Cover photo for Magdalene "Maggie" Grace Carlson's Obituary
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1921 Magdalene "maggie" 2020

Magdalene "Maggie" Grace Carlson

April 23, 1921 — January 27, 2020

Magdalene “Maggie” Carlson of Rush City passed away Monday, January 27, 2020 at Catholic Eldercare on Main in Minneapolis at the age of 98.

Magdalene Grace Skluzacek was born at the farm home southeast of Pine City, she was the third of five children born to Ludwig (“Louis”) and Christine Skluzacek: Alice Marie (who died at 6 months), Cele, Magdalene “Maggie”, Leo and John.  She had fond memories of playing on the farm, two rows of trees planted west and north of the farm became their outdoor playhouse.  They would sweep the dirt “floor” bare until their dad scolded them about scraping the dirt from the tree roots, then they would have to move to a new location.  She remembered lots of good eating, her parents had a big garden and orchard and preserved all of the fruits and vegetables.  Her mother baked delicious breads, sweet rolls and kolaches and they could eat all they wanted.  During threshing time huge meals were prepared for the farmers who came to help, including cookies, pies, cakes and other goodies in addition to the main meal.  Maggie’s job was to help in the kitchen, set the table and wash dishes but she remembers this as a happy time of shared work and fun.

The farmhouse was cold in the winter, in the evening the family huddled around the coal-burning stove in the dining room and took warmed flatirons to bed with them.  Another wintertime memory was neighborhood gatherings, the women would take turns creating delicious meals in their kitchens with no modern conveniences, wood-burning stoves and a hand pump at the sink for running water were the order of the day.  Maggie remembers her mother as loving and patient but her dad as being worried a lot.  Of course, this was during the Depression which was followed by years of drought and heat. Grasshoppers ate what few crops grew, and very little was harvested from the garden to preserve for winter.  Regardless of those tough times, Maggie had mostly fond memories of growing up on the farm.  When times were better in 1933, theirs was one of the first farms to get electricity and she said she would never forget how the whole house lit up at one time, including the yard light.  There were two bedrooms upstairs for all six of them and one closet to share, they slept on cornhusk mattresses.

Maggie attended a one-room schoolhouse called District 28, the teacher taught all students in grades 1-8.  There were 3 students in her 8th grade class, so her freshman class of 110 students at Pine City High School was a difficult transition.  She said school was hard but she excelled in her studies and especially enjoyed home-economics class where she took an early interest in sewing.  Maggie loved sewing all through the years, first sewing clothes for her brothers and herself and later for her children.  She made summer outfits, school clothes, fancy dresses for Easter and family weddings, and even sewed snowsuits for her children.  She enjoyed making doll clothes for her daughters and to sell at Nessel’s Hardware store.  Maggie continued sewing through the years, and into her late 80’s was still creating t-shirts for the great-grandchildren. 

Maggie met Waldo Carlson at a hayride at Anton Karas’ farm, she said “our eyes met and sparks flew.” New Year’s Eve they met again at the Topic Ballroom, she had made a red wool dress for the occasion and her mother said “if you don’t get a boyfriend in that dress, you never will.”  Waldo asked to take her home that night and according to him it was “love at first sight.” When he went to war he asked for a picture, she had one taken for him wearing that red dress and he carried it with him all through the war.  During their courtship, Maggie’s sister Cele started dating Wendel Carlson and the four of them had great fun together.  They would all squeeze into Wendel’s coupe and take off for dances at the Topic and Streamliner dance halls. 

As the war was escalating in Europe, young men were required to sign up for a year’s training.  Waldo left for training in March of 1941.  After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he got his orders and went to tell Maggie he was leaving for war.  He sang “You Are My Sunshine” to her for the first time and it became their song, over the years it has become a family tradition to serenade her with their “Sunshine” song.  Waldo’s service years spanned almost 5 years, it was a lonely and difficult time for both of them but they rejoiced when he returned safely.  While he was in the war, Maggie and Cele lived together in an apartment over Biederman’s gas station.  Maggie worked at the Mercantile for one year, Lilja’s drug store for another year, and then went to work at the Ration Board.  Maggie and Waldo were married May 7, 1946 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Pine City.  They lived in Pine City for a couple of years, first in the apartment above the gas station then in a little house near Cross Lake, daughters Margaret and Mary were born during this time.  They moved to Rush City in 1950 and bought a new home across the street from George and Isabel Olson.  Five more daughters joined the family, Maxine, Mae, Marsha, Marcy and Melanie. 

Waldo worked as a barber in Rush City to support his growing family and Maggie was happy in her role as mother and homemaker.  During those years, Maggie was involved in many volunteer activities including Altar and Rosary Society, American Legion Auxiliary, VFW Auxiliary, Fireman’s Auxiliary, and serving as Sacristan for Sacred Heart Church, caring for the priests’ garments.  She participated in all of the Sacred Heart’s festivals and other activities and helped create and tend gardens at the church and in the community.  Maggie belonged to canasta and 500 card clubs, and enjoyed gathering with her friends at Sewing Club, a group that continued to gather every month for over 60 years.  Along with other young mothers, she created a group similar to Brownies and Girls Scouts which they named the Fairies, she also helped form Rush City’s 4-H Club.

Maggie and Waldo planted a huge garden every year which provided fresh produce through the summer and preserved food for winter eating.  Shelves in their fruit cellar were filled with jars of fruits and vegetables, but she was most famous for her mixed pickled vegetables.  She loved spending time in her flower and vegetable gardens, and especially enjoyed exhibiting garden items, baked goods and sewing projects at the Chisago County Fair.  They entertained all the priests who served in Rush City during those years, including Fathers Payant, Bigot, Gessner, Johnson, Huar and Xavier.  They all had a place at Maggie’s and Waldo’s table and were welcome to share their garden vegetables.   Maggie was a great cook and enjoyed baking, she filled the house with wonderful smells as she prepared home-cooked meals, breads and sweets.  She was also a wonderful hostess, gathering family, friends and neighbors to her home for coffee parties, pot-luck dinners, birthday parties, county fair activities, family reunions, and strawberry shortcake parties using her fresh-picked berries.  In later years, Maggie took a job at Siler’s Drug Store and Cele’s Fashion Shop.  Even into her 70’s she continued to work outside the home using her cooking and baking skills as part of Rush City Hospital’s food service. 

Maggie lost her sweetheart in 1998 after more than 51 years of marriage.  When asked the secret of such a long and happy marriage, Maggie responded: “the important things are commitment, to love and be loved, and to see God in your partner and in everyone.”  After Maggie celebrated her 90th birthday, she decided to sell her home of 61 years and move to the Cities to be closer to her daughters.  She resided at the Boulevard Apartments in Columbia Heights, a part of Crestview Senior Community.  Maggie spent 5 wonderful years there enjoying the companionship of new friends.  At age 96, a fractured back sent her to the hospital and finally to Catholic Eldercare in NE Minneapolis where she lived for almost 3 years.  Among the many memories she leaves behind is her sweet smile which was a constant presence.  It was a gift to everyone she greeted.

Maggie is survived by her daughters Margaret (Tom) Holzinger of Bloomington, Mary (Don) Karas of Blaine, Maxine Evenson of Asheville, North Carolina, Mae Siljendahl of Duluth, Marsha (Mike) Wagner of Minneapolis, Marcy Carlson of Minneapolis and Melanie (Greg) Lunzer of Robbinsdale;

Grandchildren:  Todd Holzinger, Scott (Krissa) Holzinger, Rachael (Barrett) Sullivan, Jason Karas, Melissa (Robert) Adams, Joshua Evenson (Ali Johnson), Eric Siljendahl (Michelle Lisowski), Jamin Siljendahl (Jessie Peloquin), Chris (Emily) Siljendahl, Megan Lunzer and Madeline Lunzer; Great Grandchildren:  Braydon Holzinger, Morgan Garbrecht, Jackson Holzinger, Abbigail Sullivan, Alexandra Sullivan, Kayla (Jeremiah) Jansen, John Stone, Chris (Caitlin) Stone, Zach Andriuli, Sean Adams, Caleb Evenson, Alyssa Siljendahl, Ben Siljendahl, Barry Siljendahl, Hailey Siljendahl, Adam Siljendahl; Great-Great Grandchildren:  Amiyah Siler, Mario Siler, Ryder Jansen and Robin Stone; Sisters-in-Law:  Carol Skluzacek and Verna Carlson, many nieces and nephews

Maggie is preceded in death by:  Parents Ludwig (Louis) and Christine Skluzacek, husband Waldo Carlson, sisters and brothers Alice Skluzacek, Cecelia (Wendell) Carlson, Leo (Lucille) Skluzacek, John Skluzacek, son-in-law Bob Waltuch and great-great grandaughter Aaliyah Rose Siler.

Monsignor Aleksander Suchan will celebrate Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 AM; Friday, February 7, 2020 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Pine City.  A Rosary will be recited at 9:00 AM with a time of visitation and reviewal one hour prior to the Mass all in the St. Anthony Commons Area at church.  The interment will take place in Calvary Catholic Cemetery of Pine City.

Memorials in Maggie's memory may be directed to: Immaculate Conception CCW, 535 8th Street, SW, Pine City, MN 55063; American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 15829; Arlington, VA 22215 or a charity of the donor's choice.

Funeral arrangements for Maggie Carlson are entrusted to: Funeral and Cremation Service of Rush City, Olson Chapel.
www.FuneralAndCremationService.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Magdalene "Maggie" Grace Carlson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Rosary

Friday, February 7, 2020

9:00 - 9:30 am (Central time)

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

535 8th St SW, Pine City, MN 55063

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Visitation

Friday, February 7, 2020

9:30 - 10:30 am (Central time)

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

535 8th St SW, Pine City, MN 55063

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Mass of Christian Burial

Friday, February 7, 2020

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

535 8th St SW, Pine City, MN 55063

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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