Kay Marie (Lillmars) Toenberg, 78, of Hermantown, MN departed this life to claim her eternal reward on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 after battling endocrine cancer. She was born to Verner and Audrey Lillmars in Duluth, MN on September 27, 1942.
Kay is survived by her husband of 58 years, Richard N. Toenberg; son, Christopher; granddaughter, Nevaeh; and grandson, Ashton, all of Hermantown. She is also survived by her sister, Linda Lillmars; nephews and their families, Andrew (Jenn) Hickman, Audrey and Alton, and Ken (Lori) Hickman, Owen and Cameron, all of Anchorage, AK; sisters-in-law, Joanne Daly, Pat Gooier with families Rickey (Karen) Gooier, Timmy and Carrie; Cindy Gooier and son, Ryan; Laura Gooier; Patrick Gooier; and many other wonderful cousins and friends.
Kay was preceded in death by her parents; maternal grandfather, Arthur Sahlin; and maternal uncle, Ken Sahlin. When Kay was 6 weeks old, her father, Vern, went off for 3 years to WWII. During her father's absence, Kay developed a lifelong bond with her grandfather Arthur and uncle Ken. She was also preceded by her much loved parents-in-law, Norman and Anne Toenberg; brother-in-law, Jim Daly; maternal uncle, Bruce Sahlin; paternal uncle, Bill Lillmars; as well as paternal aunts, Vivian Hahn, Vera and Viola.
In 1962, Kay and Richard were married at the tiny, old Concordia Lutheran Church, Woodland (Duluth), MN. Both sets of parents became dear friends. One of Kay's favorite memories was when both sets of parents decided to take a road trip to Burns Flat, OK to visit their kids. Dick was stationed there with the Air Force and that is where Kay developed her love for teaching young children. Because she didn't need a college degree to teach at that time, Kay was able to become a long term kindergarten substitute. When Dick got out of the Air Force, they moved their tiny (30’x8’) mobile home back to Duluth to live on the "cheap" while Kay went back to UMD to pursue a degree in teaching and to fulfill her and Dick's promise to her Dad that she would finish college. She specialized in Kindergarten and taught at Esko, MN for 4 years until they started their own family.
Kay thoroughly enjoyed arts and crafts. She was an excellent Tole painter and loved working with watercolors. She volunteered with Hermantown hockey and bowled in several different leagues. Kay's greatest love was ''Travel"! She researched and planned phenomenal trips. She and Dick traveled to China, before the Yangtze River was dammed and so much of the land was flooded, and to Europe. They took their motorhome touring all across America, oft-times caravanning with Jim and Joanne Daly to visit relatives in Arizona and California. Kay and Dick drove the Alcan Highway several times to Alaska. She organized a true "Surprise 5Oth" birthday party for her sister in Alaska by arriving unannounced with 7 friends and family members for a 10 day travel party!
Kay was devoted to her family. When she loved you, it was unconditional. She forgave pretty easily when someone crossed her, but if you crossed someone she loved, Kay would remember long after you forgot. When reminiscing in her last days, when someone's name came up, she'd recall kindnesses to herself or her family, and ask that her special gratitude be relayed to them.
In that spirit, a most sincere, ''Thank You!" for all the wonderful support of her family and friends; with a very special ''Thanks!" to the staff of the Hospice Unit at St. Luke's Hospital, Duluth, for your tender, compassionate care.
Because of the Covid situation at this time, a Memorial service has not yet been scheduled. Kay had asked that, in lieu of flowers, people make a contribution to your LOCAL food bank.
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