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Judy (Gillett) Dittberner, 69, of Forest Lake MN, died Sunday evening, April 25, 2021.
Judy was born on October 5, 1951, to Ardis (Keith) and Lowell “Ted” Gillett in Austin MN. She was preceded in death by her parents and infant sister Mary Lynn.
After early childhood years in Austin MN and Grand Forks ND, the Gilletts moved to St. Cloud MN where Judy graduated from Technical High School in 1970. She received her undergraduate degree from St. Cloud State University in 1975 (major in social studies education), and her master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul MN) in 1985. Her teaching career started in Cambridge MN (1976-77) and Sauk Rapids MN (1977-78). In 1978 she began her long career teaching social studies at Forest Lake High School. Her classes included her personal favorites of Psychology and Russian Civilization. She was a department chair, student teacher mentor, served on numerous committees and in leadership positions before retiring in 2009 after 31 years with the district.
Judy led a life of service to others. She was a member of Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Forest Lake for over 40 years where she served as Church Historian and chaired the church’s 50th anniversary celebration, was an active member of Comfort Quilters, participated in choir and was the dedicated Sunshine lead who sent out letters of encouragement to others. She participated in service trips to Appalachia and Louisiana. In retirement she was a tutor for homebound students, volunteered in the district’s Adult Learning Center and served on the high school’s scholarship committee. In keeping with her deep respect for history, in recent years she worked with the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle PA to record and preserve the personal stories of World War II veterans.
Judy’s outgoing, caring nature was displayed in every interaction and conversation she had. She was a proud and loving mother to Sarah whose every accomplishment was reason for celebration. Her long-term friendships with high school and college classmates, teaching colleagues, and her fellow book club and birthday club members were a source of great joy and satisfaction. The family’s cabin on North Star Lake provided a beloved setting to host family and friends and pass the time playing Wipeout, reading, swimming, boating, skiing, counting loons, watching eagles, visiting with great neighbors, eating, drinking and talking, talking, talking. Along with trips all around the contiguous United States, Judy was thrilled to experience the culture and history of Israel, Russia, the Caribbean and Alaska.
Judy is survived by her husband of 45 years, Duane; daughter Sarah Dittberner (fiancé Joe Stephens), Minnetonka MN; sister Amy Gillett (Paul Keller), Menomonie WI; sisters- and brothers-in-law, Doris Dittberner Matter and Peter Matter, St. Cloud MN; Paulette Dittberner Spoon and Ed Spoon, Verona WI; nieces Katelyn Matter Tufte (Justin Tufte), Emily Matter, Emma Spoon Steele (Shane Steele) and nephew Evan Spoon, plus many cousins in the extended Keith and Gillett family.
Visitation will be held 5-7 PM, on Friday, May 7, 2021, at Mattson’s Funeral Home, 343 North Shore Drive, Forest Lake. A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 PM, on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Forest Hills United Methodist Church, 1790 11th St SE, Forest Lake. Covid 19 guidelines will be observed at both events. Inurnment will take place in St. Cloud MN at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Forest Hills United Methodist Church or the Forest Lake High School Scholarship Fund.