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After a long, difficult struggle with Alzheimers, Mary Alice Hillstrom, 86, of Willmar, went to be with her Lord and Saviour on November 5, 2023. Her funeral will be 11:00 am, Friday, November 10th at Living Hope Church Chapel in Willmar with interment in Clover Leaf Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-7:00 pm, Thursday, November 9th at the church and continue one hour prior to the service on Friday at the church. Funeral arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar. www.hafh.org Memorials may be given to hospice.
Mary was born May 30, 1937, in Arvada, CO, to Jim and Pearl (Trout) Thompson. She attended elementary and middle school in Colorado and went to high school at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada. After graduation, she moved to Minneapolis to live with her aunt and uncle. There, she met her husband, Ray, at First Baptist Church in Minneapolis. They married in 1957 and she worked as a secretary while Ray attended the University of Minnesota. After graduation, Ray accepted a teaching position and they moved to Willmar. Three daughters were born to them in the next five years.
Mary was a wonderful mom and wife and delighted in creating a loving home for her family. She enjoyed riding bike, cooking, sewing, cross stitch, gardening, traveling, camping and writing her life stories. She and Ray were charter members of Living Hope Church where she served in Sunday School, Bible School, Children’s Church, White Cross and as church librarian and historian. She also enjoyed attending the Kandiyohi County Homemaker’s Club. She found great joy in hosting many holidays and dinners with friends and family. After Ray retired, they volunteered with SOWERS ministry in Texas and enjoyed traveling in the U.S., especially Alaska and Hawaii. Ray passed away in 2006 and a few years later she was diagnosed with Alzheimers. She moved to Copperleaf Assisted Living in 2020 and went into Serenity Suites Memory Care in 2022.
The Cornerstone of Mary’s life was her faith. These words are from one of her life stories. “My uncle Harold was a pastor and he built a Bible Camp high in the Colorado Rockies over Loveland Pass. The chapel was small, had wood benches, a simple handmade pulpit and a sawdust floor.” She wrote that when she was 10, she knelt down in the sawdust, prayed and asked Jesus to forgive her sins and come into her life.
Mary is survived by her daughters, Sharon (Dean) Weflen of Hudsonville, MI, Sue (Loren) Newberg of Willmar, MN, Cindy (Tom) Greenwell of Kihei, HI; 11 grandchildren, soon to be 12 great grandchildren. Also surviving are her sisters-in-law, Rosie Thompson of Colorado Springs, CO, Sue Thompson of Kalispell, MT; sister, Eileen (Jim) Lundquist of Willmar; brother, Duke (Faye) Thompson of Loveland, CO, sister, Linda (Jim) Knuteson of Phoenix, AZ, brother-in-law, Rev. Dwight Hillstrom of Hudsonville, MI, and many nieces and nephews.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Ray, in 2006, her parents, James and Pearl (Trout) Thompson, stepfather, Orval Robinson, brothers, Gene and Boyd Thompson, brother and sister-in-law, Dan and Marianne Hillstrom, sister-in-law, Edie Hillstrom, and nephews Tim Lundquist and infant, Steven Thompson.
The family appreciates the kind, compassionate care given to Mary by Copperleaf Serenity Suites and Hospice.