Herman A. Solyntjes

Herman A. Solyntjes, age 94 of Waterville, died on Thursday, March 31, 2016 at Traditions in Waterville.

Born on January 19, 1922 in Faribault, MN, to Peter and Bertha (Bongers) Solyntjes, Herman was the second of four children. He was bilingual (Dutch/English) in his youth and attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Faribault until 1929 when the family moved to Waterville. His parents owned and operated Pete’s Grocery Store on Third Street. Herman attended Waterville Public School and Faribault Technical (electrical) School. In October 1942 he married Mary Lou Luker -- from a family of three generations in Waterville. 

In December 1942 he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, MN as part of the World War II build-up. There, he earned the designation of “Marksman Rifle”. He was destined for eventual front-line service before being reassigned to the Army Air Corps (now U.S. Air Force).

Herman was stationed in Europe from October 1943 (eight months before D-Day) until August 1945 (three months after Germany’s surrender). He served in England, France, and Belgium leading a motor pool with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He earned the European AME Service Medal and American Theater Service Medal during his wartime service.

He returned to Waterville and became the plant manager of Minneapolis Knitting Works, a garment factory, and was temporarily associated with his sister and brother-in-law, Dorothy and Leon Mager, in the Gamble Store. He worked for Herter’s and General Foods in Waseca, retiring from Philip Morris (General Foods) in 1987.

Along with his father, he was a founding member of Waterville’s Knights of Columbus chapter, a Grand Knight, and a District Deputy. He was a lector, Minister of Communion, and usher at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, where he had served as lead altar boy in his youth. As a parent, he served on the Cub Scout and Boy Scout committees. He loved providing Christmas joy for many years to the city’s children as Waterville’s quintessential “Santa.” In later years he served on the board of directors of Waterville Area Senior Citizens where he was president for many terms.

He was a past Commander of the local American Legion, a member of the VFW, and is remembered by many as a well-cut figure in Waterville’s Memorial Day Color Guard for over 50 years.

“Hermie” was known for his amiability, leadership, energy, and sharp mind. He was profoundly dedicated to his late wife, Mary Lou, of 58 years, his six children, his ten grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren. He was a tireless reader for his grandchildren in their early development. He enjoyed camping, woodworking, gardening, and many varieties of mechanical and electrical projects. He often entertained the residents and staff of Traditions of Waterville with spirited harmonica jams, up until his recent setback. 

Herman is survived by five children, Terrie (James) King of Waterville, Diane Berndt of Waterville, Eileen (Bruce) Atherton of Elko New Market, Ruth Solyntjes and her partner David Verschoor of Waterville, and Ron Solyntjes of Waterville and his partner, Catherine Courtney of St. Louis Park; 10 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; and one sister, Dorothy Mager of Waterville.  He was preceded in death by both of his parents; his step-mother, Elsie Solyntjes; his wife Mary Lou Solyntjes; one son, Dewain Solyntjes; and two brothers, Leo and Donald Solyntjes.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00AM on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Waterville, with Rev. Michael Ince officiating.  Visitation will be held for one hour before the service at the church. 


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