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Marianne “Omi” Elofson, age 79, of St Michael and formerly of Alexandria and Northfield passed away unexpectedly at her home on Saturday, May 16th, 2020.

She was born on August 28, 1940, as a German in Totzau, Sudetenland, the daughter of Robert & Gabriella Marie (Tobisch) Häckl.  She had two brothers, Otto and Helmut, and grew up on their family farm at No.1 Totzau.

During WWII, her family was resettled into West Germany and landed in the village of Treis where she spent the majority of her childhood. Upon graduation, she moved to Frankfurt and worked as a secretary.  It was also in Frankfurt where she met a young American GI, Gary Elofson. They fell in love and Gary successfully convinced her to relocate to his home state of Minnesota. On June 16, 1967, Gary and Marianne were joined in holy marriage on the Elofson family farm near Perham, Minnesota.  God   blessed their marriage with two children, Kim and Jeff.

They lived in Northfield, Minnesota most of their marriage where Marianne was a dedicated and involved stay at home mom before becoming an assistant at St. Olaf  College. She spent a few years working part time there before moving across town to Carleton College where she supported various groups over the course of 17 years, although primarily within the psychology department as an administrative assistant. She took pride in her job, enjoyed her colleagues, and cherished being part of the college community. Anytime she encountered someone who went to or worked at Carleton, her ears perked up and she wanted to learn more.

In retirement, Marianne and Gary relocated from Northfield to Lake Andrew near  Alexandria. She enjoyed being at the lake, gardening, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. During this time, they attended Alexandria Covenant Church. Also, Marianne and Gary joined Koffee and Kare group and met wonderful friends from all over the Alexandria area. When her children and grandchildren departed after a weekend at the lake, she packed snacks for the ride home and gave kisses and hugs and waved goodbye until they were out of sight. She consistently thought of others before herself.

Marianne was a woman who loved people and life. She was nurturing, generous, independent, curious, gregarious, and vibrant. She delighted in the company of others, and never met a stranger. When she came across a German person she often asked for their phone number so she could connect and speak their native language. She was so proud of her German heritage and often sought out bakeries and butchers that knew how to make traditional German foods. She crocheted blankets and socks, collected quarters, appreciated a good deal, and counted things (especially steps).

Marianne touched so many lives. She knew Kim and Jeff’s friends and their kids, and always wanted to be a part of the fun. She had a great sense of humor, told funny stories, and laughed a lot. She had a gift for retaining anniversaries and birthdays – even for people she only met once. Her grandchildren will remember her for the timely arrival of birthday and holiday cards, advent calendars, Christmas games, cherry dessert and pistachio cake, and above all, her unconditional and abundant love and support. Her children, whom she was proud of beyond measure, had the most outstanding example for how to truly love, appreciate, and care for others and live each day to the fullest.

After 52 years of marriage with Gary, she missed him deeply following his passing last fall. She spoke of him frequently and her heart ached thinking about life without him.

Marianne had a German plate that hung on her kitchen wall that read, “Hab Sonne im Herzen”, which translates to “Have the sun in your heart”. She embodied that completely, a pure light that brightened our lives and will be deeply missed.

Survived by daughter Kim and (Craig) Brandli and grandchildren Luke, Kate, and Kylee of St Michael, MN; son Jeff Elofson and (Melisa Lee) and grandchildren Ben, Van, and Rose of Minneapolis, MN.

7 Guestbook Entries

  1. Sharon

    Marianne was a wonderful administrative assistant for my department at Carleton. I will always remember our fun conversations, her kindness and genuine care for everyone. I will miss her very much. I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. The Beckstrom’s

    What a wonderful look into her life! She was everything you shared and more! She was always excited to see our family and ask how we were doing! She was like a mom/Omi to us! We will miss her dearly! We are so sorry for your loss!

  3. Irene Hinkley and family

    We were together as small children in Sudetenland, cousins, lived apart in Germany but reconnected in the USA.
    She surely will be missed.
    Our deepest Sympathy to you all for the loss of your mom, who will live on in your hearts, memories and thoughts…

  4. Jessica Bettinger

    I am so sorry Kim and Jeff. My heart breaks for you guys. Growing up she was like the second Mom to me. I had always wanted to be a Mom like her! I had told stories to my kids about growing up with you guys and how your Mom always made us feel so special and loved. She was an amazing woman. Hugs and much love to you all!

  5. Donavon and Lois Kuehnast

    Kim and Jeff please accept our sincere condolences. Your Mom was a very special lady. We always enjoyed our talks at church with her. Please be comforted in your happy memories. Donavon and Lois

  6. Mija Van Der Wege

    Marianne was just lovely to work with at Carleton. She was always thoughtful and kind, and she loved talking about her family! My sincere condolences.

  7. Moni Shelstad

    Lisa and Jeff, so sorry to hear about your mom. She was such a kind and positive person, which made her a great day care provider. Dana loved every day she spent at your house, and we got such a kick out of the little bit of German accent she picked up on certain words after spending time with your mom. Marianne was one special lady.


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