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Phyllis Grace Kleene, 90, of Brooklyn Park, formerly of Nevis, died Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013 at the Waterford Manor Assisted Living Center in Brooklyn Park.

The back of the line was a bad place to be, on Pot-luck Sunday at Bethany Lutheran Church in Nevis, because even though Phyllis Kleene would have made two batches of rice pudding, you still might not get any. If you asked, she would share the recipe, but she would tell you that to make it right, don't rush it and don't try to substitute ingredients. But she came to cooking late, because as the youngest of three children to Harry and Florence (Shoberg) Olson, born March 4, 1923 in Taylors Falls, Phyllis was always given the chore of dishes.

After graduating from Forest Lake High School in 1940, she attended and graduated from St. Cloud Teachers College in 1944, the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college.

She taught social studies and English in Aitkin and Granite Falls before falling in love and marrying Kermit Kleene, the quiet agriculture teacher, Aug. 14, 1948.

Phyllis and Kermit spent forty years in New Ulm, enjoying golf, travel, and Our Savior's Lutheran Church, before retiring to 3rd Crow Wing in 1991 to be close to their daughter, (Barb) and son-in-law, (Dan) and granddaughters, (Karen, Kristi, and Kim). They never missed a school Grandparents' Day, band and choir concert, or volleyball game. Phyllis and Kermit loved being mem-bers of Bethany and the Cursillo community.

If you were lucky enough to get one of Phyllis' pies at a Bethany bake sale, she would tell you that she never made a pie until after she married - and the trick to a flaky crust is cold shortening and cold water. She be-lieved in chocolate chip cookie care packages and the Minnesota Twins, the Bible and Peterson's "Field Guide to Birds of North America."

After Kermit died in 2006, Phyllis moved off the lake, away from her beloved lady's slippers and loons, and eventually to Minneapolis to be near her family, including her two great-grandchildren, Cora and Henry.

She died Oct. 14, 2013 just hours after Cora read her a story and Henry made her laugh. Even now, with flurries in the air, her voice whispers James Russell Lowell's "The First Snowfall": "The snow had begun in the gloaming/And busily all the night"

She is survived by her daughter, Barb (Pastor Dan) Babine of New Hope; her three granddaughters, Kristi (Michael) Babine-Dinnen of Minneapolis, Kimberly Babine of Minneapolis, Karen Babine of Fargo, N.D.; and her two great grandchildren.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Nevis. Pastor Darrell Morton will be the officiant.

Visitation: one hour prior to the services at the church.

Interment: 4 p.m. Satur-day. Immanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery in Clara City.

Friends may leave on-line condolences at

Arrangements are being handled by the Cease Family Funeral Home of Nevis.