Fernette Mildred Olson, 96, formerly of Hawley, MN, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at Oak Crossing Nursing Home, Detroit Lakes, MN. She had been a resident of Hawley and surrounding area for many years.
Fernette Mildred Sandeen was born December 16, 1925, on the family farm in Eglon Township, rural Clay County, the third daughter of Carl & Alma (Handegaard) Sandeen. She was baptized and confirmed at Lake Park Lutheran Church. She attended District 41 country school in the Dale, MN, area and continued her education, graduating from Lake Park High School in 1943. She then attended Detroit Lakes Business College and worked as a secretary for JI Case in Fargo and Consumer’s Natural Gas of Detroit Lakes, MN.
On October 29, 1947, she was united in marriage to the love of her life, Lawrence William Olson, held in the chapel of First Lutheran Church, Detroit Lakes. Following their marriage, Lawrence & Fernette operated a grain and dairy farm, north of Solem Lutheran Church, in partnership with Lawrence’s brother, Maurice. Fernette spent the next several years busily helping with the farm work and maintaining a very busy household and raising five children including one with special needs. Fernette had once expressed that her greatest reward in life was raising a nice family. Lawrence died unexpectedly at the age of 52 on April 5, 1976.
In 1977, Fernette moved into Hawley, MN, and worked for several years at the Hawley Manor (now Hawley Senior Living) before retiring in 1992. She was actively involved in the local Royal Neighbors Chapter as well as the local Homemakers’ Group. She was an active, loyal member of Solem Lutheran Church, serving as Sunday School Superintendent and teacher for many years. She also held various positions in the LCW, Circle, Altar Guild and Church Council.
Fernette was devoted to her family and friends and had a great love for children. Her face would light up whenever her children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren visited her. Fernette’s personal faith in her Lord was evident in how she lived. She had loving and giving hands and heart with a sweet spirit and a faith that never wavered. Her advice about life she would like all her family to remember is to “Trust in God”. She rarely, if ever, complained. Her home was a center for many family gatherings, and she was well known for her hospitality. “Fernie” was a marvelous cook and baker. Her kitchen pantry was continuously stocked with “goodies” much to the delight of family who took great joy in raiding it whenever possible! Fernette enjoyed reading, embroidery, card games, gardening, canning, dancing, and spending time with family and friends. In recent years she had become an ardent Twins fan. She shared many traveling adventures with her sister-in-law, Norma Bakken, and brothers-in-law, Jimmy Bakken and Maurice Olson. And a trip to Norway in 1990 was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that she thoroughly enjoyed. She had cherished the time to reunite with extended family from far away.
Blessed to have shared her life are two sons, Terry (Diane), Elk River, MN, Wayne (Rhonda), Fridley, MN, and one daughter, Nancy (Jim) Holm, Lake Park, MN; six grandchildren, Wendi Olson, Heather Langer (Kevin Kuehl), Kathy (Scott) Jorgensen, Laci Olson, Amber (Kevin) Martin, and Steven Holm; four great-grandchildren, Carter Langer, Isabella Jorgensen, Casey Martin, and Laney Martin; one step-great-grandchild, Alexie Escarcega; sister, Delories Berg, Detroit Lakes, MN; and many cherished nieces and nephews.
Fernette was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Lawrence; two sons, Steven and Daryl; one step-grandchild, Lynsey (Larson) Escarcega; and sister, Irene Lovold.
The family would like to thank the staff at Oak Crossing Nursing Home and Hospice of the Red River Valley for their wonderful, loving care of Fernette.
Memorials are preferred to Hospice of the Red River Valley or Solem Lutheran Church Organ Fund.
Blessed be the memory of Fernette Olson!
A visitation will be held Sunday, March 13, 2022, from 5-7 PM with a prayer service beginning at 7:00 at Wright Funeral Home, Hawley, MN.
Visitation will continue on Monday, March 14, 2022 from 10-11 AM followed by the funeral service at 11:00 at Solem Lutheran Church, rural Hawley, MN. A livestream of the service will be available here on Fernette’s page.
Burial will be in Solem Lutheran Church Cemetery in the spring.