Afton Marie Schmidtke


Afton Marie Schmidtke, 84 of Cloquet passed away on Saturday, April 17, 2021 in St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. She was born October 13, 1936 in Shelly, Minnesota to Archie and Mildred Larson. She grew up in Shelly and graduated from Halstad High School. Afton received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Moorhead State and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from UMD.

Afton met Gary Schmidtke while attending college and the couple was married on June 16, 1957. Throughout her teaching career, Afton taught in Edgeley, ND, Fosston, MN and St. Cloud before making their home in Esko. She taught Elementary Education in the Cloquet School District for 27 years, retiring in 1997.

Afton was an active member at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Esko. She especially enjoyed the bible studies and book clubs she was involved with throughout her retirement. Afton and Gary wintered in Mission, TX after they retired and spent summers camping and fishing.

Afton was preceded in death by her husband, Gary; and brother, Curran Larson.

She is survived and will be sadly missed by her son, Mark (Sue) Schmidtke of Shoreview; her daughter, Beth (Chris) Umphress of Apple Valley; sister Sharon (Gerald) Sorenson of St. Michael; sister-in-law, Betty Larson of Cold Spring; five grandchildren, Nicole (Tyler) Lackas, Danielle Dressel, Zachary Schmidtke, Jesse Umphress, and Nicholas Schmidtke; one great granddaughter, Austin; four great grandsons, Jaxon, Brooks, James and Jace; one nephew; three nieces; and her beloved dog, Rusty.

Memorial Service: 3:00 p.m. Saturday, April 24, 2021 in St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Esko. Masks and social distancing are required. Inurnment will be in St. Matthew’s Lutheran Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Atkins Northland Funeral Home. To sign the guest book and offer an online tribute, see

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