September 19, 1955 - May 2, 2023
Deanna Gaye Schultz passed away to her heavenly home on May 2, 2023 in Pine City at the age of 67 years.
Deanna was born in Pine City on Sept. 19, 1955 and from the very beginning, she was a free spirit and happy child who went on to lead an adventurous, compassionate, and somewhat non-traditional life.
She skipped kindergarten, and attended first grade in a tiny one-room country school house that had its own well, minimal electricity, a wood burning stove, and an outhouse.
For the rest of her school years, she attended public schools in Pine City and graduated high school in 1973. That very summer, she hitch-hiked from Pine City to San Diego, Calif. and back, much to her parents’ chagrin, and when she safely returned attended Mankato State College for three months focused on German Language and Philosophy classes.
Money she earned over that time was used to buy a passport and airline ticket for a brief stay in Montreal and then on to Frankfurt, Germany in April 1974. She worked in a Gasthaus kitchen until November and then spent the month of December visiting her German high school pen pals and Schultz family relatives in Berlin.
After a brief return to Minnesota, she headed out to California again, working at a shoe repair and leather shop for two years. Returning to Minnesota in 1976, she worked one summer for the Minnesota DNR as a “smoke chaser,” bought a German motorcycle, and ultimately held down two jobs for five years, working at a nursing home and a Whole Grain Bakery Cooperative.
Wishing to build a more stable career, Deanna enrolled at Minneapolis Community College and graduated in 1980 with a degree in Registered Nursing. For the next 22 years, she combined her love for travel with her new profession and worked in many locations including the University of Minnesota Mayo Hospital; the Traveling Nurse Corporation in Miami, Fla. and Austin, Texas; the Burnett County Hospital in Grantsburg, Wis.; and HCMC, Planned Parenthood and Health Partners in Minneapolis.
She considered her most important and blessed achievement to be the 1986 birth of her one and only beloved son, Alexander, with her partner, the late Donald Kotchen, Jr. Their shared love of adventure and speed resulted in many trips and experiences involving activities such as skiing, dirt biking, skateboarding, motorcycling, and roller blading. During this time, Deanna also attended the Minnesota Institute of Acupuncture and Herbal Studies for one year to improve her knowledge of alternative medicine. In more recent years, Deanna enjoyed hiking, biking, and swimming in and around Devil’s Lake and the Snake River in Pine City with her beloved dogs, Madchen and Duke.
She was a voracious reader, with a home library of over a thousand books, an avid gardener, and movie lover who eventually became an official “cat lady,” owning four felines at the time of her passing. Those who knew Deanna well would describe her as an energetic, talkative woman with a good, if somewhat eccentric, sense of humor. She also had an ear for listening to others and letting them know how important they were, and was consistently willing to help those in need. Her compassion knew no bounds.
Deanna’s deep spiritual faith was a blessing to her, especially during difficult and challenging times. She valued self-reliance through most of her life and maintained her fierce independence through all of it. She loved and was loved by many.
She is survived by her son, Alexander Kotchen; sister, Linda (Bruce) Henning; nephew, Nicholas (Maria Scremin) Henning and their children, Joaquin, Aimara and Luna; nephew, Taylor (Katie) Henning; and niece, Katharine Henning.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Raymond and Betty Schultz, and by her sister Carol Schultz and brother-in-law Richard Jenkins
The memorial celebration of Deanna’s life will be held at Zion Lutheran Church in Pine City on Friday, May 26 at 11 a.m. and a lunch will follow. A one-hour visitation period will precede the service, beginning at 10 a.m. Designated memorials are the Pine City Library at ecrlib.org and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Family to Family Program at namimn.org.
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