Helen Elizabeth Tollerud
Jan. 11, 1923 – Mar. 8, 2019
Helen Elizabeth Tollerud, 96, of Esmond, ND passed away on Friday, March 8, 2019 at Sanford Palliative Care in Fargo, ND. Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11:00 AM Friday, March 15, 2019 at the St. Boniface Catholic Church in Esmond, ND with Fr. Brian
Bachmeier celebrating mass. Visitation took place Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the St. Boniface Catholic Church from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM with a Rosary and Vigil service that began at 7:00 PM. Visitation continued one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at the St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery in Esmond in the spring. Music was provided by Becky and Shelby Brandvold. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the donor’s choice in Helens name.
Helen Elizabeth was born during a blizzard on January 11, 1923 at the family farm near Selz, ND to John and Helen (Volk) Zerr. She graduated from Harvey High School in 1940, attended Minot State College and taught in country schools in Benson and Wells County, ND for eight years. Helen married Norman Tollerud on November 21, 1949 and they farmed near Esmond, ND. Helen enjoyed farm life and in her younger years, she often drove farm equipment helping Norman however she could.
While raising their family of five children, Helen was very active in the community. She served on several St. Boniface Catholic Church organizations, on the Esmond school board for several years, was a substitute teacher in the Esmond school system and was
one of the first Headstart teachers in Benson County. Helen was a life member of the VFW Ladies Axillary for 68 years. She joined the year after it formed and was the oldest living member at the time she passed.
Helen enjoyed gardening, sewing children’s clothing, crafts and quilting. Upon retirement, she learned to paint by oil and acrylics and entered regional art shows. Her paintings can be found in several businesses and homes throughout the community. Her talent was notable. One would not guess she had progressive macular degeneration when viewing her artwork.
Norman died May 14, 2001. Helen continued to live on the family farm until 2013 when she moved to Bethany Living Center in Fargo, ND. While at Bethany, she enjoyed reading by magnification, listening to Talking Books, playing bingo and participating in ND trivia games.
Above all things Helen loved, her grandchildren were her pride and joy. She loved to keep them busy in the kitchen getting their hands messy and clothes full of flour making pies and other delicious treats. She loved getting them outside and into her garden and flowerbeds to learn how to sow seeds and tend to plants. There were so many things to learn and do on the farm and she took every opportunity she had to teach her grandchildren all she knew. Canning, painting, sewing, manners, the correct way to set a table, how to use a rotary dial phone, the importance of a good education, and everything in between, Grandma Helen strived to instill the hard working ethic and traditions of time passed. Through them she lives on as they teach their own children the same valuable lessons.
Helen is survived by three daughters and two sons, Kathy (Hugh) Colvin of Fargo, ND; Helen Tollerud of Bartlett, IL; Joan (Terry) Olson of Eden Prairie, MN; Brian (Becky) Tollerud of Victoria, MN; Raymond (Michelle) Tollerud of Esmond, ND; 11 grandchildren, Elizabeth (Matthew) Rautenberg, Elaine (Mario) Olivieri and Maureen (Jeffrey) Simmons all of Fargo, ND; Jordan and Chelsea Olson of Eden Prairie, MN; Brent Tollerud of Madison, WI and Braden Tollerud of Victoria, MN; Shana (Grant) Lannoye of Cando, ND; Kaylee Tollerud of Esmond, ND and McKenna Tollerud of Esmond, ND; 10 great- grandchildren, Caiden and Layla Ackerman; Cole, Lucas and Marco Olivieri; Lauren and Madelynn Rautenberg; Corbin, Alaina and Camden Lannoye; sister, Lucille (Zerr) Weid-
meier of Bismarck, ND.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Norman Tollerud; granddaughter, Laura Ashley (Olson) Grunder; parents, John and Helen (Volk) Zerr ; brother, Victor Zerr; sister, Marian McIntee.
Online condolences may be left at www.thenelsonfuneralhome.com.
The Nelson Funeral Home of Maddock is in charge of the arrangements.
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