Audrey I. Tessmer
Audrey "Tolly" Tessmer passed away peacefully in her home in Scottsdale, AZ on May 17, 2021 at the age of 93.
Tolly was born at home in Kensington, MN to Elmer and Hazel Tollefson and attended a one-room schoolhouse before moving to Alexandria from the family farm. Her adventures began on the family farm riding working horses with her father, milking cows with her cousins, cooking and sewing with her mother, listening to news and stories in Norwegian, and loving her baby lamb.
While studying home economics and design at the University of Minnesota, she modeled for the fashionable Young Quinlan store in downtown Minneapolis and was crowned Queen of the Minneapolis Aquatennial with flowers from her Alexandria sponsor Anderson Florist where she'd worked through school. She led the marching band as a majorette and was crowned homecoming queen at the U, dancing with big band icon Stan Kenton in a stylish outfit made by her mother. On a weekend home, she met Ken, also a UofM student from Alexandria who recently returned from the army. That was the beginning of her adventures with Ken, a partnership that inspired so many as they lived life to the fullest with love for over 73 years.
They wed in September 1949 and Ken joined the group that started KXRA, the first radio station in Alexandria. With grandparents at the lake and a draw to water, they built a cabin on Lake Darling, a place that would become their year-round home and be the spot where friends and family created so many enduring memories. And they danced, always dancing, showstoppers anywhere music played. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, games and so much more amid her groups of friends, bridge players to PEO. She was a sports enthusiast - playing tennis, golf, racquetball, skiing in the water and the snow - and a loyal fan of her Minnesota home teams all her days.
She embraced life and all those she encountered. She welcomed all to her home, and her friends and family will always know they were deeply loved. Many years as an interior decorator, she dressed many Alexandria homes. A gourmet cook, she set beautiful tables and created a loving home that revolved around food, comfort and sharing for friends and family who treasure her special touch.
Tolly is survived by the love of her life, Kenneth Alan Tessmer, two children, Steve (Patti) and Amy Sunderland (David), son-in-law Lew Card, four grandchildren (Nicole, Zachary, Lewis and Andrew) and seven great-grandchildren (Charlie, Parker, Jack, Lila, Clara, Addisyn and Lewis) and many dear nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her beloved daughter Julie and parents Elmer and Hazel Tollefson.
Memorials may be directed to the Lake Darling Lake Association and First Lutheran Church of Alexandria. Arrangements for a memorial service are pending