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Elizabeth "Beth" Kane, 91

Elizabeth "Beth" Kane died at home after a brief illness, on April 13, 2017. She spent her final days cared for and loved by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Beth was born on April 28, 1925, near Northfield, Minnesota, to Lawrence and Mary (Hendricks) Hunter. She graduated from Northfield High School in 1943 and obtained her nursing degree from St. Josephs College in St. Paul. She eloped on June 7, 1947, after falling deeply in love with the dashing Joe Kane, and together they lived and traveled in many states and in Mexico before Hastings became home.

Beth lived a life of caregiving and service. She volunteered in the Hastings community for nearly 70 years, through the Catholic Church and social services, at the library, and in countless unofficial acts of care and kindness. She was a friend and helper to Hastings community members of all ages, as reflected by her diverse and vibrant friendships. People knew that Beth could be counted on to support her friends and community through life's troubles.

In her career as a nurse, Beth provided comfort and care to countless souls in need. She was dedicated and conscientious. Her uniform was immaculate, she was knowledgeable, and she was tough. She was never afraid to say unpopular things or challenge authority, and often did so to the benefit of her patients, the disenfranchised, and the needy. In her quiet way, Beth was a consistent advocate for social justice and in particular for the well-being of children.

Family held the center of Beths life. She and Joe were married for over 55 years until Joes death, and their tenderness and mutual admiration was palpable. She loved her seven children fiercely and was a tireless advocate on their behalf. She had a seemingly endless capacity to accept people for who they are, without judgment, and those who were closest to her were the lucky beneficiaries of that humble, wise love.

Despite the demands of her career and her family, Beth always made time to read and learn. She had a keen intellect and dry wit. She read constantly - novels, non-fiction, mysteries, poetry, the news - and held it all in her mind until the end.

Beth kept a lovely, peaceful home. She was a talented gardener: first as a prodigious produce-grower to feed her family, and later as a lover of beauty who was moved by spring winds and spring bulbs. She was also a fabulous cook whose apple pies and lemon bars will be missed at family gatherings for years to come. She was a fearless advocate of bacon fat, butter, and salt. Her grandchildren will do their best to carry that tradition forward in her honor.

Beth knew many personal tragedies, and bore her pain with grace. She lost her adored big brother Jim in Holland in the Second World War. As no parent should endure, she buried two sons and a daughter, and she felt their absence always. Through all her trials, she was steadfastly Beth: reliable, pragmatic mother, wife, grandmother, and friend. She held her family together through life's turbulence, and never indulged in self-pity.

Beth was humble and did not care for any "big fuss". In fact, she might be irked by this praiseful obituary, right this moment. She also might be bothered at the mention of the many affectionate nicknames she carried: Liz, Lizzie, Lamb.

Beths character is to be aspired to. She knew who she was. She embraced the vagaries of human nature. She looked for humor always. She found meaning through service. She did not bend to the opinion of others. She sustained big loves in marriage, motherhood, family and friendships, across many decades and across great distance.

Beth was preceded in death by her beloved husband and partner in life's adventure, Joseph F. Kane; daughter, Kathryn Kane, sons, Kevin Kane and Patrick Kane, and brother, Lawrence Hunter.

Beth is survived by her daughters, Maureen (John Knoedler) and Rosemary "Dede" (Bruce Dicker); sons, Joseph "Jobey" and Michael "Mike", four grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and a vast number of extended family and friends old and new.

Funeral Liturgy will be 2:00 pm Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Hastings. Interment will follow at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Cemetery. Visitation will be held for one-half hour prior to the service on Saturday, and a reception will follow the interment at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be sent to Hastings Family Services, an organization through which Beth continued her lifetime of service and volunteerism until her death.

Arrangements are being completed by Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Hastings. 651-437-9419