Carroll Funeral Home Obituaries
Gail Zitka Gail Zitka

Gail L. Zitka

Visitation:Tuesday, July 10, 2018 ; 10:00 A.M.
at: At the Church
Service:Tuesday, July 10, 2018 ; 11:00 A.M.
at: United Methodist Church Deer River, MN
Cemetery: ;
Gail Lavonne Hatwan Zitka died July 3rd, 2018 at Oak Hill Assisted Living in Grand Rapids, MN. She was 82. Gail was born September 28th, 1935 to John and Hattie Hatwan in Tabor, SD. She graduated from Tabor High School, and attended Yankton College. Gail and her high school sweetheart Donald Zitka were united in marriage on August 28th 1955. They would be partners in life for 61 years. Don and Gail moved to Deer River, MN in 1969. Gail worked several jobs in early childhood education, earning her bachelorís degree in Early Childhood Development from Bemidji State University. She taught piano lessons to many area children in her home. She taught Head Start classes in the Deer River area for several years and went on to become director of Head Start with Kootasca Action Council, retiring in 2000. Gail devoted her work life to empowering parents, and helping young children in both their home and educational lives. She believed in the dignity of every human being, and her work reflected that. Even in the last years of her life, she was often recognized by health care workers who were her former Head Start students or parents, showing the wide circle of Gailís impact and love. Gail was a charter member of the Avenue of Pines Lions Club and was member of United Methodist Church, where she served as organist for 45 years. In retirement, Gail volunteered for the Deer River Area Food Shelf and the Deer River Hospital. She also worked for Bemidji State Universityís Early Childhood Development program, observing and certifying Early Childhood teaching candidates. Gail and Don loved to travel and enjoyed bringing grandchildren to see the world with them. Gail was preceded in death by her parents, husband Donald, brother Vernon Hatwan, brother Eldon Hatwan, and great grandson Ayden DeMarre. Gail is survived by son William (Kris Peterson) of Farmington, MN; daughter Jill Rinehart (Richard); son Thomas (Rickie) of Deer River, MN; and daughter Anne Nalan (John) of Grand Rapids, MN; ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Many thanks to the wonderful staff of Oak Hill Assisted Living and Essentia Health Itasca Hospice for their loving care and support of our mother. Services to be held at Deer River United Methodist Church on July 10th, 2018 at 11:00 with visitation one hour prior.

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