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Viola Adeline (Anderson) (Stenberg) Thoelke was born September 28, 1922, in Hendricks, Minnesota to Lloyd and Anna (Eggen) Anderson. She was the 2nd of four girls, Doris, Vi, Gloria, and Gayle. She attended elementary school at the Lincoln County country school and Hendricks High School, graduating in 1940 with honors. She married DeVere Stenberg, a test pilot for the US Air Force, in 1942 and traveled with him to California and Arizona during the war years. They were parents to two sons: Gary Dean Stenberg born and died in 1943 and buried at Forest Lawn, CA and Curtis Lee Stenberg born in March 1945. DeVere was killed during a test flight and buried in Coleman, SD. She and her special needs son, Curtis, lived in Sioux Falls, SD following his death.
Vi was one of the organizers of the1st special education classes in Sioux Falls with her son Curtis and three other students who came to school there with volunteer teachers (herself and the three other mothers) and a supervisor teacher at the time.
She later married a high school sweetheart (King Thoelke) on October 30, 1960. His two sons, Frederick and Dennis became a part of the family and they lived in White, South Dakota for three years. Their daughter Lori Lynn was born September 1961. They owned and operated The Farmer's Store in White, SD and moved to Cavalier, ND in 1963 where they purchased and operated Thoelke's Dept Store and Kings Shoe Castle until 1989. In Cavalier she was a part of a committee that helped start the meals on wheels program.
Vi was a homemaker and loved having coffee time with her friends and preparing meals for the family gatherings at Christmas and the major holidays. She was skilled in sewing and crocheting, traveled extensively with King to most states in the United States, all the provinces of Canada except one and several other countries on tours during their retirement years. In their retirement, they lived in Florida six months out of the year where she enjoyed the visits of her Florida daughter, Lori and grandchildren, Brianna and Gydeon (Geddy), and more recently, Brianna's daughter, Lilleigh.
She liked her rose garden, cooking, baking, playing cards with their friends and traveling. She is remembered for her key lime pies, home-made baked beans, sweet rolls, foot massages and preparing for picnics at Icelandic State Park when family came to visit.
She loved her son Curtis and made sure he came home to visit every month in White, SD and Cavalier, ND until illness made it no longer possible. He was able to visit her in Florida with the care of Friendship staff just last year. She made donations to the annual fundraisers at Friendship, Inc and received a mother of the year award from Friendship Inc. as a very supportive mom of a special needs individual in North Dakota.
After King's death in 2013, Vi moved to Florida to live with her daughter, Lori. She received loving care at every moment, with Lori and grandson, Geddy and her caregiver, Sarah. Granddaughter, Brianna took time to stop and see her every week and made sure her little great-granddaughter, Lilleigh, got to know her great-gramma.
She was a member of the United Methodist Church in Cavalier.
Viola passed into eternity on May 23, 2015 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Jacksonville, FL.
Survivors include her son, Curtis Lee Stenberg; daughter: Lori (Fernandez) Thoelke and family: granddaughter, Brianna and great-granddaughter, Lilleigh, and grandson, Gydeon (Geddy) Fernandez; stepson and wife and family: Fred and Mary Thoelke, Nathan, Adam, and Laura; stepdaughter-in-law and family: Betty and Dr. Geoff Johnson, Jennifer and Troy Olson and children, Jonah and Gavin, Dr. Chris and Dr. Annie Harris and children: Jay, Katie, Ty, and Max; Dr. Paul and Molly Johnson; sister and brother-in-law, Gloria and Allen Abrahamson (deceased) and their families; brother and sister-in-law, Bryce and Marge Thoelke and their families.
Also by her sister, Gayle Tomaszewski and her childen: nephew, Darwin (Dan Thomas) and daughter Beth, nephew, Brian and Janey Tomaszewski and children: April, Jason, Mark, Sara, Emily, nephew, Joel Tomaszewski and children: Shonda, Tiffany, Kendra, Bethany, niece, Carla Duis and children: Carissa, Shaylee, Jordan, Joshua, niece, Dawn and James Haack and children: Ashley,Kayla, Karlee.
Preceding her in death were her husband, King Thoelke; parents, Lloyd and Anna Anderson; grandparents: Ole and Dorothy (Mathiason) Eggen and Anton and Nina Anderson; first husband, DeVere Stenberg; infant son, Gary Dean Stenberg; sisters: Doris Marczak and Gloria and brother-law Bill Reckoff; stepson, Dennis Thoelke; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and great nieces and nephews.
She was our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, great aunt, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and friend. May she rest in peace.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 16, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church, Cavalier, ND. Visitation will be held at the church for one hour before the time of services. Interment will be held at the Fairview Cemetery in White, SD on Sunday, July 19, 2015.
Memorials in honor of Vi Thoelke for Friendship Inc, Grafton, ND or Faith in Action, Cavalier, ND, may be sent to Fred and Mary Thoelke at P.O. Box 6, Crystal, ND 58222.
Vi's Family, Always greeted with a smile and a big hello. That is what I will always remember about this wonderful little lady. May you find comfort in all who surround you and in the memories that you have. Do you think now that your parents are together again and able to do things that they might have opened up a Thoelke's store in heaven? Everyone would be taken care of then. God Bless Vi's memory and please accept our deepest sympathy. Don & Michelle Murray
Don & Michelle Murray Jun 8 2015 12:00 AM
It was our absolute honor and pleasure to have had the opportunity to be a small part of Ms. Vi's life. We have never known a sweeter women in our entire life. During Lisa's visit to Cavalier with Lori several years ago, both her and King treated her like family. We want everyone to know she was loved by many people here in Florida. She will be missed very much, and we know she's with King and family as well as with God now.
Mr.and Mrs. Robert Brookens Jun 4 2015 12:00 AM
My family offers our Sincerest Condolences. Reading her accomplishments placed me in awe of what a amazing woman she was. God Bless.
The Baity Family Jun 4 2015 12:00 AM
Our Prayers are sent to all the Family for comfort through this time of need. Blessings to all.
Aaron & Sue Higginbotham Jun 4 2015 12:00 AM