Carol (Ouren) Toso passed away Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at the Pelican Valley nursing home, circled by family and love.
Carol Ardith Ouren was born December 31, 1933, to Peder and Myrtle Ouren on the family farm outside of Erhard, Minnesota. She was baptized at South Immanuel Lutheran Church, and throughout her life South Immanuel held a very special place in her heart.
For grades 1 – 8, she attended Sunnyside District 289 country school with younger siblings Janice and Ronnie, walking the two miles each way unless there was enough snow for her dad to bring them in the sleigh. Early memories include milking cows during harvest, separating milk and cream the rest of the year, and her least favorite chore: washing eggs. There were frequent gatherings at their home for picnics and music; her dad played fiddle and mandolin and Carol picked up piano by ear.
She graduated from Rothsay High School in 1952. Her first job was candling eggs at the Erhard Creamery, but she soon was hired in the office at Park Region Oil in Pelican Rapids. A few years later she started work at the bank, which at that time was called J.P. Wallace State Bank.
One day while she was shopping at Carr and Hanson Department store, she noticed an interesting young man checking her out between the aisles. Who first approached whom is lost to time, but he was Duane Toso and they were married August 18, 1956 at South Immanuel. They had three children. Duane accepted a position at Honeywell in 1960 and they moved to New Brighton for seven years before moving back to Pelican Rapids. Once their youngest child started kindergarten, Carol resumed her career at the bank, where she advanced through many roles until her retirement at age 62. After retiring from the bank, she enjoyed clerking auctions for several years and working at the gift shop at Dunvilla.
Over the years Carol and Duane took many camping trips with the kids, packing up the pop-up camper and heading out for weekends close by or cross country travel. Among her favorites were trips to Yellowstone and the World’s Fair in Spokane WA. They had an active social circle, with many card parties at home and frequent Saturday night dances at Perry’s, Foxhome, and Elizabeth. Once the kids were out of the nest, Carol and Duane enjoyed several trips to Arizona and Mexico. Carol surprised everyone by para sailing with sister-in-law Alice in Puerto Vallarta. But her favorite destination was Norway, which she visited twice.
Once the grandchildren started coming, they made frequent trips to the cities and Wisconsin and helped tremendously as the kids established homes. Grandma could happily play cards and games for hours and was never too tired to read a bedtime story. Two of her favorite volunteer experiences were running the annual blood drive for the Women’s Auxiliary at the VFW and as a faithful member of the Monday morning offering counting crew at Trinity Lutheran church.
Duane died in 2016, a few months shy of their 60th anniversary. Despite several health challenges over the last few years, Carol very much enjoyed life in her lovely apartment overlooking the river at Riverfront Manor until moving into the nursing home in October. She was preceded in death by her parents, Peder, and Myrtle; husband Duane; and sister Janice Marty.
She is survived by her children: Deb (Dave) Linde; Larry (Audrey) Toso; and David (Laura) Toso; grandchildren: Andrew (Kara) Linde; Alayna (Zach) Linde; Kayla Toso; Steven (Amy) Toso; Samantha Toso; Mitch (May) Toso; and Max Toso and fiancée Julia; and great granddaughters Emberlyn, Brooklyn, Eloise, and Nina. She is also survived by her brother Ron Ouren; in-laws Jim Marty, Alice Toso, and Bette Toso; many cousins and dozens of nieces and nephews.
Visitation was held Sunday, November 19 from 1-3 pm at Larson Funeral Home in Pelican Rapids. A Celebration of Life will be held at South Immanuel Lutheran Church on Friday, May 24, 2024. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that memorials be directed to South Immanuel Lutheran Church for ongoing ministries. Online memories and condolences may be shared at www.larsonfuneralpelicanrapids.com.