Millie (Vrzak) Galligan, 93

Millie (Vrzak) Galligan, age 93 of New Hampton, died Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the Patty Elwood Center in Cresco. 

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 23, 2019, at Holy Family Parish in New Hampton with Rev. Brian Dellaert celebrating the Mass. Interment was at St. Mary’s Cemetery, New Hampton. 

Friends greeted the family beginning at 9 a.m. Monday before the Mass at the church. Hugeback Johnson Funeral Home and Crematory in New Hampton was entrusted with services.  Online condolences for Millie’s family may be left at

Armella “Millie” (Vrzak) Galligan was born Feb. 24, 1926, in Defiance, Iowa, the daughter of George and Anna Marie (Zangerle) Wiegand. 

Millie grew up on a farm near Alpha and was a 1944 graduate of Alpha High School. After high school, she took a job as a secretary at Rath Packing in Waterloo, but it was her love of dancing that changed her life. At a dance one night, she met a man named James Vrzak, and it didn’t take Millie long to realize that this was the man of her dreams. The two were married on June 3, 1946, at St. Mary’s Church in Waucoma. The couple farmed near Alpha and welcomed six children — Darla, Marv, Marla, Dorma, Patty, and Pamela. 

Her children remember their mom as a feisty and creative person. It didn’t matter if it was flowers, cakes or decorating her home, she had a flair for it. They also were grateful that their mom was always 100 percent behind them. The number of times she took her kids to Boy Scouts, 4-H or school activities was infinite. They also recall the fishing trips the family took every year to Minnesota and that their mom was always busy — either in the house, the yard or helping her beloved Jim on the farm. Her favorite job was driving tractor; and her least favorite was probably picking rock but whatever she needed to do on the farm, she did. The couple eventually bought a farm in the Waucoma area, and Millie remained a woman with varied interests. She loved cake decorating, golf, bowling, playing cards, serving as a Eucharistic minister, her Miller Lite, the Minnesota Vikings and playing “Elmer’s Tune” on the piano. For more than 40 years, Millie and her daughter, Marla, bowled together, and Millie was inducted into the New Hampton Bowling Hall of Fame. She also enjoyed the winter journeys she and Jim took to Texas for many years. 

In 1998, her husband passed away, and after 51 years of marriage, Millie was devastated, but four years later, she met Duane (Dewey) Galligan at the Holy Family Parish Fall Festival. A week later, Millie attended a big anniversary party for Vern and Jean Laures, and Dewey asked her if she wanted to dance. Let’s put it this way, Dewey asked the right question, for Millie loved to dance. 

The two became fast friends and companions — eventually marrying on May 23, 2008, at Holy Family Parish in New Hampton, and her children loved the fact that their mother had found a new love, often saying “Dewey and mom were good for each other.” In her later life, she remained active, and Millie and Dewey loved to take an occasional — or maybe it was more! — trip to the casino. 

Millie’s health began to fail several years ago, and she was diagnosed with dementia. It was difficult for her children and Dewey’s family to see the lost look in her eyes, but they also treasured those “good days.” 

She will be missed by her family, friends and a host of organizations she belonged to throughout her life, and they included the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, St. Mary’s Parish in Waucoma, Holy Family Parish, the South Winneshiek Country Club, the New Hampton Country Club, and the United States Bowling Congress. 

But her family and friends are also grateful that Millie has been reunited with Jim and Dewey and that she is free from the pain of dementia. 

Survivors include one son, Marv (Linda) Vrzak of Corsicana, Texas; five daughters, Darla Rogers of Mesquite, Texas, Marla (Tom) Green of New Hampton, Dorma Rusbult of Belle Plaine, Patty (Tom) Maguire of Hickory, North Carolina, Pamela Lang of Mesquite, Texas; all of the Duane Galligan Family; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Shirley Wiegand of New Hampton, Helen (Jack) Whalen of Lawler. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, her first husband James Vrzak in 1998, her second husband, Duane Galligan in 2019, one brother, Harold Wiegand; grandsons, Christopher Rogers, Matt Vrzak; son-in-law, Eric Lang.

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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