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1935 Mary Norlien 2024

Mary Norlien

June 2, 1935 — April 30, 2024

Alexandria

Lois Mary Ann (Barsness) Norlien. 
 
Yes, her first name was Lois, although she loved her name Mary her whole life. 
 
Mary was born in Starbuck, MN June 2, 1935, to Peder and Louise (Nali) Barsness. She was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran and confirmed at Farwell Lutheran Churches. 
 
Mary attended and graduated from Glenwood High School. It was during high school she met her lifelong love Stan Norlien ... roller skating no less. They celebrated their marriage 64 years. What a love they had! Stan and Mary raised their four children Dawn, Jana, Scott, and Kris together teaching them loyalty, honesty, faith, love, and a lot of humor. 
 
In their first few years of marriage, they lived in Rockford, IL with a move to Farwell, MN to be closer to family after their first baby was born. In 1970 they moved to Alexandria, MN. They also enjoyed their beloved cabin on the north shore of Lake Mary for over 3 decades. 
 
Whichever church Mary was currently attending she gave of her time joyfully. She was an organist, Sunday school teacher and member of the Ladies Aide in Farwell. At First Lutheran Church in Alexandria she taught Wednesday school, was a "Friendly Visitor" and she was instrumental along with Pastor Sherry Billberg in starting Feed My Sheep. As the years turned to decades, she was active in Bible studies, sewing circles and the church library. She loved being a part of her church family. 
 
Mary loved people. She was a giver of herself. She loved to create social gatherings of family and friends. Mary had many friends young and old. As she grew older, she never forgot a friend and was thankful to them as well as family for their kindness and love. 
 
Mary loved music. She would sit at her piano and boldly play everything she could get her hands on from "Alley Cat" to "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring." She also taught piano for many years. Mary loved attending plays and musicals with her daughters and granddaughters. When she got home, she would sit at her piano to relive and play the music of Cats, Aida, Les Miserables (which she saw 7 times!) and many others. Her friends who enjoyed going with her to Alexandria Area Arts productions would also witness her joy watching the stage come alive. 

 
Mary was a voracious reader and writer. When she learned to read in grade school it changed everything. She had many favorites as a child and grew into enjoying non-fiction as well as fiction and always her devotional books. Her love of writing resulted in becoming a loyal journal keeper. But she also wrote many poems, odes and she collected quotes. Her creative side, never quiet, had her writing ideas for decorating and designing spaces. Then she would carry out those plans and create homey, lovely rooms. 
 
Mom loved to shop! Especially for clothes and pillows and gifts for her family and friends. She was driven to "do" and "go". If you asked her, "Would you like to go ... " she'd be up and ready in a minute flat. So, it's no surprise that when her grandchildren were born, she went to everything they did: concerts, plays, marching band parades, T ball, soft ball, baseball, soccer, football, basketball and rugby games. 
 
Mary was a good cook but possibly an award-winning baker! She loved having her grandchildren share her kitchen and bake with her. She taught her daughters the importance of Norwegian heritage foods and she loved learning new ways to cook fish from her son. Mom's backdoor was always open to everyone. Her kitchen was the hub. 
 
Mary was preceded in death by her beloved husband Stan, parents, an infant brother, brother's-in-law Steve Olson, Don Madsen and Maurice Dosdall. Brother and sister-in-law Kenneth and Doris Norlien. Brother-in-law Arley Norlien. Many aunts and uncles. 
 
Mary is survived by her four children Dawn (Dave) Prchal, Jana (Steve) Maack, Scott (Becky Whiting) and Kristin Norlien-Kirn (Kent). Her 7 treasured grandchildren Nali Prchal and husband Neil Lindner, Brody (Sarah) Maack, Whitney (Micah) Savage, Dominic (Emily) Christofilis, Kyle (Ashley) Christofilis, Heather (Nick) Kamphake, and Rachel (Travis) Lian. Her 16 great grandchildren Luna, Eli, Gus, Lola Louise, Athena, Cameron, Luka, Molly, Gunner, Chloe, Gage, Chasity, Mackenzie, Kylie, and Connor. Mary's sisters Linda Olson and Ardis Dosdall and brother Max (Maryann) Barsness. Many beloved cousins, nieces, and nephews. 
 
The last part of Mom's journey at Knute Nelson and on Hospice was a gift of love to her. She enjoyed meeting her new neighbors and visiting them. The staff was never to be referred to as "staff" or their job titles. Mom loved them individually, and always by name, they were her dearest friends. She was, as we are, so appreciative and grateful for these caring and gracious humans. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 
 
Mary loved the color white. Mom loved Jesus. Mom loved Dad. Mom loved her son and daughters, and Mom was crazy about her grand kids. Mom loved her loyal friends who sometimes visited her 3 or more times a week. We thank you! It was most important to Mary, Mom, Mimi that we all knew how much she loved us. We know. We are so happy for her. We LOVE her and her physical absence will be missed. But she is always with us, treasured deeply in our hearts. 
 
Mom, enjoy EVERYTHING. See you later. 

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