Virginia Ansorge

Virginia Pauline (Stanke) Ansorge, age 101, of Willmar, died Wednesday, October 7, 2020, at Bethesda Grand Nursing Home in Willmar. Her memorial service will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, October 12, at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Willmar.  Masks and social distancing will be required for those in attendance.  The service will also be live streamed on the church’s You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZdew_oyGClpG1q5OlUlRFA. Interment will be at Concordia Lutheran Cemetery in Fairhaven. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Lutheran Island Camp, Concordia Seminary, Lutheran Bible Translators, or the organization of your choice. Arrangements are with Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar, www.hafh.org.

Virginia was born on a farm near Webster, Minnesota, on July 14, 1919, as the third eldest of the 14 children of August and Alvina (Sandmann) Stanke. She was a life-long Lutheran whose love for and devotion to her Savior Jesus Christ was at the core of her very being. In 1940, she married Karl Ansorge, a Lutheran minister. They shared 41 years of marriage until Karl’s death in 1981. During their marriage, Virginia was his strong support as they served several congregations in Minnesota: from Iona to Parkers Prairie to Willmar to Baudette and finally Kimball/Fairhaven. They raised three children: Pauline, John, and Howard.

She was a woman who had a curious nature and was a voracious reader on a variety of issues. She was a faithful church-goer and regularly devoted time to reading her bible and daily devotions. She was also a woman of many talents who enjoyed working with her hands. She was a master seamstress, avid quilter, and prolific knitter, devoting much of her time to these activities until only months before her death. Also, as a devoted gardener, she had served as president of Willmar’s garden club and maintained a plot in Willmar’s community garden until she was 99. She was an active and regular blood donor until age 99, falling just one pint short of contributing 15 gallons. She baked her own bread every two weeks until she entered an assisted-care facility a few days before her 101st birthday. She won awards for her dark bread at the Kandiyohi County Fair. Each year during canning season, she canned numerous jars of tomatoes, peaches, pears, pickles and jellies. She also loved picking blue berries in the wilds of northern Minnesota, where she and her picking partners would sing hymns to keep the bears away. She continued all of these activities well into her 90’s.

Her activities in the church are practically too numerous to detail. She was active in and officer of the Ladies Aid societies at all of her churches. She was a life-long member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML), serving as a District President and enthusiastically attending virtually every district and national LWML convention into her late 90’s. She was the last surviving member of the core group that founded the Lutheran Island Camp in Henning, Minnesota. She dearly loved the Island Camp and regularly participated in its annual quilt auction, donating many quilts as well as purchasing many. A special quilt auction conducted in conjunction with the celebration of her 100th birthday raised $60,000 for the Island Camp.

She is survived by three children: Pauline (Robert) Kolb of St. Louis, Missouri; John (Kathy) Ansorge of Branson, Missouri; and Howard (Nancy) Ansorge of Chicago, Illinois; her grandchildren; two sisters: Marjarie Tonsager of Elko, Minnesota and Lila Hanson of Forest Lake, Minnesota; and other relatives and friends.

Virginia was preceded in death by her husband: Rev. Karl Ansorge in 1981; and eleven siblings: Roger Stanke, Howard Stanke, Elsie Hanson, Deloris Hanson, Ethel Oie, Mildred Erman, Raymond Stanke, Bertran Stanke, Harland Stanke, and Eldon Stanke.

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