She was born 12/8/1919 in Albert Lea, Minnesota and grew up in South Minneapolis, graduating South High in 1938. She worked at Strutwear and Honeywell as a bookkeeper until her marriage. She was elected as an Aquatennial Princess twice.
She married the love of her life Allen Lilja on December 27th, 1943. They started their marriage moving around due to Allen being in the Marine Air Corp, and had their first home in Crystal, MN. They moved to Detroit Lakes, MN, in 1957 where they made lifelong, treasured friends. Moving to Elk River in 1967, they built their home in Otsego.
After moving to Elk River, she worked at Johnson’s Department Store until she and her good friend Arlene Holen opened Carousel Gifts in downtown Elk River in 1971, where it remained for 13 years. Moving to their townhome in Elk River in 1988, she remained there until her passing.
She was a 45 year member of Central Lutheran Church and continued to be a vital member until her death, still attending a weekly bible study. She was involved in many capacities at Central over the years, including, serving on the council and the funeral committee, teaching Sunday School, folding the Visitor and starting the lefse making tradition. But mostly, she was a pillar of strength and love to those who attended Central. Her hugs and encouraging words blessed all those she loved so much. She made many treasured friends over the years. Most importantly, she walked out her faith in her day to day life and remained a prayer warrior for family and friends until her last day.
She is survived by her children and their spouses, Paul (Lynda), Cheryl (Kent) Holen, Craig (Maggie), Gary (Mary Kay), Kyle (Chuck) LeFebvre, 9 Grand-Children, Michelle (Tom) Streetar, Jason (Tracy) Lilja, Brett (Beth) Lilja, Heather (Nathan) Grawe, Karalee (Kent) Tollakson, Jessica (Justin) Olson, Conor Lilja, Mitchell (fiance, Genny Plude)LeFebvre, Jay LeFebvre. 15 Great-Grandchildren Jake, Grant, Maddie, Max, Owen, Olivia, Nolan, Hannah, Toby, Caleb, Noah, Addie Jo, Keaton, Gus, Heidi. Also, dear friend Arlene Holen and her precious neighbor Peggy Nyberg. She was an amazing wife, Mother, Grandma and Great-Grandma and she will be missed dearly by all those who knew and loved her.
Memorial service will be January 7, 2013 at 11:00am, Central Lutheran Church, Elk River Minn. with visitation one hour prior. Also, visitation January 6, 2013 from 1pm – 4pm at Central Lutheran Church.
A private interment will be at a later date.