Carol and Peter Kack
Carol Marie Haukos Kack, a wonderful and greatly loved wife, mother, grandmother and friend to many, passed away peacefully on July 27, 2020, at the age of 94 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Peter Edward Kack, an energetic, fun-loving and devoted husband, father and entrepreneur, then passed away peacefully in Phoenix on July 2, 2021, at the age of 97, less than a year after Carol, and after 75 loving and happy years together.
Carol was born in 1925 to Clarence and Tona Haukos, the youngest of six children, and grew up on their farm north of Madison, Minnesota. Peter was born in 1924 to Peter and Margaret Kack, the eighth of 12 children, and grew up on their farm south of Madison. During the 1920s many farmers were beginning to buy machinery but still widely used horses. It was common then not to have running water or electricity. Pete’s family had electricity when he was five, and Carol’s dad built a nice new home with water and electricity when she was eight. During the Great Depression and severe drought of the early 1930s, both Pete’s and Carol’s parents often gave food to other families who were struggling to keep their farms.
Their fathers were good-natured but hard workers, and all of the kids had jobs to do. By the age of 10, Pete was doing morning chores in the barns, and Carol milked cows after school. Both of their mothers worked all day and were very kind and gracious ladies who found ways to provide occasional delights for their families and gatherings of relatives. Both mothers passed earlier, in their 50s, and were greatly missed by their families and friends for many years.
Carol rode a work horse to a one-room country grade school, where she was the only fourth- to eighth-grader while in school. Peter’s older brother Melvin drove Peter and his sisters to St. Michael’s school by horse and buggy or sleigh. Peter took over when he was old enough, quartered the horses, and walked the few blocks to school.
At Madison High School, Peter first saw Carol, with her smile and twinkling eyes. He wasted no time introducing himself, and they dated all through high school. He was the drummer in his older brother Melvin’s band, playing weeknights, often at area towns, but he never missed one day of high school – or a date with Carol! Peter graduated in 1941 and took a short trip with his older brother Sylvie to San Diego. Carol graduated in 1943 and went to Seattle with her lifelong best friends Ethyl Dove and Dorothy Borstad, where they sorted mail for soldiers in the Pacific war. After a few months, missing their families and friends, they returned to Madison.
Peter and Carol married on December 30, 1944. During World War II, youngest brothers were required to stay and work on the farms, so Peter and Carol lived with his parents during the war. After the war he was curious to see other places, so with Carol and 2-year-old Charlotte, he moved to Dickinson, North Dakota, and worked for his older brother Wally. Then on to San Diego for a year, where he worked in a military plane factory and spent many hours taking neighborhood kids to the beaches, plus building and flying kites with them on the cliffs. In 1951, with Charlotte and their new little boy Terry, they returned to Madison to run the farm for his father, Peter Kack “Senior,” who had retired in town.
The family grew with Tim in 1953, Tom in 1954, and Susie in 1956. While Peter was very busy in the fields or with livestock, Carol had her hands full with the farm, three highly energetic sons, a part-time bookkeeping job for an old family friend, and still sewed lovely dresses for her daughters. They had many friends and loved golf, playing cards and bowling, along with many delightful gatherings with their relatives.
Both Peter and Carol enjoyed bowling, and in 1960 they bought the bowling alley in Luverne, Minnesota, so the family moved to town! The bowling alley thrived because Peter was there every day, and Carol recruited teams, bowling with them several days every week. They had many new friends who also had kids, and the years in Luverne were great fun for the whole family.
In 1970, with Terry, Tim, Tom, Susie and little son Jason, they moved to Prescott, Arizona, where they owned Plaza Bowl, and later hired a manager for Starlite Lanes in Flagstaff, which were both very busy and profitable. Every summer they drove around the West, spent weeks with daughter Charlotte and her family in Sandpoint, Idaho, then on to Minnesota for very happy reunions with brothers, sisters and old friends.
For a warmer climate, they moved to Phoenix in 1978 and bought apartment buildings. Pete could not slow down and did all the maintenance on the apartments. Carol, who had a gift for creating lovely homes, began oil painting beautiful landscapes and elegant designs on walls.
In 1988 they moved to Sun Lakes, a retirement community, for it is community golfing as well as dancing, bridge groups and parties with any neighborhood friends Most family holidays were at “Mom and Dad’s” in Sun Lakes. Everyone enjoyed fishing the lake behind their house, long walks around the many lakes, bike riding and lots of games, plus cooking and cleaning together, while “Grandma and Grandpa” relaxed and entertained everyone with humor and laughter. Pete and Carol took many pleasurable trips, first around Europe, then a Baltic cruise, in addition to many fun vacations with their Luverne friends Mark and Lorraine Jacobsen to Puerta Vallarta in winters and Lake Tahoe in summers.
After 30 years Carol had lost mobility from an earlier stroke. In 2018 they moved to The Strafford, a lovely assisted living community, where Peter took comfortable care of Carol. On July 4, 2020, Carol had a fateful stroke and was moved to The Hospice of the Valley, which took excellent care of her. For three weeks because of the virus, the family could be only in and out, but Peter never left her side as she declined gracefully and died in her sleep on July 27, 2020.
Susan Vesecky, their daughter who had made all their arrangements and helped them for years, moved Peter right to her townhome in Phoenix, and within two months, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The family took turns visiting their lovable and fun dad and were with him his last few days until, with very little discomfort, he passed in his sleep on July 2, 2021, less than a year after Carol, his beloved wife of 75 years. Their sons and daughters, grandchildren, relatives and numerous lifetime friends profoundly miss them for their goodness, lovability and delightful company.
Peter and Carol were preceded in death by their multi-talented and always cheerful oldest son, Terry Kack, of cancer; Carol’s parents Clarence and Tona Willand Haukos; brothers Orton and Willard Haukos, and sisters Carmen Tinderholt, Thelma Slinde and Bernice Lund. Also preceding were Peter’s parents, Peter Kack Sr. and Margaret Croatt Kack; brothers Walter, Sylvester, Melvin and Roy; sisters Mable Miller, Estelle Raveling, Isabelle Roth, Rosella Telford and Arlene Aarskaug; and also their little great-grandsons Henry Keeton and Ethan Kack.
They are survived by Peter’s sisters, Margaret Hedstrom and Lucille Strom; and children and grandchildren: daughter Charlotte Welch, her children Sean (Jean) Welch and Katie (Kyle) Brannan; deceased son Terry’s daughter Deja (Lance) Correira; son Timothy (Stephanie) Kack, their son Alex Kack and Tim’s daughter Jennifer Kack; son Thomas (Debbie) Kack, their children Kristi Kack and Derek (McKenna) Kack; daughter Susan (Brian) Vesecky, her daughters Anna (David) Coletti, Carly (Kyle) Keeton, Frances (Connor) Ohlmert and Jillian Vesecky; and youngest son Jason (Kate) Kack; plus 12 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Because of the virus, Carol’s funeral had been put on hold. Now their funeral will be as one in Madison on Saturday, June 4, 2022, at 11 a.m. in St. Michael’s church, where they were married 78 years ago. After the funeral, burial will be near Carol’s parents, and not far from Peter’s parents, at a memorial which was created in their honor. Following will be a luncheon at the church, with celebration of their very special and happy lives, plus precious memories from guests to share.
For information on the funeral and reservations for the luncheon, please call their daughter Susan Vesecky at 602-527-0607. Any memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the Valley, www.hov.org because of their outstanding kindness to Carol and Peter.