Gladys Josephine Haugen – Lefse Queen, Bingo Master, Quilter, Seamstress, Gardener, Baker – died peacefully on September 18, 2021. She was nearly 101 years old.
“Glady” grew up in northwest Minnesota, in the small town of Hill River, MN. She grew up poor in possessions, but rich in family with her mother Nora Bjerklie Gunderson, sister Irene, grandparents Anna and Peter Bjerklie, and later, her stepfather Nels Nelson and many more siblings. Music and shenanigans with her family was a common theme, with she and older sister Irene being the ringleaders!
After graduating from Gully High School, she was courted by Arnold “Arnie” Haugen and embraced by his many sisters, who taught her the art of baking “perfect cookies”, lefse, and bread. Arnold and Gladys married on September 27, 1940. She, Arnie and their first-born son Jerry moved to Proctor in the 1940’s for his job on the Duluth Missabe and Iron Range railroad. An unsung hero, Glady did her part for the war effort by working at the DM&IR when Arnie was sent overseas. An accomplished seamstress and doting aunt and godmother to Connie (Eck) Williams, Glady hosted her while Connie’s parents moved and sewed her several dresses. Connie enjoyed her stay so much she told her parents she wanted to stay and live with “Auntie.”
More children came along – Myles, Mark, Peggy, Jay and Mary Jo – and by 1962, Arnie and Glady packed up the kids and moved to Hermantown to a hobby farm. There, Gladys supported Arne’s work as a DM&IR engineer, managed her growing and extended family, and cultivated a lifelong love of gardening, coaxing anything to sprout up out of the soil once she put her hand to it. She particularly loved flower gardens, was an active member of the Proctor Garden Club and, more than once a prize winner for her beautiful flowers at the South St. Louis County Fair.
She was a lifelong member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church (now United Lutheran Church of Proctor) and enjoyed many service activities through the church – the Ladies Circle, Quilters, Lefse bakes.
She and Arnie were avid fair goers and volunteers. Gladys volunteered many years with the 4-H and South St. Louis County Fair in Proctor, including hold the position of poultry barn superintendent. Retirement highlights included many trips to the Minnesota State Fair, Scandinavian festivals, travels to Arizona and Texas with Arnie, spending time with her children and grandchildren, and the opportunity to ride alongside her husband in the convertible when Arnold was the grand marshal of the Proctor Hoghead Festival parade in 1991.
Though she lost Arnie in 1994, she remained active in her community and family. She had strong ties to her Norwegian heritage which was passed on to her children. She was an innate teacher; with lefse stick in hand, this “Lefse Queen” never failed to pass on a few tips and tricks to her daughters, daughter-in-law Cindy or granddaughters. She enjoyed playing cards and Bingo whenever she found the time – and particularly developed close friendships with her neighbors at Railview Apartments, where she lived until her physical health started to fail her.
Gladys was preceded in death by her husband, Arnold; and sons, Gerald and Myles.
Gladys is survived by her children, Mark (Karla) Haugen, Peggy (Joe) Hapy, Jay (Cindy) Haugen and Mary Jo (Eric) Jensen; goddaughter and niece, Connie (Jim) Williams; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Visitation will be held at 10:00 AM on September 27th at Sunrise Funeral Home, 4798 Miller Trunk Hwy, with Funeral Service to follow at 11:00 AM. Interment at Sunrise Memorial Park Cemetery with her husband. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred.
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