Colleen “Coke” Klessig – Duluth News Tribune

Colleen M. Klessig (“Coke”), Nee Riley, of rural Biwabik, passed away on Thursday, January 13, 2022 at the age of 91. She was born on October 16, 1930, in Biwabik, Minnesota, to Nicholas and Mary Riley, their tenth child. .

Colleen graduated from Biwabik High School and went on to earn her undergraduate degree in Home Economics at the University of Minnesota. After graduating, she worked at the University of Minnesota Medical School doing research. She then earned her degree in education from the University of Minnesota Duluth and began teaching home economics in Aurora, MN, where she met and married Robert Klessig, the love of her life.

Later they moved to Hibbing and she worked for Aurora, Cook and Hibbing hospitals. Together they raised four daughters. After their retirement, they moved to their home on Cedar Island Lake south of Biwabik.

Colleen was a member of Our Lady of Hope (St. John’s Catholic Church). She was an incredible woman with a wonderful sense of humor, an excellent cook, an avid quilter and a devoted woman of faith. She was a wonderful mother to her four daughters and a beloved grandmother to her seven grandchildren. Coke was the life of the party and will be sorely missed.

Survivors include daughters Gretchen Pietruszewski and children, Martha and Wilson, Annie (John Barneson) Klessig and their son, Jack, Sarah (John) Witzmann and their children, Claire and Hugh and Katie Klessig and children Nora and Margaret, Belle -sister Carol (Barry) Tombs, as well as several nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband Robert Klessig, her parents and her nine siblings, Tom, Mary, Joseph, Lucille, Katherine, Bernard, Nicholas, Herbert and Frances.

Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Friday, January 21, 2022 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Biwabik, with Father Kristoffer McKusky officiating. Visits one hour before mass at the church. Interment will take place at a later date at Lakeside Cemetery in Biwabik. Instead of flowers, memorials are preferred.

Arrangements from Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Gilbert. Family favorite masks.

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