Lillian J. “Bella” Hertaus, 83

Lillian J. “Bella” Hertaus, age 83, of New Prague, died unexpectedly, Friday, June 30, 2023, at her daughter’s home on the Whitefish chain in Pequot Lakes, MN. Bella was born on May 29, 1940 to John C. and Josephine (Douda) Mracek. She grew up in rural Northfield and was a 1958 graduate of Northfield High School. At 15, Bella met an “older gentleman” age 18, at a dance. She invited him to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance at her school. That was the start of a romance that would continue through his service in the US Navy and thereafter. Fritz had captured her heart and the two were married 3 years later on April 18, 1959 at Immaculate Conception Church in Lonsdale. 

Bella started her working career as a dental assistant for Dr. Vince Paul in Faribault, MN. Vince and Bella continued a life long friendship. Bella and Fritz were partners in every aspect of life, working side-by-side on the farm, raising their daughters, and owning and operating their residential home business for over 35 years.

Bella’s interests were varied. She had a zest for life and an infectious spirit that drew others to her. She was a member of a homemakers extension club for over 60 years. Her faith was a cornerstone and led her to be a very active member of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church throughout her life. She was a past president of St. Wenceslaus CCW, served along with Fritz on the Top 6 for the annual church festival, and was instrumental and a generous volunteer in remodeling projects at both the convent and the parish house. In her more recent years, Bella enjoyed gathering with both a quilters and knitters club. Bella’s gregarious personality always saw her game for anything. Cards, 313, Sequence, word finds and putting puzzles together were favorites.

She and Fritz shared a love of polka dancing and they were enthusiastic members of P.O.L.K. of A. Club and were the Club Royalty in 1996. Bella served as a past president and was a current office holder as well. After Fritz died, she continued her service to the group and was intimately involved with the planning of this year’s polka fest weekend, which will be held in August in Glencoe.

Life was always more fun when Bella was in the room. Her smile, warmth and genuineness made one immediately feel welcome and valued. She had a way of bringing people together and making them feel included. Her presence was a gift and the light that was Bella will be sorely missed.

Bella loved deeply and loved many. None more than her family and friends. She especially loved and was so proud of her grandchildren. She always said that being their Nana was her greatest blessing.

Bella is survived by her daughters, Geri (Greg) Pumper of Pequot Lakes & Nancy (Jon) Freeman of Forest Lake; grandchildren, Maggie (Alex) Brady, Aaron Pumper, & Eli Freeman; sisters-in-law, Diane Hertaus-Pexa of New Prague & Jan Hertaus of Prior Lake. She is preceded in death by her husband, Fritz on August 1, 2019; parents; brothers, Jack (Adeline) and Ken (Loretta) Mracek; sister, Marion (Myles) Smisek; in-laws, Lorraine (Tom) Kes, Dorothy (Clarence) Skluzacek, Alvin, Roman and Ray (Joyce) Hertaus.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, July 7, 2023 at 9:30 AM at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church with Father Eugene Theisen officiating. Mass will be live-streamed on Visitation will take place at Bruzek Funeral Home on Thursday from 4-7:30 PM and Friday morning from 7:30 – 9AM. Lunch will follow Mass at the Park Ballroom and burial will take place at Fort Snelling National Cemetery Friday afternoon at 1 PM.



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