Curtis L. Stenberg, son of Ove DeVere Stenberg and Viola A. Stenberg Thoelke was born March 13, 1945 in Sioux Falls, SD.
His father was a test pilot for the US Air Force, was killed during a test flight and buried in Coleman, SD. Curtis was the 2nd son of that marriage. His baby brother, Gary Dean Stenberg was born and died in 1943 and is buried in Forest Lawn, CA.
Curtis lived with his mother, Viola Anderson Stenberg in Sioux Falls after his father's death, attended the first special education class in Sioux Falls which was started by his mother and two other moms with special needs children. His mother later married a childhood sweetheart, King Thoelke, in 1960. His two sons, Frederick and Dennis became part of the family and their daughter, Lori Lynn was born in September, 1961. Curtis lived in Redfield, SD and later moved to the Grafton State School when the family moved to Cavalier in 1963. He was one of the first residents of the excellent new group homes in Grafton in the 1980's. He visited his mom and "daddy" every month in Cavalier, attended birthdays, holidays and special events with his family in Cavalier and Crystal. He had a remarkable gift of memory, knowing every family and friend by name - even from his oldest photographs. Looking through his albums was one of his favorite activities. He also loved puzzles & golfing.
Curtis was a resident at Friendship Group Home (412) since the 1980's. He was a happy, cheerful participant in all of life as well as the many activities with the Group Home and vocational programs at Friendship. He took part in summer camps, trips to baseball games in Minneapolis, visits to museums, movies, a dream trip to FL to see his mom and visit Disney World with staff from Friendship and attended many other outings with Friendship Staff and his beloved housemates of over 30 years.
Curtis collected pennies from the 3rd grade class at Grafton Elementary School for the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo and delivered them once a year to the Fargo location. He worked at CHI Friendship Day Program for many years until retirement at age 62, then attended the Senior Day Supports program. He helped stuff church bulletins for many different churches in Grafton & Park River. His family, friends and beloved caregivers loved his sweet smile and docile temperament and sense of humor. His presence in our midst enhanced our lives and many others including his family, staff, caregivers, housemates of many years, hospital staff in Park River & Grand Forks, churches and volunteer work sites.
Curtis loved his friends, family and caregivers at the Grafton Developmental Center, CHI Friendship Residential and Vocational Programs. He was always extremely well cared for. His staff knew when he was sick or needed medical attention just by watching him and saw that he received it. Dr. Joel Johnson and the medical staff at First Care Health Center in Park River gave him excellent care or referrals to Grand Forks when needed.
He was a member of the United Methodist Church.
Curtis passed peacefully into eternity on December 31, 2016 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, ND
He is survived by: his beloved housemates and staff at 412 Friendship Group Home and CHI Friendship; sister, Lori (Fernandez) Thoelke & family: niece Brianna & great niece Lilleigh, nephew Gydeon (Geddy) Fernandez. Aunt, Gayle Tomaszewski and her children: nephew, Dan Thomas and family, nephew, Brian & Janey Tomaszewski & family, nephew, Joel Tomaszewski & family, niece, Carla Duis & family, niece Dawn & James Haack & family, uncle, Bennet Stenberg & family, uncle David & Audrey Stenberg & family, aunt Arlene Lellelid & family, stepbrother & wife: Fred & Mary Thoelke, Nathan, Adam & Laura, step sister and brother in law: Mrs. Betty & Dr. Geoff Johnson & families, step niece Jennifer Olson & children, Jonah & Gavin, step aunt & uncle Gloria & Allen Abrahamson (deceased) & their families, step uncle and aunt: Bryce & Marge Thoelke & their families.
He is preceded in death by: his father, Ove DeVere Stenberg, mother Viola A. Stenberg Thoelke, infant brother Gary Dean Stenberg, grandparents Lloyd & Anna Anderson, great grandparents Ole & Dorothy (Mathiason) Eggen, great grandparents Anton & Nina Anderson, grandparents Ove Jenson & Alma (Sorenson) Stenberg, great grandparents Christian & Benedikte (Graversen) Stenberg, great grandparents Soren Kristian & Maren Katherine (Nielson) Sorensen, aunt, Gloria and brother in law Bill Rekoff, aunt Doris Marczak, step father, King Thoelke, stepbrother Dennis Thoelke, numerous other aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives.
He was our beloved son, grandson, brother, nephew, cousin, life time friend, coworker.
May he rest in God's peace.
A funeral service will be held at St. John's Catholic Church, Grafton, ND - Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. Visitation at the church from 1:00 p.m. one hour before the time of service. He will be interred in Fairview Cemetery in White, SD on Sunday, May 28th
Memorials may be sent in honor of Curtis Stenberg to: CHI Friendship, 554 West 12th St. Grafton, ND 58237 or to Fred & Mary Thoelke PO Box 6, Crystal, ND 58222 for CHI Friendship.