Colleen M. Klessig (“Coke”), Nee Riley, of rural Biwabik, died Thursday January 13, 2022 at the age of 91. She was born October 16, 1930 in Biwabik, Minnesota, to Nicholas and Mary Riley, their tenth child.
Colleen was a graduate of Biwabik High School and then went on to receive her undergraduate degree in Home Economics at the University of Minnesota. After graduation she worked at the University of Minnesota medical school doing research. She later received her degree in education from University of Minnesota Duluth and started teaching Home Economics in Aurora, MN where she met and married Robert Klessig, the love of her life. Later they moved to Hibbing and she worked for the Aurora, Cook and Hibbing hospitals. Together they raised four daughters. Following their retirement, they moved to their lake home on Cedar Island Lake south of Biwabik.
Colleen was a member of Our Lady of Hope (St. John’s Catholic Church). She was an amazing woman with a wonderful sense of humor, an excellent cook, an avid quilter, and a devoted woman of faith. She was a wonderful mother to her four girls and a beloved grandmother to her seven grandkids. Coke was the life of the party, and will be dearly missed.
Survivors include daughters Gretchen Pietruszewski and children, Martha and Wilson, Annie (John Barneson) Klessig and their son, Jack, Sarah (John) Witzmann and their children, Claire and Hugh and Katie Klessig and children Nora and Margaret, Sister-in-Law Carol (Barry) Tombs, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by husband Robert Klessig, her parents and nine siblings, Tom, Mary, Joseph, Lucille, Katherine, Bernard, Nicholas, Herbert and Frances.
Funeral Mass 11a.m. Friday, January 21, 2022 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Biwabik, with Father Kristoffer McKusky as celebrant. Visitation one hour prior to the Mass at the church. Burial will take place at a later date in the Lakeside Cemetery in Biwabik. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred. Arrangements by Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Gilbert. Masks appreciated by the family.