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A Memorial Service for Marie A. Comstock of Roseau, MN will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2018 at 10:30AM at Helgeson Funeral Home in Roseau, MN. Visitation will be held on Friday, July 13, 2018 from 5-8PM with a time for sharing at 7PM at Helgeson Funeral Home in Roseau, MN. Interment will be held at Malung Cemetery.
Marie (Nelson) Comstock, age 99 died peacefully on July 7, 2018.
Marie was born November 1, 1918 to Axel and Christine Nelson. She was their second child out of six. Her grandma Karin was so proud that Marie walked at eight months and that she could navigate the open stairs. When Karin would go to visit her other children, Marie would miss her dearly. Upon her return, Marie would go along on her grandma's "chicken chores" to keep her company. Her parents instilled the value of volunteering and civic engagement. One of Marie's first volunteer opportunities was helping her dad raise money for the Malung Hall by selling tickets to the weekly dances, the best fundraisers, with the added benefit of dancing afterwards.
Marie had perfect attendance at school in grades one through eight at the Brandt School District #3 Malung Township school. She and Edla, her adopted sister, lived in town so Marie could attend high school until Edla was offered a job in Crookston. Marie was able to continue her schooling by staying with the Peterson's, the mailman's family, until she graduated in 1935 from Roseau High School. She attended school in Malung, Roseau, Warroad Teachers Training School and graduated from Moorhead State University. Marie taught in the rural schools from 1936 to 1942.
In the summer of 1942, she went to Seattle to work as an executive secretary at Boeing during World War II. She was thinking of staying there, but Albert Brandt reminded her that she was under contract to teach the coming school year and that there was a nice young man, Robert, waiting for her to come home. Robert and Marie loved to dance and did so over the years at the Malung Hall and Roosevelt. They were something to watch and glided quickly over the floor winning the Polka Dancers of the Year.
Marie and Robert married May 29, 1944 at the First Lutheran Church. They lived on and farmed Robert's family farm. Because they married "late" in life, they thought that they would only have one child, Roberta, their daughter. However, they went on to have six more sons. Marie was active in her children's lives and may have been one of the original hockey moms. The whole family would take day trips to the Lake of the Woods and to the blueberry patch. Marie, Granny (Christine) and the kids would take longer trips to spend time at the cabin or visit family living farther away. The ultimate example being the three car caravan to Mexico City and Acapulco, Mexico. In spite of these trips, Marie wrote over the years that when Robert would leave for hunting camp how lonesome she was when he was gone.
Marie continued to work off and on as a teacher and tutor over the years. She went back to college in 1962 to earn another license when Charles Christianson, the Roseau County Superintendent of Schools, asked her to become the first special education teacher in the county, which she did until retirement in 1982. In addition to teaching, Marie served on the Roseau County Welfare Board, the Northwestern Mental Health Center Board, the Roseau County Area Transit Board, Eventide and Sunburst boards, and most notably she was on the Roseau Area Hospital District Board for over 50 years.
She was very committed to volunteering and improving the lives of those in her community for which she was recognized with the 2004 Minnesota Rural Health Hero Award, the 1995 Roseau County Senior Citizen Award, and the 2010 Falun Woman of the Year Award.
After Marie's retirement, Marie and Robert began to travel more - visiting California, Connecticut, Amsterdam, Alaska, Churchill, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden many times. She was always quick to pack a suitcase if there was room in a car going somewhere interesting, but often said that it's nice to travel, but best to go home. "Hem är besta."
Marie was proud of her Swedish heritage and worked to keep strong ties with the old country. Growing up she learned Swedish from her parents and grandparents. Because they spoke the language they knew from the time they emigrated, Marie was one of the last speakers of Old Swedish. As such, she translated and wrote Old Swedish for family and church records. She was interviewed for a Swedish radio program and helped write a book that was published there. She loved to visit Sweden and speak with family and friends whenever possible. She passed on many phrases to her family for things that could only be said and understood in Swedish.
Marie was an intelligent, kind, and strong woman, who loved her family, neighbors, and community. Marie had a very close relationship with all of her brothers and sisters: Iver, Amy, Carol, Gloria, and Quintin. As their own families grew through marriages and births, there were larger family celebrations and more stories to tell. They all loved to laugh and a particularly good story is probably still being told by the next generation as if it happened only yesterday. Marie would occasionally say, while missing her brothers and sisters, that it was hard to be "the last quivering leaf on the tree."
Marie was a special mother, grandma and great-grandma. There was always a lap to sit and snuggle on. Nap time became special, climbing in to her bed with a story to help lull you to sleep. If Grandma knew you were coming, she would try to have your favorite treat ready or in the plans, whether it was something sweet or the potato dumplings that Grandpa could peel the potatoes for if you could get the potatoes "quick like a bunny.” She also was a good sport when her children and grandchildren would tease her - watching for her face to twist and pucker from the mere mention of lemon drops, her calling Kool-Aide "Nectar", or sending poor Grandma scrambling to make quick arrangements for the pretend visiting Swede on the phone. Grandma taught her young grandchildren how to play cards claiming all you needed to know was "high, low, jack, game", so that they could join in the nightly family games. It was a treat when Grandma and Grandpa were there to babysit. There was always room in bed for a grandchild or two, because "Grandpa liked to sleep on the couch."
She is preceded in death by husband Robert, parents Axel and Christine Nelson, and siblings Iver, Amy Maiola, Carol Hetteen, Gloria Hedlund, and Quintin. Survived by her children and their spouses: Roberta, Erling, Blane (Deanna), Joel, Willard "Bill” (Nancy), Roger "Pete" (Jane), and Lowell (Joanne), grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
We all were lucky to have so many good years with Marie, Mom, Grandma and Great-Grandma. We were astonished at how strong and intelligent she was until her final days, far exceeding all expectations. The family would like to thank the hospital and nursing home staff for their excellent care and the neighbors who continued to stop by the farm and the nursing home for a cup of coffee over the years.