Naomi, of Tonka Bay, MN, was born on May 10, 1950 in Crosby, ND and peacefully died on October 7, 2022 at Methodist Hospital/St. Louis Park MN, surrounded by the loving presence of her husband Tom of 36+ years, sisters Ruth Knudson and Miriam Bunge and nephew Luke Bunge. Naomi did not give up hope in her battle with breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer and other additional unrelated complications, until there was no more medically to be done. Days before she died, Naomi wrote the following about all eight years of her medical care. “THE Red Carpet continues for me from My People, with their compassion and medical expertise.” During the three weeks at Methodist before Naomi died, she expressed multiple times that she had God’s Peace and no pain.
Naomi’s Memorial Service will be at her beloved Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior, MN on November 1, 2022 at 11 a.m., visitation at 10 a.m. and a luncheon following the service. The Service will be recorded. If you would like to view Naomi’s Memorial Service online, following the service, please contact Mount Calvary Lutheran Church for the link (952) 474-8893.
Naomi loved life and brought joyful love and life to Tom, her family, friends, elementary students she taught and people she did not even know! Naomi’s family, friends and students will grieve her death and our great loss. Naomi exuberantly expressed her joy and love in teaching, singing, words, beauty, wearing scarves and hats, loving the color Naomi Blue, dressing up (including for doctor visits), planning parties, organizing, etc. Naomi’s joy and love continues to inspire us!
Naomi is preceded in death by her parents Stanley G. and Mildred A. Knudson, Tom’s parents John and Dorothy Kudak and Knudson/Swedberg relatives. Naomi is survived by her husband, Tom, step children Randy Kudak and Angie Backe (Chris), step grandchildren Kyle and Layla Backe, sisters Ruth Knudson and Miriam Bunge (Gary), nephew Luke Bunge, sister-in-law Martha Kudak, nieces Zofi Kudak-Field (Chris), Amelia Kudak-Field and Marissa Grodnick (Harrison) and Knudson/ Swedberg/Kudak relatives.
Naomi wrote the following words from a letter she wrote to her third-grade children and care givers in the summer of 2011, just after she retired from teaching elementary for 38.96 years in Chatfield, Chaska and Chanhassen, MN. “Thank you for the gift of ’you’, which you so graciously shared with me. The gift of oneself to another is precious and unique. Your presence in our ’Secret Garden’ classroom filled each day with the beauty of ’blooming blossoms’. What a gift! Thoughts of you and yours will continue to linger in my mind. It only takes one -- one person, one unexpected possibility, one ordinary moment of insight to create a life-changing experience. My decision to retire was made with great contemplation, as teaching is my passion. However, my family’s needs surround me…time with them is valuable. Love & Squishes.”
Naomi graduated from Scobey, MT High School in 1968 and Concordia College/Moorhead, MN in 1972. Listen to a portion of the comments Naomi recently contributed to her class’s 50th CC Reunion “Then & Now” book. “Concordia College immersed me in multiple areas: A degree in Elementary Education with a German minor, opportunities with music (choirs and opera) and vagabond travel experiences with the May Seminar in Europe. English Language Arts became my passion by incorporating music, German, and theater throughout my joy-filled 4 decades of teaching. Several additional opportunities have arisen due to my abstract-random nature and myriad interests involving travel, music, church (missions & outreach), coordinating community conferences and event planning. In my mid 30’s, on a blind date, I met my husband, Thomas Patrick Kudak. Currently we’re living in Tonka Bay, MN with periodic winter
escapes to our home in Surprise, AZ. Being in “’Rediscovery – Mode’” (retirement) allows us to experience life in new ways from our previous careers -- Tom, a regional controller and I as an educator. Endless possibilities await with family, travel, landscaping/gardening, culinary interests, community & church involvement and cherishing everyday epiphanies. 8 years ago, breast cancer was discovered in me (chemo, surgery & radiation). This 2021 winter there was a recurrence of breast cancer with additional unrelated complications. However, a competent, compassionate, caring, multi-disciplinary medical team is surrounding me again with expert, individualized, coordinated care, bringing strength of hope with the power of science. Cherishing life with all its precious silver linings, while living with love, faith, hope and gratitude.”
Naomi, you are so loved. Thank you for all your love and joy. Halleluia, as you sang at your wedding!
Huber Funeral & Cremation Services
Excelsior Chapel 952-474-9559