Carolyn Lee Gehrke, 77, of Spicer, passed away on Sunday afternoon, September 26, at Unity Hospital in Fridley, MN. A celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 14, at Calvary Lutheran Church. Interment will be at the Spicer City Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Arrangements are with Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar. www.petersonbrothers.com
Carolyn Lee (Tostenson) Gehrke was born February 27, 1944 to Ernest (Bud) Tostenson and Eleanor (Wallace) Tostenson at the Montevideo hospital. She grew up on the family farm north of Montevideo. She was baptized and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in rural Watson. Carolyn attended school through 7th grade at rural District 72, then Montevideo and Milan High Schools, graduating in 1962. She attended the University of Minnesota, Morris and Willmar Community Technical College. Carolyn was employed by Chippewa County Welfare Department from 1965 to 1969. She was united in marriage to Ronald Dale Gehrke on June 21, 1969, adopting Ron’s daughters Debra and Vicki in 1972. Ron and Carolyn welcomed daughters Margaret in 1970 and Elizabeth in 1985. In 1968, Carolyn was the first instructor for the Chippewa County 4-H dog project, later running the project in Kandiyohi County and starting additional dog projects in several area counties. She served as judge for 4-H dog shows and taught dog obedience classes for the City of Willmar. She loved animals, reading, and jigsaw puzzles, and also enjoyed sewing and cooking. She worked part time at the Spicer library and attended Willmar Community College as a nontraditional student.
Carolyn is survived by her husband Ronald, daughters Margaret (Edward) Eastman of Minneapolis, Elizabeth (Andrew) Hatfield of Murdock, Debra Powell of AZ, and Vicki Krismer of CA, 4 grandchildren, and sister Elizabeth Tostenson of Willmar.
She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Nancy Tostenson.