Patricia K. “Pat” Tollefson, 87, of Willmar, died Thursday, August 1st at Bethesda Grand in Willmar after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s. Her funeral service will be at 11:00 am, Monday, August 5th at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar. Visitation will be from 3-5:00 pm, Sunday at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar and continue one hour prior to her service at the church. Burial will be at 3:00 pm, Monday, August 5th at Norwegian Grove Lutheran Cemetery in rural Gaylord. Memorials are preferred to the Alzheimer’s Association or WCDAN Memory Cafe. Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar. www.hafh.org
Pat was born Jan. 8, 1932 in St. Paul to Walter (Jim) and Amelia (Mildred) Greeder. She was a confirmed member of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi where she attended while growing up in Willernie, MN. Pat graduated in 1949 from Mahtomedi High School and attended Bethesda School of Nursing for one year. It was through her dear friend at nursing school, Marian Antonson that Pat was introduced to the love of her life, Lloyd Tollefson. Lloyd and Pat were married Jan. 4, 1952 in San Angelo, TX where Lloyd was stationed with the U.S. Air Force. They lived in San Angelo uintil June of 1952 when Lloyd was sent to Europe to serve with the Air Force. Pat joined him in England in November 1952. They lived in England for 2 years and their two oldest children were born there.
Lloyd was honorably discharged in November 1954 and they returned to the U.S. and rural Gaylord, MN purchasing the family farm where Lloyd had grown up. They began their 40 years of farm work together with Pat, a "city girl," learning all of the ins and outs of farming along side Lloyd. She learned to operate all of the farm equipment, bale hay, milk cows, plow fields and harvest crops. She was truly a help-mate to Lloyd in all aspects of farming. They added 2 more children to their family while on the farm.
Pat was employed outside of the farm over the years, working at Fingerhut Corp. and in the office of the Gaylord City Hospital. She also worked with the USDA in their Crop Reporting Division, visiting area farms and doing plant counts to assist with estimates of crop yields.
Pat could do anything she put her mind to and took up painting in oils and rosemaling. She was a skilled seamstress and knitter, knitting sweaters, shawls, afghans and always dishcloths, talents she passed on to some of her grandchildren. Pat had taken violin as a child and when Lloyd bought her a violin after their children were grown, she began playing again, sharing her music at nursing homes and events in both the Garylord area and Willmar where she and Lloyd moved after retiring from farming in 1995.
The coffee pot was always on at Lloyd and Pat's home and there were always homemade cookies, cakes and pies to go with the coffee. Pat was a wonderful cook and there were always heavenly aromas coming from her kitchen. She made 12 loaves of homemade bread each week and her children recall having "store bought" bread only once when Pat was ill.
Pat always enjoyed her Monday morning Friendship Club meetings in the homes of her Nicollet County friends. She and Lloyd were members of the Sons of Norway and Pat served in various roles at their home church, Norwegian Grove Lutheran Church in rural Gaylord. She also volunteered for a time with the Nicollet County Home Extension Service.
After moving to Willmar Lloyd and Pat joined Bethel Lutheran Church and became active in the Senior Citizens Club where Pat served a term as President and also on the club's board. Lloyd and Pat were crowned the Willmar Fest Senior Citizen King and Queen in 2001.
Pat is survived by her devoted husband of 67 years, Lloyd; 4 children, Stephen (Margaret) of Mankato, Kathleen (Gary) Thonvold of Willmar, Jeffrey (Eileen) of Cold Spring and Sharon Tollefson of Willmar; nine grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; a brother Russell and sister Susan, both of Stillwater; as well as several brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents and 2 brothers, Jim and Bert.
The family extends their heartfelt thanks to all of the staff at Bethesda Grand for the loving care given to Pat during her 7 year stay there.