When a loved one passes on, each individual has their own way of grieving their personal loss. I believe we keep their memory alive by recalling the special things we shared. In my mind, they are gone, but not forgotten.
Beth Windhorst was one of those special ladies who knew early on that her blessing and special gift in life was all about serving others.
She completed her education with a Master's degree in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education, and moved to Zumbrota to begin what was to be a 30 year career in teaching.
Living in Zumbrota, she met her future husband Mark, and started their family. Lauren and Carleigh completed their family of origin, but Beth's family grew beyond the boundaries of blood relatives. Her extended family, friends, neighbors, students and customers were all part of that family. Some of the comments we received when writing this article are very touching, and Beth’s family wishes to share them here.
The very last time I saw Beth was probably two weeks before she passed. We were both at our driveways getting our mail, and we were yelling across the road at each other about my daughter’s wedding. We finally walked closer so we could hear each other. She had altered my daughter's wedding dress, and every time we went to her shop she made us laugh. She was so incredibly helpful to make sure her dress turned out beautiful. When her daughter Lauren got married out in their pasture, they didn't know it, but we were in our yard watching the wedding with our binoculars! Beth would joke with us that she was going to find a way to watch our daughter's wedding too, she got married in our woods that connected to their land. – Maureen Scheffler
I was privileged to work with Beth and witness her love and concern for her students. She was a friend with an ability to make one feel very special; the same ability she showed her students and anyone, really, that was part of her life. I was very honored to be present for the “Walk of Honor” for Beth when she donated organs to three people, giving them a second chance at life. She will be fondly remembered for sure! – Marcia Goplen
When I worked with Beth at Kenyon-Wanamingo Schools I was a new, young teacher lacking the wisdom and energy (from late nights writing lesson plans and IEPs) that she had as a veteran teacher. Beth asked me to join her for lunch, where of course she would pack me a lunch that consisted of her homemade treasures. We’d eat together in her office and she’d counsel me through my rough patches. She was a wonderful cook and a fabulous friend. I’ll always remember her wise words, her catchy laugh, and her bright smile. – Riley Krusmark
There are a lot of things I could say about Beth, but just to mention a few. She always made me laugh when I needed to. She never let things get too serious. Even during the first weeks after she passed away, I would lie in bed and think of her sassy quick sense of humor and start laughing quietly by myself. She lived life the way I have been trying to do for some time. Memories of us girls sitting by the fire with our glass of wine and sharing things we could only share with each other. She was always ready to get together for our "personal therapy" sessions. Love her forever. – JoAnn Erie
After devoting herself to eduacation, she turned her creativity to another of her passions, her shop, Beth's in Stitches on Main Street in Wanamingo. Her primary focus was assisting couples in celebrating their most cherished day—their wedding. She did alterations for the brides and bridesmaids, helping to make the day perfect. There were even a few times she made veils to match the dresses! Of course, Prom comes into the picture, as well as other special occasions. Beth always did her best to make any day special with her talents, jokes and her quick and contagious smile.
Beth made a real impact in a lot of people's lives. Lauren told me that many of the children Beth taught, now grown up, attended her funeral. They all had stories as to how she made them feel special, as if they could accomplish anything. For someone to take the time to help a child feel special is truly a gift.
They say when God closes a window, He opens a door. Beth, in her love of others and her generous spirit, did just that. Being an organ donor, she gifted three others a second chance at life.
You know those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them. Be a Beth, and spread the joyfulness and love with which she lived her life to the people in yours. As you look up into the night sky and see a twinkling star, think of Beth and others like her who were here to show us all how to be a kind and loving soul, and do your best to do the same.