Arlette Olive Louise Olds was born June 29, 1921 in Friberg Township, Ottertail County, to Elsworth and Lucille (Kugler) Olds. She was baptized and later confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, MN, and as a child, attended Country School #159 through the 8th grade. Ever the hard worker, young Arlette kept busy doing housework for others, while also venturing out to Gary, Indiana to work as a nanny and housemaid before moving back to Fergus Falls, where she met the love of her life, Morris K. Swenson. The two were united in marriage on March 28, 1942 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, and shortly after moved to a farm near Hoffman, MN, where they raised their two little girls, Patricia Elaine and Priscilla Jo. Arlette was a creative and resourceful mother, sewing clothes, making her own patterns, and crafting outfits for her daughters’ dolls. Her girls also loved coming home from school to baked bread, lefse and pies.
Arlette earned the status of hard-working farm wife for 38 years as Morris’ truly devoted help-mate. Pat and Priscilla fondly recall their parents’ love of music, observing Morris playing music on his accordion by ear as he could not read sheet music, and watching their parents dance their way through marriage in their kitchen to “In the Mood” and other Big Band music. After 38 years of dancing and farming, the couple retired and moved to Alexandria where they became members of Bethesda Lutheran Church and Arlette was an active member of ALCW. Arlette and Morris also enjoyed life as winter snowbirds, spending what Arlette would term, “the best years of her life” in Phoenix, Arizona, until Morris passed away in 1994. After Morris’ passing, Arlette continued to live in their home and found joy in her role as a familiar face to many as a sample lady at Elden’s foods. Showing love meant sharing food to Arlette, whether it be samples at the grocery store, or famously delicious baked-goods from her own kitchen. Despite being known affectionately as a “tough old bird” by her family, Arlette will be remembered for her devotion to her family. A lady of diverse interests, she loved to travel in RV’s, play cards with family, socialize, crochet, sew, quilt, and grow produce in her vegetable garden.
On Tuesday, June 18th, 2019, at the seasoned age of 97, Arlette passed away at Edgewood Vista in Alexandria. Her family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff of Edgewood Vista, Hospice of Douglas County, and all those that called Arlette mom and friend, for their impeccable care, companionship, and devotion. She is preceded in death by her parents, Elsworth and Lucile Olds; husband, Morris Swenson; and three sisters, Evelyn Stensrude, Fern Dahl, and Ermal Whipps.
Left to share her memory are her daughters, Patricia Eral and Priscilla (Brian) Randin; grandchildren, Roma (Christopher) Olson, Heather Schultz, Eric (Cathleen) Sletten, and Christopher (Dena Kim) Sletten; 9 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
A visitation for Arlette will be held Sunday, June 23rd from 4-6 PM at the Anderson Funeral Home and continue at Bethesda Lutheran Church on Monday, June 24th from 12-1 PM, followed by the funeral service at 1 PM. Interment to follow at Evergreen Cemetery.