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Lois Gjersvig

Jan. 31, 1922-Feb. 1, 2009

Lois M. Gjersvig, 87, of Detroit Lakes, died Sunday, February 1, 2009 at Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes, under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Lois Marie Cook was born to Leonard J. Cook and Lois (Dunn) Cook on Jan. 31, 1922 near Mohall, N,D. In 1926, the family moved to Fargo, and then to Richwood Township in 1931. Lois was an honor graduate of Detroit Lakes High School in 1940 and also attended Lutheran Bible Institute in Minneapolis. She married Henry Gjersvig on May 23, 1941 and joined him in farming, living in Holmesville Township for over 55 years. After Henry's death in 1999, she moved to Detroit Lakes.

Lois lived out her strong Christian faith through caring for family, friends and neighbors, and she generously gave her time to many community organizations. Music was an important part of her life and for over 52 years, Lois served as organist at Bakke Lutheran Church. Over the years, she held many offices in the women's organization there and in the Northern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Lois spent many years as a leader of the Holmesville Wide Awake 4-H Club. Although she had no Norwegian heritage, with her proud Norwegian husband, Henry, she participated in Sons of Norway activities and held several offices. Family history was important to her, and she collected family documents and letters that outlined her English roots.

Together with Henry, Lois supported many community groups including the Becker County Museum, Gideons, the DFL party, Emmanuel Nursing Home, Bethel Lutheran Chapel and several farm related organizations. In 1976, Lois and Henry were named Valley Farmer and Homemaker of the Year. If friends needed help, Lois and Henry were usually among the first to respond, often organizing neighbors to assist them.

Together with Henry, Lois traveled to all 50 states, Norway and several other European countries and to Costa Rica, when their son Tom was a Peace Corps volunteer. Disturbed by the poverty among Nicaraguan refugees they saw in Costa Rica, Henry and Lois helped organize a shipment of medical supplies for them.

Surviving Lois are her two daughters, Bonnie (Harold) Vastag of Green Bay, Wis., and Karen (Gary) Stenberg of Detroit Lakes; four sons, Wayne (Karen) Gjersvig of Baraboo, Wis., Harold (Vicki) Gjersvig of Tomah, Wis., Allen (Bev) Gjersvig of Mesa, Ariz., and Tom (Leita) Gjersvig of Mankato, Minn.; 13 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Preceding her in death were her husband, Henry (1999); parents; two sisters and eight brothers.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5 at the West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes, with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 6, at Bakke Lutheran Church in rural Detroit Lakes, with the Rev. Gregory S. Anderson officiating.

Casket bearers will be Paul Vastag, Brian Vastag, Mike Gjersvig, Beth Cooper, Emily Gjersvig, Eric Gjersvig, Brad Gjersvig, Tara Weatherly, Megan Gjersvig, Beret Stenberg, Linnea Stenberg, Mark Gjersvig and Kevin Gjersvig.

Burial will be in the Bakke Lutheran Church Cemetery, rural Detroit Lakes.

West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes has been entrusted with the arrangements. Those wanting to share memories and condolences are invited to use the funeral home's online messages of sympathy section at