The Mass of Christian Burial for Charles Matthew Conati will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Crookston

Charles Matthew “Chuck” Conati,  husband, father, grandfather, card shark, woodworker, and longtime MN businessman, was called home early Friday morning, June 13, 2014, with Collette, his loving wife of 55 years at his side.

Chuck was born in Wahpeton, ND on December 20, 1933, and grew up in Crookston with his parents, George and Cecile (Mercil) Conati. He was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith and was a graduate of Cathedral High School. Chuck enlisted in the U.S. Navy on September 19, 1951. He served in the Bering Straits of Alaska for two years aboard the USS Electra and took part in getting US forces to the mainland of Korea during the Korean War. Following his honorable discharge on October 20, 1954 Chuck returned home and enrolled at St. John's University. He later attended The Minnesota School of Business in Minneapolis earning a degree in accounting. On August 2, 1958 he was united in marriage to his best friend, Collette Maehren, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Detroit Lakes, MN. Their marriage would ultimately be blessed by the births of 6 children: Tony, John, Tom, Bill, Catherine, and Patty. Chuck and Collette made their first home in Fisher, MN while Chuck was employed at Sanitary Dairy in Crookston, a business owned by his father. They soon relocated to Minneapolis where Chuck was employed at the Jasperson Dairy. Chuck, Collette and the kids than moved to Rapid City, SD and Chuck took on the duties of accountant, along with other positions, for a concrete company there. In 1966 the Conati family moved to East Grand Forks where Chuck managed the Valley Dairy, and a year later settled in Crookston after purchasing the local Bridgeman Creamery franchise. He owned and operated the very successful business until retiring in 1994.

Chuck and Collette were longtime members of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, and Chuck was a Grand Knight with the Knights of Columbus. The couple helped establish the TEC movement  for the Crookston Diocese and for many years were leaders of the organization. Chuck was also a member of Crookston American Legion Post #20, and was on the board of the Crookston Jr. Chamber of Commerce. Professionally, he received many special honors during his years of association with Bridgeman Creameries.

Chuckie  was a giver of “Atta-Boys” and pats on the back. He was known for his quirky “Chuckie” dance and quick wit comments. He will live on in the handiwork he did in all of his children’s home improvement projects over the years. Grandpa will always be remembered by his grandchildren as a champion card player and relentless teaser. Chuck will forever be lovingly remembered and sadly missed by his family and friends.

Chuck leaves his loving wife and best friend of 55 years, Collette; their 6 children and spouses: Marc Anthony "Tony" and Lisa Conati of Scottsdale, AZ, John and Julie Conati of Big Rapids, MI, Tom and Becky Conati of Fisher, MN, Bill and Mary Conati of Gilbert, AZ, Catherine and Ron Monson of New London, MN, and Patty and Joel Gratz of Atwater, MN; 15 grandchildren: Nick, Lauren, Alex, Christian, Claire, Trace, Cameron, Katelyn, and Natalie Conati, Anna and Matthew Monson, and Andrew, Tony, Jacob, and Joseph Gratz; a brother, Jon and Bonnie Conati of North Branch, MN; and a sister-in-law Marcia Maehren and Mark Blackwood of Redding, CA; and many other relatives. He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Cecile Conati; a brother, Paul Conati; and 2 sisters, Trudy Altepeter and her husband, Jerry, and Rita Ann Conati. May God bless Chuck's memory.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Charles Matthew Conati will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Crookston, with The Fr. Vincent Miller, presiding. Msgr. Roger Grundhaus, Fr. David Super, and Deacon Dennis Bivens will concelebrate. Visitation with Chuck's family will be at the Cathedral church Monday from 5-7 p.m., with a 7 p.m. prayer service and time of sharing led by Deacon Dennis Bivens.   A visitation will also be held at the Cathedral one hour prior to the funeral service. Inurnment will take place at the Oakdale Cemetery in Crookston at 2 pm, June 24th, with Military Honors provided by the Crookston Veterans Council and the Minnesota National Guard Honors Unit. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be given in Chuck's name to the Cathedral Building Fund.

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