Aileen Claire Leat was born to C.L. “Ted” Leat and Freda Leat on July 11th, 1927, the second of eight children.
Aileen passed away on Monday, February 8th, 2016 in Apple Valley, MN, with her children and grandchildren surrounding her in her last days.
On April 12th, 1950, Aileen married Marvin Hopkins. After a brief stay in Winner, they moved to the Hopkins family homestead southwest of Winner. There she and Marvin raised seven children, cattle, hogs, chickens, a barn full of cats, the occasional dog, and one incredibly ill-tempered goose.
The family had a big garden every year, filling a small valley. Aileen grew rows of vegetables and flowers, and loved zinnias, cosmos, and 4 o’clocks. The house always had morning glories on the fence, and marigolds and petunias in the front. Aileen regularly canned tomatoes, green beans, peaches, pears, and always had plenty of food on hand. She would say, “no one goes hungry” on occasion, and no one did.
She ran her own ceramics business in the 70’s, firing pieces in her own kiln. Many of her children joined in and made all sorts of beautiful pieces, as well as a few ugly ones.
Aileen practiced lots of fiber arts, including sewing, quilting, crocheting, tatting lace, embroidery, cross-stitch, Hardanger, and knitting. There were always colorful mittens for winter and beautiful hand-crafts around the house. Her children received many quilts over the years, often made with fabrics from old dresses, shirts, curtains, and other items that would evoke memories. These quilts are treasured by all who received them.
In later years, she and Marvin worked as meat cutters for Dick and Pauline English before finally retiring.
Aileen’s children and grandchildren will remember her sweet smile, her stubborn German streak, her brook-no-nonsense approach to raising children, and the disapproving frown she would make. The frown curtailed a lot of shenanigans, and later in life made her adult children burst into laughter. She relished having her children and grandchildren visit, and enjoyed seeing them all smiling and laughing, and sometimes being incredibly loud and physical. Her boys were the source of a few broken couches, much to her annoyance.