Josephine “Jo” Merle Edstrom, age 102, of Winona, died Tuesday, September 10, 2013, at her home at Sugarloaf Senior Living, where she was cared for by a very loving and attentive staff.
Josephine Kjelland was born June 19, 1911, in Minneapolis, Minn., to Joseph and Merle (Thomas) Kjelland. Jo attended Phelps School, graduated from Winona Senior High School, and from Winona State Teachers College. After graduation, Jo taught as a kindergarten teacher in Sioux City, Iowa. On June 15, 1938, she married Harold “Hal” Edstrom in Winona. He preceded her in death on February 23, 1996. She and Hal visited many parts of the world but she was happiest here in Winona.
Jo was a member of the First Congregational Church, Winona, for 99 years, where she was active in the Senior Choir, Women’s Fellowship and Dorcas Sewing Circle. She also was a member of P.E.O., the Daughters of the American Revolution, Portia, Chautauqua, and Ruskin clubs. Jo was a charter member of the WSU Century Club. She played the piano, violin — and drums in the family band — and actively supported the Winona Symphony Orchestra. Jo enjoyed reading, dancing, collecting dolls, writing, traveling, and entertaining grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She is survived by her children: Lee (Kathryn) Edstrom; Tom (Roxanne Pergola) Edstrom; daughter-in-law, Frances Edstrom; Nick (Lori) Edstrom and Nancy (Steve) Bachler; grandchildren: Cassidy Edstrom (Angie Ause), Morgan (Dan) Gish, Meg Edstrom, Luke (Katie) Edstrom, Katie Edstrom, Jenny Edstrom, and Jason Edstrom; step-grandchildren: Katie and Matthew Bachler; three great-grandchildren: Peyton and Andie Gish and Harry Ause Edstrom; sister-in-law, Mary Edstrom, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Hal, son, John, grandson, Jake, and brothers Kent and Robert.
Jo gave of herself tirelessly to her friends, family, church, and community throughout her long life. She had a nurturing spirit and seemed most content when other people were smiling, happy, and comfortable. She was a person who wanted to somehow keep delivering “meals on wheels” even after she couldn’t drive herself around. She was smart and talented and witty but never felt the need to be the center of attention. She was gentle and unassuming. She was patient and sweet to everyone she met and her kind smile and sage eyes made anyone in her company feel instantly welcome and at ease. She was an amazing woman, mother, wife, grandmother, and great-grandmother who will be missed dearly by us all. We can say all this with confidence. If you don’t believe it, ask her contemporaries.
The family would also like to thank the staff at Callista Court and Lake Winona Manor for their wonderful care of Jo.
Services to remember Jo will be held at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, September 22, 2013, at the First Congregational Church, Winona, with Rev. Timothy Forester officiating. Interment will be at Woodlawn Cemetery, Winona.
Visitation for Jo will be 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, September 21, 2013, at Fawcett-Junker Funeral Home, Winona, and beginning an hour before the funeral service at the church on Sunday.
Casket bearers will be her grandchildren.
Memorial donations may be made to the WSHS Hal and Jake Edstrom Music Scholarship, First Congregational Church Winona Organ Fund, WSU Hal Leonard Corporation Scholarship, or Winona Hospice Services.
Words of sympathy or remembrance may be left at www.fawcett-junkerfuneralhome.com. Services entrusted to Fawcett-Junker Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Winona, Minn.