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Clarice Rae (Nelson) Tollefson

January 14, 1931 ~ November 11, 2021 (age 90)


Clarice Rae Tollefson, age 90, died November 11, 2021 surrounded by loved ones at her home in Brainerd, MN.  Clary was born January 14, 1931 in Crosby, MN to Clarence and Pearl (Olson) Nelson.  After graduating from Washburn High School she was employed downtown Minneapolis and took the streetcar to work.  She married Clark Tollefson in Minneapolis August 19, 1950. They lived in married student housing on the campus of Concordia College until Clark’s graduation in 1951 and then moved to Minneapolis where they started their family.  In 1957 they moved to Austin, MN and in 1970 to Brainerd, MN. 

Clary lovingly and graciously cared for her husband of 69 years and her children. She was an active member in many community and church groups in both Austin and Brainerd.  Clary saw beauty in the world around her and created beautiful works of art through wood chip-carving, oil and watercolor painting, decorating, and sewing clothing.  She thoughtfully created banners for the churches where she worshipped. Her artistry was evident in her homes where she created a place of peace and beauty, and graciously entertained family and friends. She was “Nana” to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren who brought her great joy.

Clary is survived by her children, Nancy (Robert) Bacon, Paul (Patricia) Tollefson, and Karen (Michael) Ellingson; grandchildren, Peter (Shandra) Tollefson, Leah (Jeremy) Swift, Tyler (Rachel) Bacon, Jon (Josh Crosson) Tollefson, Kirsten (Ryan) Siegle, Becca (Dan) Loman, and Reid (Macie) Ellingson; great-grandchildren Justine, Colton, Owen, Kennedy, Elin, Winston, Jones, and Hazel; and many nieces and nephews.

Clary was preceded in death by her husband; parents; twin sister, Cleone Potter; sister, Marilyn Diskerud; and son Thomas Tollefson.

A celebration of life will be held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, November 16, 2021, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brainerd.  Visitation will take place one hour prior.  Private interment will follow at Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery near Camp Ripley.

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