Mavis Watnemo, age 96, of Fosston, MN, passed away on Sunday, June 4th, at Prairie Pines Assisted Living in Fosston. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, June 16th, at the Carlin Funeral Home in Fosston with Larry Watnemo officiating. Interment will be in Queen Cemetery, rural Fosston. Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the service on Friday (16th) at the funeral home. Arrangements are with Carlin Family Funeral Service of Fosston and messages of condolence may be shared at www.carlinfuneral.com.
Mavis Sue Watnemo was born March 30th, 1927 to Lewis and Selma Paulson in the Fosston, MN hospital. She grew up in the Mahnomen and Fosston area, and lived with her foster grandparents Edwin and Marie Nilstad for most of her teenage years. Mavis maintained a close, loving relationship with the Nilstads throughout the years until they passed away. Mavis attended school in Mahnomen, MN, and in the rural Moen school where she told stories about how the boys would eat their lunch while sitting on top of the outhouse. One can only speculate how they might have made their presence known if one of the girls had to use the outhouse.
Mavis married Vergil Watnemo November 23, 1944 at Samhold Lutheran Church in Gonvick, MN. They made their home just west of the creamery in Fosston where Vergil worked, and Mavis was employed at Vern's Red Owl; both had just a short walk to work every day. In 1968 following the death of Vergil's parents, they moved to the small farm in Queen township just outside the entrance into Cross Lake/Tilberg Park. This truly became their "happy place" where they could hobby farm, raise a few cattle, grow over-producing gardens, and create beautiful flower beds scattered across their large yard that slowed most cars down when driving by. Much of what they grew, especially Cherokee potatoes, was given away to family, friends and anyone who happened to stop by for a chat on the way to Cross Lake. Their home and hospitality truly became a magnet for many, especially on weekends when gas was cheap enough for people to enjoy a casual drive. On-lookers would often stop by for a chat. But then there was always coffee, lots of sweets, and sometimes even a full meal for those who lingered into mealtime. Their home was also a refuge for family members who needed a place of rest away from the stormy waters of life.
She worked at the Fosston egg station for 5 years candling eggs, Vern's Red Owl for 11 years, and then was employed as a nurse's aide at Fosston First Care Hospital for 20 years. She retired on April 4, 1995, only to be rehired as a personal care attendant in May, 1996. She opened the Good News Book and Gift Shoppe with Arlene Wold for a few years until selling her half to Arlene. She retired for the final time from hospital work in March, 2003 at the age of 76, eight months following Vergil's death. In September, 2004, she sold the farm house to Randy and Margarette Rue, while her son Larry purchased the surrounding agriculture acres adjacent to Tilberg Park. Mavis moved into an apartment on Larson Avenue in Fosston where she resided until transitioning into Prairie Pines Assisted Living in August, 2021. She was able to live at Prairie Pines until her recent death June 4th at the age of 96.
"I seldom missed a Twins game (radio or TV). I loved working with people in need at First Care. I always enjoyed family." These were her written sentiments that she requested for her obituary. She loved crocheting, sewing, quilting, bowling, gardening, and her wordbooks that occupied her hands when she could no longer do the hobbies she loved. She was a member of New Journey Baptist Church in Fosston. Most importantly, she wanted others to know she was a woman of faith in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and she was looking forward to the day when she would be released from her failing earthly body. She would often tell others, "I'm not going to be here long; I'm going home."
Survivors include one son, Larry (Treva) Watnemo, Moorhead MN; daughter-in-law Gail Watnemo, Crookston, MN; four grandchildren, Nicky (Pete) Casberg, O'Fallon, Ill, Trista (Nehil) Bejarano, Rio Rancho (Albuquerque) NM, Tami (Greg) Widmer, Vancouver, WA, Matthew (Brooke) Watnemo, Shoreview, MN. She has been blessed with 13 great-grandchildren. She has one surviving brother, Donald Paulson, several nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews whom she loved deeply. She was preceded in death by her husband Vergil, son Dale Watnemo, granddaughter Tania Marie Watnemo, parents Lewis and Selma, foster grandparents (the Nilstads), siblings Margaret, Lucille, Jeanette, Barbara, and Ronald, several cousins and many close friends in the surrounding Fosston community.
A special thanks goes out to the wonderful staff at Prairie Pines Community Assisted Living in Fosston who showed the love of Christ in tangible ways every day, and for their incredible ability to hold their own with Mavis with playful bantering and teasing.