John L. “Tolly” Tollefson


Services for John L. Tollefson “Tolly”, 79, of Norfolk, Nebraska, will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 31st at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, in Norfolk, the Reverend Paul Hirsch officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be in the New Lutheran Cemetery. Military Honors conducted by United States Navy Honor Guard, American Legion Post 16 and VFW Post 1644. Home for Funerals is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Tollefson died Thursday, January 26, 2023, at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk.

John was born July 30, 1943, in Rochester, Iowa to Glenn and Antoinette (Postelle) Tollefson. He grew up in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, where he attended school and graduated high school in 1961. In 1963 his love of travel led him to enlist in the Navy, where he served for over 22 years, spending much of it on submarines. In the Navy he traveled to many places, such as San Diego, Maryland, Idaho, Rhode Island, Guam, and Scotland.

John was attending UNL when he met the love of his life, Carolyn Kayl. They married on August 23, 1969, at St. Paul’s in Norfolk and lived together in Lincoln for a short while, before moving to Hawaii, where their eldest son Eric was born. After briefly living in the San Francisco Bay Area, he took some extended time off where they explored across the country. They visited with family here in Nebraska and up in his home state Minnesota before moving to Massachusetts where their son Jason was born.

On August 31, 1986, John retired from the Navy and the Tollefsons moved to Norfolk to be closer to family. He went to work for the United States Postal Service in 1989 and enjoyed his job as a rural carrier in Creighton, Nebraska, until he retired in 2008. Even after retirement he continued to volunteer time, helping with various duties as a member of the Nebraska Rural Letter Carrier Association.

John greatly enjoyed spending time with family and friends. His dry sense of humor and jokes always made people laugh and endeared him to many. He loved Jeopardy, trivia, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku. He liked to play golf and shuffleboard when he could and was a big Husker fan.

Carolyn and John shared a passion for travel and their many adventures brought them to Hawaii, California, Massachusetts, and all over the United States, to name a few.

He is survived by his son Jason Tollefson, granddaughter Brooke Kube, great-granddaughter Everly Kube, daughter-in-law Kristine Elliott and sister-in-law Joanne Thietje.

He was preceded in death by his wife Carolyn, son Eric, one brother, and one sister.

Memorials can be directed to St. Paul’s Lutheran School or the American Legion.

Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

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