Grace Torresdal

Friday, May 8, 2015 3:53 pm

Grace Torresdal, 88, of Decorah, died Wednesday, May 6, 2015, at the Ossian Senior Hospice in Ossian. Services were at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 9,  at Decorah Lutheran Church, Decorah, with Rev. Dave Sorenson and Rev. Bryan Robertson officiating. Music was by Ray Torresdal, Barb Nasby, Benjamin Yates, Bard Mackey, Jennaya and Elise Robison. “Nearer My God To Thee,” “Now The Powers Of Heaven,” “On Eagles Wings” and “Achieved Is The Glorious Work.”

Grace Evelyn (Ohnstad) Torresdal was born April 3, 1927, in Florence, S.D. to Christian and Hilda (Chilson) Ohnstad. She was baptized and confirmed in the Christian faith in the Goodhue Lutheran Church near Florence. She attended country school and then high school in Florence, graduating in 1946. Grace attended the Lutheran Bible Institute in Minneapolis, Minn. and graduated in 1949. She then moved to Decorah for a position as a parish worker at Decorah Lutheran Church. It was there she met Lester Torresdal and they married Dec. 15, 1950, at Decorah Lutheran Church. Lester and Grace moved to Tacoma, Wash. in 1951, and Grace worked as a Bell Telephone operator for the next two years. They moved back to Iowa in 1953 and began 35 years of farming together on the Torresdal family farm two miles north of Ossian. In 1988, Grace and Lester retired from farming and moved to the home they built in Decorah, where Grace resided until 2012. Grace was an excellent seamstress and was very talented at quilting, creating many beautiful quilts that her family will enjoy for years to come. She was a wonderful cook and baker, particularly of delicious pies like her memorable silver cream pie. Grace was a very knowledgeable thimble collector and gradually built a prize collection that she greatly enjoyed sharing with others. She was a member of Thimble Collectors International and she and Lester attended many biennial TCI conventions in cities around the U.S. She was a very active member of the Ossian Lutheran Church and later Decorah Lutheran Church. She was a member of the Luren Auxiliary during all the years Lester was a member of the Luren Singers. Grace and Lester greatly enjoyed three trips to Norway with the Luren. Grace loved children and treasured her own grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as caring for the children of friends and neighbors over the years. Grace was a devoted wife and mother, a hard worker at whatever task was at hand, and a compassionate, honest, and forthright woman.

Grace is survived by her son Raymond and wife Pam, Calmar, and her daughter, Greta Ege and husband Lee, Ramsey, Minn.; three grandchildren: Samuel Ege, Rockford, Minn.; Carmen (Christopher) Thomas, Anoka, Minn.; and Kristin Torresdal, Decorah; two great-grandchildren, Evelyn Claire Thomas and Braeden Edward Thomas; five sisters: Wilma Lien, Decorah; Harriet (Alton) Hillesland, Sydney, Mont.; Helen Miller, Estelline, S.D.; Gladys Bates, Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Clarice Weisshaar, Canby, Ore.; four sisters-in-law: Maxine Ohnstad, Florence, S.D.; Alice Broderick, Decorah; Irene Jewell, Orinda, Calif.; Mavis Ohnstad, Florence, S.D.; along with many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and –nephews; beloved friends Jennaya, Brett, Elise, Grace and Benjamin Robison.

Grace was preceded in death by her husband, Lester Torresdal, April 28, 2005; infant daughter, Carmen Grace, in 1951; her parents, Christian and Hilda (Chilson) Ohnstad; siblings: Lester (Joyce) Ohnstad, Carroll Ohnstad, Stella (Leiv) Valberg and Lester Ohnstad, as a child; brothers-in-law: Rueben Weisshaar, Don Bates, Robert Miller, Curtis Lien, Bill Broderick and Walter “Bud” Jewell.

It was Grace’s wish that her body be donated to the Mayo Clinic to support medical education.

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