Mavis Constance Abbe, age 90, was born April 17, 1933 to Hilmer and Annettie (Brudvig) Wermedal at Scarville, IA. She passed away on Monday, January 15, 2024 at St. John’s on Fountain Lake. Memorial Services will be held at Bayview Freeborn Funeral Home in Albert Lea, MN on Saturday, January 20. Visitation will be held at 1pm, and service at 2pm with a luncheon to follow.
She lived on farms near Emmons and Kiester, attending country schools. After graduating from Kiester High School in 1950 she worked as a receptionist for C.D. Snyder, MD in Kiester and later at Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea. She met her future husband on January 14, 1951 at a cousin’s wedding dance. She married Dwaine Abbe on September 14, 1952 at Scarville Synod Lutheran Church in Scarville, IA. They made their home in Alden, MN in a home they built in 1954. They continued to live in their home until 2017, when they relocated to Water’s Edge, a St. John’s independent living community in Albert Lea.
Music was always a big part of her life, as she did much piano accompaniment and served as a church organist. She worked as a church secretary at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Alden and then as an Accounting Clerk at The Albert Lea Tribune. She also worked part-time as a service professional at Herberger’s department store in Albert Lea. She was a member of First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.
Enjoying the outdoors, the family spent much time camping, snowmobiling, boating, biking, and walking. She always enjoyed the programs, concerts, and sporting opportunities that her children and grandchildren were involved in. She enjoyed her Birthday Club, Red Hat groups, HRRVC (Holiday Rambler RV International Camping Club) and being with friends. Some of her favorite activities were roller skating (when she was young) and dancing - including country line dancing - as she matured. She also sewed, did needlework, played in card clubs, did scrapbooking, and was a master seamstress.
She and Dwaine spent 17 years wintering in Pharr, Texas. While in Texas, she volunteered at the McAllen Medical Center. They spent another six years wintering in Surprise, AZ, where they spent many weeknights dancing at the Tiki Bar. She kept a journal of their daily activities and adventures.
Enjoying travel, she and Dwaine took trips to Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada - including memorable summer camping trips to Canada to pick blueberries. Whenever possible, she and her family would travel with her husband for his work. They spent summers living in San Francisco, CA and Newport News, VA.
She was a baker and always had homemade desserts and treats either in the freezer or on the counter, ready for company to enjoy. Christmas day always brought lutefisk, homemade lefse, and kringle. Her handwritten recipes will carry on for generations - especially her cheesy potatoes, scalloped corn, and salted nut roll bars.
Mavis had a sharp sense of wit, and a twinkle in her eye. She was incredibly pragmatic, always organized, and an eternal optimist. She was resilient, and the kind of woman who would get stuff done. She was also incredibly kind; her strongest critique was, “That’s interesting.” She had a continuous lucky streak that lasted her whole life. Good luck ever playing her in Bingo, and she was always winning prizes.
Family and friends were very important with her, and she made instant life-long friends wherever she went. As a strong, independent woman and a loving wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend, she will be greatly missed. Memorials may be directed to Albert Lea Hospice or Peace and Power.
She is survived by her two daughters, Diane (Dan) Nielsen of Maple Grove, MN, and Cindy (Charles) McCulloch of Surprise, AZ; and son Daniel (Anne) Abbe of Maple Grove, MN. Grandchildren Jennifer (Ben) Kane of Washington, DC; Jared (Joelle) Nielsen of Decorah, IA; Jeffrey McCulloch of Merrifield, MN; Kevin McCulloch of Crosslake, MN. Great-grandchildren Levi and Tucker McCulloch; Maci, Kai, and Mia Nielsen; and William and Jack Kane. Sister Elaine Kluender of Albert Lea, MN; sister-in-law Mary Ann Thomas of Apple Valley, MN, sister-in-law Lorna Wermedal of Mankato, MN; special niece Sue Carlson of Mankato, MN; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years Dwaine Abbe, her parents Hilmer and Annettie Wermedal, sister Phyllis Carlson, brother Donald Wermedal, father- and mother-in-law Walter and Melita Abbe, brother- and sister-in-law Bernard and Marilyn Abbe, brothers-in-law Roy Carlson, Alvin Kluender, and David Thomas.