Ethyl Mae Von Wald Hagen

Feb. 2, 1920 - Sept. 12, 2018—One small dash between two dates but so much living: 98 years, 10 decades, 36,017 days.... many world changes but above all Ethyl Hagen was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her family always came first throughout this nearly century of life.
Ethyl’s life began on Groundhog’s Day, 1920—February 2, born at home, in Mill Creek on the bluffs not far from Alma, Wis. Her mom, Veronica Von Wald, hoped she would arrive on Feb. 3, her birthday; but her father, Richard Evon Von Wald, was suffering with an earache the prior evening and Veronica was up and down with the hot water bottle.
Growing up on that 500-acre farm formed the woman of substance she was. She spoke fondly and often of that Depression Era of hard work filled with love and fun around 10 brothers and sisters and extended family. She went off to first grade at 4, no kindergarten then. Ready to enter high school at 12, her mom found her a mother’s help position in town, no buses then, so that she could get a high school education. Because Ethyl did not have the opportunity to attend college, she made darn sure all her children had that access. “No one can ever take your education away from you!”
Ethyl Von Wald married Edwin Hagen from nearby Modena, Wis. in June 1939. To this 45-year union, five children were born: Connie Lou, Ruslyn Edwin, Yvonne Marie, Ronald Martin and Randi Marie. Additionally, Ethyl enjoyed the love of 13 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Horse showing and Mississippi boating were the life blood of family and friend fun throughout the years.
Ed and Ethyl ran Hagen’s Café for several decades. Ed was famous for his bullshipping and Ethyl was and still is famous for her divine doughnuts. Multitudes of Mondovians still comment on fond memories of love dispensed with her doughnuts and sugared doughnut balls. Hagen’s Café was not just an eatery but the heart and soul of small town community.
Ethyl had a second career as an insurance secretary at Hanson Insurance after selling Hagen’s Café in the early 1970s. Interacting with people was joyful—small town friendliness.
Ethyl was a lifelong member of Central Lutheran Church and the Hannah Circle. She was a person of quiet, strong and unwavering faith. She saw God’s hand in all, particularly in nature. God helps you find your soul in the garden, she felt. Her faith saw her thru all life challenges and changes.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Edwin, of 45 years; later, second husband, Howard Kins; son-in-law, John Cook; and son, Ruslyn.
Ethyl, called little “Otie” by her mom and younger siblings unable to pronounce “Ethyl,” travelled the world eventually—California (52 times), multiple other U.S. states, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Europe. While in Australia for one year, she realized a lifetime dream of learning to play Bridge. Such a great card player of many games, she formed a 500 Club in the 1950s and it still plays on long after her departure from Mondovi. And oh how she loved her Blackjack; she was a shrewd and lucky player!
She ultimately settled this last decade of life in North Central Florida, close by daughters Randi and Yvonne. She continued with her passions of card playing, gardening, bike riding and enjoying her Clan. A hard worker her entire life, she remarked at age 96 that she wanted to get a job. She was bored with just recreating in assisted living.
Ethyl Mae Von Wald Hagen passed peacefully with God’s Grace near The Villages, Florida, in the Cypress Care Center. She abundantly filled that small dash between 1920 and 2018!
Simply a Beautiful Life indeed full of love and fun!
The family requests memorial donations be made to the Mondovi Garden Club or to Central Lutheran Church.
A memorial celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Central Lutheran Church, in Mondovi, with Pastor Rolf Morck officiating. Burial will follow in Riverside Lutheran Cemetery. Visitation will be for one hour prior to the service.
Kjentvet-Smith Funeral Home, Mondovi, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at


GMD Media

See Contact Button at top left for each office Phone Number,
200 Industrial Court
PO Box 109, Wabasha, MN 55981

Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on our latest news!

Manage my subscriptions

Subscribe to GMDMedia Newsletter feed
Customize This