, Glenwood, died Sunday, February 24, 2013, in the comfort of her home surrounded by her loving family under the care of Hospice.
Diane Roberta Mrnak, 65, Glenwood, died Sunday, February 24, 2013, in the comfort of her home surrounded by her loving family under the care of Hospice.
A Memorial Mass to celebrate her life will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Glenwood on Saturday, March 2 at 1:30 p.m. with Father Michael Wolfbauer officiating. Visitation will be held at the church one hour prior to Mass on Saturday and at Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home on Friday, March 1 from 5 to 7 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m.
Diane was the first child of Duayne "Fritz" and Harriet (Christman) Gaffaney, born on August 23, 1947 in Glenwood. She grew up on a farm near Villard and attended Saint Bartholomew's Catholic Church. Diane attended school in Villard and graduated from Villard High School in 1965. She went on earn her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Minnesota Morris in 1969. Diane then taught two years in the Bloomington school system.
In 1969, Diane met her future husband Roger Mrnak and they were united in marriage on July 10, 1971 at Saint Bartholomew's. She continued to teach fifth grade in the Villard school system for the next four years. Diane and Roger made their home on a farm north of Glenwood, where she lived until her death.
In the fall of 1975, Diane chose to stop teaching to be a fulltime mother and farm wife. Jason Andrew was born on January 7, 1976, followed by Jennifer Sarah on October 25, 1979. Diane was involved in all aspects of the family dairy farm.
Diane never lost her passion for education and in 1992, she was asked to be the director of religious education at Sacred Heart. She embraced this new challenge and positively impacted the spiritual lives of countless children in the parish. She continued her education in this role and earned a certificate in ministry formation in 1998 from Saint John's University. Diane continued working until two weeks prior to her death.
Diane was the best wife, mother, mother-in-law, daughter, big sister, Nana, and friend anyone could ask for. She was blessed with three grandchildren who all enjoyed their "Nana time." Diane enjoyed entertaining family and was known for her warmth and sense of humor. She loved flowers and each spring would plant countless petunias. She was the best partner in life that Roger could have asked for. They were looking forward to spending more time with their grandchildren, traveling, and enjoying their retirement years together.
Diane's true strength, courage, faith, and perseverance were demonstrated when she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer on September 12, 2008. She was continuously involved in treatment since she was diagnosed, ranging from various forms of chemotherapy and hormone treatments to radiation. With treatment, came side effects, which Diane handled without complaint, always pushing forward, and making new memories along the way. She kept looking at each new treatment as a new chapter in her life's journey.
Diane is survived by her husband of 41 years, Roger Mrnak; children, Jason (Kara) Mrnak of Glenwood and Jennifer (Matt) Meyer of St. Cloud; mother, Harriet Gaffaney of Glenwood; sister, Gwynne (Ray) Gildow of Staples; brothers, Jeff (Dorothy) Gaffaney of Glenwood, Pat (Nicole) Gaffaney of Glenwood, and Mike (Shelly) Gaffaney of Granite Falls; grandchildren, Andrew Benjamin (age 9), Jacob Roger (age 6), Allie Diane (age 2); stepmother-in-law, Lorraine Mrnak of Alexandria; sister-in-law, Dorothy (Harlan) Munsen of North Mankato; brothers-in-law, Jerry (Linda) Mrnak of Delano and Mike (Deb) McKinley of Minneapolis; and several nieces and nephews.
Diane was preceded in death by her father, Duayne "Fritz" Gaffaney; mother-in-law, Grace Mrnak; father-in-law, Ben Mrnak; and sister-in-law, Nancy McKinley.
Diane's family, friends, co-workers and volunteers will dearly miss her. What an honor and privilege it has been to have her in our lives and to be given the last 4.5 years that were never guaranteed. She was our tireless, thoughtful supporter; confidant; mentor; and is now our guardian angel.
Arrangements are with Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood; www.hoplinfuneralhome.com.
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