Tunheim, Lucielle (Starr) (1922-2011)

Lucille S. Tunheim, 88, of Pelican Rapids, MN and formerly of Newfolden, MN, died on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at North Country Health Services in Bemidji.

Lucille Starr Tunheim was born on September 15, 1922 in Pelican Rapids, the daughter of Mabel (Steen) and John Starr, Jr. who were both born to Norwegian immigrants. Her great-grandparents, Christopher and Joran Hoff Halvorsen, were among the first settlers in the Pelican Rapids area in 1869. Lucille was baptized and confirmed at Pelican Valley Lutheran Church. She attended school in Pelican Rapids and graduated from Pelican Rapids High School in 1940 as the salutatorian of her class. She worked her way through college at Concordia College in Moorhead and the University of California at Los Angeles, eventually graduating from Concordia College in 1946 with a teaching degree.

Lucille began her teaching career at Newfolden High School in the fall of 1946. On April 5, 1950 she was united in marriage to Raymond Tunheim in Pelican Rapids. She taught many students during her long teaching career in Newfolden, positively influencing hundreds of young people, many of whom in later years thanked her for being such a wonderful teacher and role model. She taught history, English, journalism, speech, and drama. She was an active member of the Minnesota Education Association and was chosen as Marshall County Central High School’s first Teacher of the Year in 1975. She retired from teaching in 1987.

During her ten-year absence from the classroom to raise her family, Lucille worked as an office assistant to her husband who was general manager of the Newfolden Cooperative Elevator Association. She was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Pelican Rapids and Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Newfolden, singing in the choirs and serving as Sunday School Superintendant in Newfolden. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Marshall County State Bank in Newfolden and the Pelican Rapids Public Library and as a member of the Concordia College Corporation.

Lucille enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, researching family history, traveling, especially to Norway, working in her gardens, reading and watching sporting events. She was a very active community volunteer in many capacities, and especially enjoyed driving people to medical appointments. She was a founder of the Newfolden Study Club and an active member of the Women’s Civic Club in Pelican Rapids.

After Raymond died in 1998, she moved back to her hometown of Pelican Rapids and enjoyed life in the city in which she was raised and at her lake home on Lake Lizzie. She especially had a wonderful time with special friend Cecil Femling, who survives her. Her daughter Julie was a loving and dedicated caregiver for Lucille in her later years.

Lucille is survived by her son John (Kathryn) of Stillwater, daughter Julie of Pelican Rapids, and son Robert (Katherine) of Orono; five grandchildren: Elizabeth Starr Tunheim (fiancé Matthew Sheets), Samuel John Tunheim, Robert John Tunheim, Amanda Starr Tunheim and Kristina Starr Tunheim; one brother-in-law, Robert Fielder; nieces Sheila Nelson, Deborah Loughran, and Lindsay Donaldson, and nephews Bruce Elseth, Leon Elseth, Deland Elseth, and Mark Fielder.

She was preceded in death by her husband Raymond, her parents, her sister Shirley Fielder, her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Lester and Senora Elseth, and her infant grandson, Thomas Hill Tunheim.

[Interred Oak Grove cemetery]

Transcribed by:  Cheryl Srnsky