Meryl O. Rasmussen

July 31, 1933 ~ October 30, 2021 (age 88)


Meryl Olive Rasmussen, of Baudette, MN died at peacefully at age 88 on October 30, 2021 of cancer after enjoying many years in remission. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Thursday, November 18 at the First Congregational Church in Baudette. Visitation will be 5:00-7:00 pm on Wednesday, November 17 at Helgeson Funeral Chapel in Baudette.

Meryl was born July 31, 1933 in Austin, Manitoba, to George and Olive (Morris) Graham, the youngest of their three daughters. She graduated from high school in Austin in 1950, and then went on to attend the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, obtaining a Bachelor of Science (Home Economics) degree in 1954. Her education continued throughout her life. She had many in-service training sessions through her employment with the University of Minnesota Extension Agency, and took numerous community education classes and college extension courses. She was a voracious reader. Her natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge were insatiable.

She moved to Minnesota in 1954 after accepting a position with the Minnesota Agricultural Extension Service as a home demonstration agent in Bagley, MN. She nurtured existing 4-H clubs and established home study groups for the purpose of delivering educational offerings from the University of Minnesota.  While employed there she met the love of her life, Donald Edwin Rasmussen in 1956. They dated for a few weeks until Don was deployed to Japan by the US Air Force. They corresponded daily for the next year and were married in a small ceremony in Winnipeg on November 2, 1957, after Don retired his commission as Captain in the USAF.

The young couple briefly moved to Gary, Indiana, where Meryl was about to begin a career as the co-host of a morning show for a local television station there. Those plans were tabled by an unexpected pregnancy, so they moved back to Minnesota where Don began his college studies at Moorhead State University. After the birth of their first child (David), Meryl returned to work to help support the family. As program director for the YWCA in Fargo, ND she directed the teen council, organized group activities, and worked with the Board of Directors to offer adult education courses. In 1960 she took a second job as field director for the Red River Valley Council of Camp Fire Girls, where she planned and administered activities to meet national standards of that organization.

The family moved to Baudette, MN in 1961 after Don graduated with his engineering degree and took a job as a math teacher at Baudette High School. Meryl worked as a substitute teacher.  In 1962 she gave birth to their second son (Dane).  The family moved to Roseau County in 1963 when Don returned to federal service by accepting a job with US Customs. In 1964 Meryl gave birth to a third son (Scott). The family returned to Baudette in 1966 when Don was transferred there. Meryl remained active as a Scout leader, 4H leader, with church and community groups, as well as writing a weekly column for the local paper. The family moved frequently in the course of his career, but they called Baudette home for the rest of their lives, returning several times and settling there permanently after retirement.

Meryl gave birth to a daughter (Heather) in 1971, and at the end of that year the family moved to Washington, DC, after Don had accepted a position as systems analyst for the Department of the Treasury (US Customs). Meryl stayed busy raising her children, being deeply involved in their formal, religious and cultural education with frequent family trips to museums, theater and concerts. She planned tours of the nation’s capitol, which included visits to historic landmarks, centers of power, and most wings of the Smithsonian Institute.  She also worked as a food columnist for the Loudon County Times-Mirror.

In 1973 the family returned to Baudette when Don accepted the position of Port Director there. Meryl continued to manage the household and kept the home fires burning when Don’s career required him to travel overseas for a month or more. She continued to work as an Extension Home Economist for Lake of the Woods County as part of field staff for U of MN Extension Service, implementing their annual work plan through volunteer management, open meetings, leadership training, and by writing a weekly newspaper column.

The family moved to Brunswick, GA in 1982 so Don could teach at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. They returned to Baudette briefly at the end of 1983 before moving to Winnipeg, where Don was Director of US Customs at the Winnipeg International Airport. During their time there, Meryl enjoyed being close to her mother and sisters, nieces and nephews, as well as golfing and trips to Assiniboia Downs to play the ponies,

In January, 1988 Don retired and the family returned to Baudette for the last time. Once their kids had grown and moved away from home, Meryl and Don became "snowbirds", splitting their time equally between Baudette in the milder months and warmer climes in winter. They eventually purchased a place in the Rio Grande Valley near Mercedes, TX and for fifteen years or more that was their winter retreat. The friendships they forged there were a joy to them. Meryl often spoke in glowing terms of her "La Floresta family".

 Meryl remained involved in bridge club, homemakers` club, Cancer Society, Red Cross blood drives, and voter registration at election time. She served as an election judge for many years, volunteered her time with the local library and served on the district board of the Arrowhead Library System for twelve years. Meryl was a member of First Congregational Church in Baudette, MN for 60 years and was on the Board of Deacons, serving multiple terms as chairman of that group. She volunteered as a hospice worker, and was active with the District Committee for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She always put the needs of others before her own, and never failed to make time for a friend in need.

Meryl pursued many diverse interests. A talented seamstress and craftsperson, she made clothing for her family, produced a vast inventory of needlework, embroidery and petit point art, not to mention many hand crafted pillows and blankets. She loved to learn new skills, and purchased a set of woodcarving knives in her last year after she took a class in that discipline. She enjoyed playing cards or other games with family and friends, cooking and baking, gardening and flowers, and celebrating holidays and special events. She was an avid golfer, and that was one of the things she and Don most enjoyed doing together. Another was dancing.

Meryl is survived by her sister, Donna Beaudry (Vancouver, BC); sister-in-law, Ann Wennberg (Fargo, ND); children, David Rasmussen (Baudette, MN); Scott Rasmussen (Becker, MN); Heather Rasmussen (Baudette, MN); grandchildren, Zachary Rasmussen (Okinawa, Japan); Isabella Rasmussen (St Cloud, MN); many nieces and nephews, and countless friends,

She is preceded in death by her husband, Donald Rasmussen; son, Dane Rasmussen; parents George and Olive (Morris) Graham; sister, Betty Mitchell; sister-in-law Betty Prosser; and many lifelong friends. Meryl retained her intellect and zest for life to the very end. She had a rich, full, extraordinary existence and she left this world peacefully, with her earthly affairs in order. The transition was difficult at times, but she never complained, and was able to say her goodbyes to the people she loved best. Meryl will be sorely missed by those she leaves behind, but we take solace in knowing she is beyond pain, and dancing with her darling Donnie once again in the Great Beyond.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests you instead make a donation in her memory to the American Cancer Society or Red Cross International.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Meryl O. Rasmussen, please visit our floral store.

Prayer Service


Memorial Service
November 18, 2021

2:00 PM
First Congregational Church (Baudette)

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