Myrtle Marie “Myrt” Hanzel
August 8, 1928 - July 31, 2020
Myrtle Marie “Myrt” Hanzel, age 91, of New Prague, died peacefully in the presence of her family on Friday, July 31, 2020 at Mala Strana Rehabilitation Center. Myrt was born on August 8, 1928 in Derrynane Township, St. Thomas, MN to Thomas and Theresa (Reger) Retka. She attended Country School District 107 one-room schoolhouse and graduated from New Prague High School. After graduating, she traveled to St. Paul for the first time and lived with her aunt, Rose Retka, who helped her find employment and paid her tuition to Ancker Hospital in St. Paul, where she would learn x-ray technology, the career that would span her lifetime. It was during this time also that Myrt developed her love for color, design, and beauty in home furnishings from employment in the beautiful homes that graced Grand Ave. in St. Paul. She worked for a short time at Ancker Hospital until marrying the love of her life, Robert J. Hanzel, on May 26, 1951 at St. Thomas Catholic Church. She worked at Queen of Peace Hospital in New Prague and when her first two children were babies, Myrt took them to work with her and the nuns babysat. She finished her career at New Prague Medical Clinic.
Myrt was a woman of many talents and great humility. Her Catholic faith was central in her life and radiated into every other aspect of life. She was active at St. Wenceslaus Church, dedicated to pro-life, and a Queen of Peace auxiliary member. She had a keen eye for all things beautiful. She saw God’s intricate and colorful design in nature as a reflection of His great love for all people. She was a meticulous and prayerful gardener. She was a gifted seamstress, who not only made most of her children’s clothes but also designed and sewed her own wedding dress, using her mother’s dishes to design the scallops on the dress. She dipped the lace for her dress in coffee in order to get just the right color hue to the lace. She was also a gifted vocalist, possessing the range of an operatic soprano. She was a soloist at the St. Paul Cathedral in her early years and sang daily at home, sometimes to the children’s dismay; when they tired of her singing and objected, Myrt would simply sing a little louder! She passed on her legacy of music to her children and grandchildren and carried that love of music to her dying days. She was a wonderful baker and cook, and her humility extended even to that area of life, as she was always sure to give full credit to the initiator of the recipe, never taking credit for it herself. She was a charter member of her birthday club and thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with her women friends. Had there been a shopping club, she perhaps would have been a charter member of that as well. Myrt will be sadly missed by the family that was at the center of her life, her many friends, and all the nieces and nephews, each of whom she considered her favorite.
Myrt is survived by her faithful and loving husband, Bob; children, Rick (Judy) Hanzel, Anne Hanzel, Tom Hanzel, Mary Pat Carpentier, Beth (Pete) Giesen, David (Suzannah “Suki”) Hanzel, Gretchen “Gigi” (Jeff) Parks; 18 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; sister, Peggy (Dennis) Rosdahl; brother, Allan (Sandi) Retka; sister-in-law, Jean Retka. She is preceded in death by her parents; her beloved Aunt Rose Retka; son-in-law, Kevin Carpentier; siblings, Luverne Retka, Vera Pauly, Russell Retka, Shirley Hickey.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 10 AM at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church with Father Eugene Theisen officiating. Masks and social distancing are required for those in attendance. Mass will be live-streamed on npcatholic.org. Burial will follow at St. Wenceslaus Cemetery.