Patricia Mary “Patsy” Lofback was born on May 26, 1940, to Leonard and Helmi (Nikkari) Lofback in Minneapolis, MN, the youngest of three girls. She was baptized in June of 1940 and confirmed in May of 1954. She attended West High School in Minneapolis, graduating with the class of 1958. Following high school, she attended the University of Minnesota, and Valparaiso University where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in 1962. She furthered her education at Moorhead State University obtaining her Master of Liberal Arts degree in 1991. Pat was an English and German teacher in Perham and St. Louis Park, MN, and a travel agent in New York Mills.

On August 24, 1963, Pat was united in marriage with the love of her life Edward “Ed” Buerkle at Peace Lutheran Church in Robbinsdale, MN. Their marriage was blessed with five daughters: Gwen, Karla, Sara, Julie, and Betsy. Together they made their home in New York Mills. Pat worked at Perham High School until 1966, when she became a full-time Mom and later, beloved Grandmama. Pat was a lifelong learner, inspiring her children and grandchildren to live with curiosity and open hearts & minds.

Pat loved being involved in her community over the years. She spent much of her time volunteering and organizing school and church events. She was a founding member of New Horizons (GFWC) of New York Mills, long-time Sunday School teacher and member of LWML at Trinity Lutheran Church, a leader of Campfire Girls, a facilitator of Junior Great Books & more. She was a Board Member and volunteer at the New York Mills Public Library, Board Member at Farmers & Merchants State Bank in New York Mills, and avid supporter of music and the arts, especially at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.

Pat enjoyed reading, traveling, playing golf, gardening, and being at the lake & in the sunshine. Pat adored her family. She treasured Lofback and Buerkle Women Weekend traditions. She loved to cheer on the MN Vikings, Twins, and Golden Gophers. She & Ed invested countless hours in the bleachers as proud supporters of the NYM Eagles. She enjoyed connecting & engaging with her three local book clubs. She was proud of her Finnish heritage through her Nikkari & Lofback families, and exemplified “Sisu” as she faced life’s challenges. She passed down her love, kindness, and welcoming spirit to all. She led by example, teaching those around her how to make everyone feel seen and accepted.

Preceding Pat in death are her parents; sister, Beverly Holmstrom and former brother-in-law, Jack Holmstrom; parents-in-law, Angie and E.H. (Burk) Buerkle; sister- and brother-in-law, Mary and Jack Driessen; and nephews, Troy Niebergall, Bruce Holmstrom, and Timothy Holmstrom.

Pat is survived by her loving husband, Ed Buerkle; daughters: Gwen (Chuck) Denninger of Maple Grove; Karla (Joe Himmelberg) Buerkle of Plymouth; Sara (Craig) Vosper of Loretto; Julie (Matt) Radniecki of New York Mills; and Betsy (Nick) Roder of New York Mills; grandchildren:Cole Vosper, Burke Himmelberg, Ryan Denninger, Savannah Vosper, Zoe Himmelberg, Ashley Denninger, Kiera Radniecki, Jada Himmelberg, Maya Radniecki, Quinn Himmelberg, Violet Radniecki, Finn Roder, Isabella Vosper, Bergen Roder, Trygg Roder, Noah Radniecki, and Kaia Roder; sister: Margie (Don) Niebergall of Zimmerman; many other relatives and a host of friends.

May Pat’s legacy inspire us all to approach life with a fierce sense of love, joy, humor, kindness, a strong faith, and an adventurous spirit. May we live with grace and expect the best of everyone we meet, lifting up those around us, always rooting for the underdog, and quick to share smiles and laughter. As her dad used to say, may we always “Keep Looking Up.”

Pat’s spirit made those around her feel loved, nurtured, and valued. We’d love to hear how she touched you. Please share a remembrance or story on Pat’s Tribute Wall online, or in the Buerkle women spirit, bring a picture or a written memory to her Visitation. As she valued community so highly, and beautified through a green thumb, we invite you to consider planting a living memorial to enjoy, or supporting her NYM favorites, our local library, Cultural Center, or Trinity Lutheran Church.

New York Mills Public Library:

New York Mills Regional Cultural Center:

Trinity Lutheran Church: