St. Peter Lutheran Church
4713 150 Ave SE
Leonard, ND 58052


Worship Services:
10:30 am Sundays

Sunday School: 
10 am Sundays

We are located just a short 35 minute drive from Fargo, ND and 15 minutes from Casselton. We look forward to your visit. View Map


St. John Lutheran Church
14499 42nd St SE
Embden, ND 58079

Worship Services: 
9 am Sundays

Sunday School:  
10 am Sundays

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Josephine Jenny (Becvar) Zaeske

With the same strength of character and sense of purpose with which she lived her life, Josephine Jenny (Becvar) Zaeske passed away on March 9, 2014, at Bethany Retirement Living from complications of COPD. Born to Mary (Vejsicky) and Vaclav Frank Becvar in Brocket, N.D. on January 12, 1923, Josephine had recently celebrated her 91st birthday and her 70th wedding anniversary with her husband, Alvin. 

Josephine grew up and attended schools in Brocket along with 8 sisters and 1 brother. Her twin brother, Joseph Frank, passed away shortly after their birth. Her life-long passion for education, music, gardening, and creative baking took root in her early years, gaining her recognition as Outstanding 4-H Member for Ramsey County in 1939 and Salutatorian of her graduating class in 1940. After high school, Josephine continued her education at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, ultimately securing her under-graduate degree and completing extensive post-graduate coursework in Education. 

Josephine began her 35 year teaching career in various rural schools in ND, including Durbin and Watson Township. On March 4, 1944, Josephine married Alvin H. Zaeske and they began their life together on the family farm near Leonard, N.D. Josephine continued to work as an educator, spending 5 years in Casselton, N.D., and retiring during her tenure at Thomas Edison Elementary School in Moorhead in 1986. 

Josephine was an active member of the Cass County Historical Society, serving on the board for 6 years as secretary-treasurer and president. She was also a charter member of the Bonanza Belles and held all offices as well as serving in the role of teacher and volunteer at the Dobrinz School for 34 years. Josephine founded the Pioneer School Foundation, with assistance from Bremer Bank, to ensure funding is available to maintain the Dobrinz School at Bonanzaville. 

Josephine utilized her musical talents as a volunteer at Mary Hill Retirement Home in Enderlin, Bethany Homes, Fargo and Casselwood in Casselton. In 1993, Josephine was honored as one of five recipients of the North Dakota Volunteer Action Award for outstanding volunteer service by Governor Schafer. 

As active flower gardener like her father before her, family and friends enjoyed her colorful display of flowers, both at their home and the arrangements she prepared for church services at St. Peters Lutheran for more than 50 years. 

Josephine is survived by her husband, Alvin, Bethany Retirement Living, her son, David (Janet) Zaeske and daughter, Julie (Stephen) Norman, all Fargo. Survivors also include one sister, Alice Becvar Thompson, San Luis Obispo, CA; four grandchildren, Bryce (Kelsey Deshler) Weaver, NY, NY, Jillian (Travis) Russell, West Fargo, ND, Haakon (Lena ) Zaeske, Bozeman, MT, and Katelin Zaeske, Fargo, and one great-grandson, Theo Russell, West Fargo, ND. 

Josephine was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, Anna Hill, Betty Timms, Mayme Kelly, Rose McNeill, Emma Smith, Henry Becvar, Agnes Winters, and Kathleen Huffman. 

Memorials to Watson Cemetery… 

Visitation: Friday, March 14, 2014 from 5 to 7 PM with a prayer service at 7 PM at West Funeral Home, West Fargo. 

Funeral: Saturday at 10:30 AM at St. Peter Lutheran Church, rural Leonard, ND with visitation one hour prior. 

Interment: Watson Cemetery. 

Arrangements with West Funeral Home – Casselton & West Fargo

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