Lynn Elisabeth (Oliver) Thoen, 83, of Crookston, Minnesota, died Thursday, May 2, 2019 at the Villa St. Vincent with family by her side. As Lynn requested, there will be no service.
Lynn was born on April 13, 1936, in Fargo, North Dakota, the daughter of Loren and Grace (Westenborg) Oliver. She grew up in Fargo, attending public school and the First Congregational Church. She graduated from Fargo Central High in 1954. During her youth, Lynn developed her love of volunteering and service to others with involvement in a variety of clubs and activities, both social and service-oriented.
Lynn pursued higher education at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. While in school, she met her future husband, Orion Thoen, and following a whirlwind romance they were united in marriage on December 17, 1957 at the Mendenhall Presbyterian Church in East Grand Forks, MN. Lynn graduated from UND in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, (Art Major/Natural Science Minor). While Orion was finishing his university degree, Lynn taught art at Grand Forks Central for a year and worked as staff artist at KNOX and KTHI television for three years.
Lynn and her young family lived in Hallock, St. Paul and Fargo for a brief time before settling in Crookston in 1963. Lynn was a very active member of her community, using her gifts and talents by teaching AAUW art classes to children and she rarely turned down a request to create a poster for a community event. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church where she served as an Elder, Deacon and VBS teacher. She was a member of the Newcomers Club, Parent Teacher’s Association, Business and Professional Women, Pallathene Study Club, and Pioneer Days Association. Lynn volunteered with the Chamber of Commerce, RiverView Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and Home Delivered Meals, where she served as Board Chairman. Lynn was a charter member of both the Crookston Development Authority and the Joint Recreation & Education Board. She was a member of the Mrs. Jaycees and was supported her husband as a “Mrs. Elk.”
In 1969, Lynn was elected Alderman for Crookston’s Ward 7, a position she held for 24 years. At the time she didn’t know she would be the first woman elected to Crookston City Council – she was just passionate about serving her community. In 1972, Lynn received the honor of being named Minnesota’s Outstanding Young Woman. In her time as Alderman, Lynn was fortunate to serve as chairman of many city government committees. She spent countless hours helping Sampson’s Addition and the City of Crookston avoid the threat of flooding and was incredibly happy to see the final flood protection plan in place!
From providing sandwiches for flood workers at Chet Dahlgren’s Machine Shop to selling books at the Friends of the Library annual sale, Lynn tired to make life better for her family and friends in whatever way she could, all while raising three daughters: encouraging a passion for reading and encouraging their individual artistic talents, preparing wonderfully exotic meals like fondue or shish kebab, sewing clothes, and making life an adventure with card table blanket forts and sharing leadership duties with her husband, Orie, for the Thoen Family Kazoo Band and “Recreational Bonfire League.”
Lynn treasured her grand and great-grandchildren. She was passionate about their interests and activities, cheering them on in person and from afar. Much pride was taken in their accomplishments – photos and clippings adorned the fridge; buttons were worn on her coat and stories were shared with friends. Puffcorn, silver-mint bars and chocolate milk were always on hand when the children visited. Lynn loved her grand and great-grands fiercely and was eagerly awaiting the arrival on another “grand” in late May.
Lynn is survived by her daughters and their families: Tracey and Tim Hornung and their daughter, Sophie, of Appleton, WI; Siri and Jon Meyer and their children, Elliott Meyer (Jessica Primus and Dalton Delude), of Crookston; Emily and James Brue and their daughter, Harriet, of Ada, MN; Evan and Courtney Meyer, and Easton (Anna Miller) Meyer, of Crookston; Stefanie Thoen-Paverud and her children, Mercedes and Donny Drechsel and their son, Liam, of Minot, ND; Oksana Paverud (Shawn Chaska) and their children, Cayden, Hunter, Keltie, Harper and Soren of Red Wing, MN; a sister, Catherine Oliver Walstad of Lakeville, MN., as well as nieces, nephews and other relatives. Lynn was preceded in death by her husband, Orion, her parents and her brother, Loren Oliver, Jr.
Memorials preferred to Crookston Park & Recreation’s “Kid’s First” Program, Hospice of the Red River Valley, RiverView Foundation or the charity of the giver’s choice.