Marie Grace Carlson

LAFAYETTE– Marie Grace Carlson, age 78, passed away Tuesday, May 7, 2019 surrounded by her loving family at the Mayo Clinic Rochester.

Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Monday, May 13, 2019 at the First Lutheran Church in Lafayette. Pastor Heidi Hagstrom will officiate. Burial will follow in the First Lutheran Church Cemetery in Lafayette.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, May 12, 2019 at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home – SOUTH CHAPEL in New Ulm. Visitation will continue from 10-11 a.m. Monday at the church.

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Marie is survived by her daughters, Tascha (Peter) Helland of Oronoco, Holly (Rich) Kitzberger of New Ulm; son, Danny (Theresa) Carlson of Cannon Falls; 8 grandchildren, Andrew (Shelly) Kitzberger, Scott Kitzberger, Nathaniel Helland, Zachary Helland, Joshua Helland, Tiffany (Scott) Stewart, Sterling Carlson, and Madeline Carlson; 5 great grandchildren, Madison Stewart, Preston Stewart, Jameson Stewart, Aaden Kitzberger, Jace Kitzberger; sisters, Jeanne Cordes of New Ulm, Lorna (Jim) Lipsey of Montgomery, Texas; and sisters-in-law, Nell Gehrke of Hutchinson, and JoAnn Shofer of Howard Lake.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 51 years, Gary Carlson; her parents; grandson, Jesse Joe Kitzberger; great-grandson, Jackson Scott Stewart; and her brothers, Gordon Gehrke and David Gehrke.

Marie Grace Gehrke was born December 8, 1940 to Elton and Grace (Jensen) Gehrke in New Ulm. She graduated from New Ulm Public High School and went on to get her teaching degree at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Marie began her lifelong career as an elementary school teacher at Lafayette Elementary in 1970, where she primarily worked with 2nd graders. She adored teaching and took personal responsibility for her students and was committed to their success with the curriculum. Marie truly believed in all of her kids. She expected a lot from them and was always very proud of how much they accomplished.

On August 26, 1961, Marie was united in marriage to the love of her life, Gary Carlson, at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Ulm. Their union was blessed with 3 children, whom they raised together on the family farm. Marie was very family centered, raising her children around family gatherings, camping trips, and many other activities. Many fond memories were made on their numerous trips to Lake Washington and up North in their remodeled school bus-turned-camper. They also enjoyed snowmobiling, camping, 4-wheeling, and fishing. Later in life, Marie and Gary purchased a lake home, spent a great deal of time and energy remodeling it, and turned it into their paradise in the deep woods.

After Marie retired from teaching in June of 1998, she continued to keep a very active life. She spent time going to her cabin, traveling, being involved in study club, reading, doing puzzles, volunteering for the Bloodmobile, going to church at First Lutheran in Lafayette, music, playing cards and boardgames with her family and many friends. She cherished the time she spent with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Although her passing is sudden, she will live on forever in our hearts. Blessed be her memory.

Memorials are preferred to Amyloidosis Cancer Research of Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN or Reach Out and Read of Minnesota.