Mathilda Amelia “Tillie” Gebhardt, age 97, of Crookston, MN, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at the Villa St. Vincent in Crookston, MN.
Mathilda “Tillie” Paulson was born on August 25, 1922, in Thief River Falls, MN, the daughter of the late Roman and Amelia (Reitz) Paulson. She was raised in Thief Rivers Falls and graduated from Lincoln High School on May 31, 1940 where she was very active in sports and was the only sophomore selected for the girls A basketball team. She moved to Crookston, MN, in 1942 and started working as the Staff Secretary for the Northwest School and Experiment Station at the University of Minnesota in Crookston, MN. On June 15, 1946, Tillie was married to Henry “Butch” Gebhardt at the Community Methodist Church in Thief River Falls, MN. A few years later they adopted a daughter, Ardis. They made their home in Crookston, MN, until 1951, when they moved to Euclid for a time, and then settled permanently in Crookston in 1959. She attended Aaker’s Business College in Grand Forks, ND, from 1955 to 1956, and in 1965, Tillie was made the Principal Secretary in the Office of Records and Registration until her retirement in August of 1989. In total she worked at the University of Minnesota in Crookston, MN, for 47 years.
Tillie was very active in the Crookston community and was a longtime member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. She was a Life member of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary and was past DAV State Auxiliary Commander form 1982-1983, DAV State Auxiliary Adjutant in 1985, and received the Past National Commanders Award in 1996 as the outstanding member of the of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary in the State of Minnesota. She was a charter member of the Euclid, MN, American Legion Auxiliary and Life member of the Crookston VFW Auxiliary. For many years she was the treasurer for the Polk County Committee on Aging, served on the Senior Citizen Board of Directors for Golden Link, and was a past member of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Board. She was President for 2 years of the Crookston Pioneer Days Association, was on the RiverView Healthcare Auxiliary Board, and was the Camping Chairman for the Crookston Campfire Girls Association for many years. Tillie received the Top Aggie Award from the Northwest School of Agriculture in 1976 and the University of Minnesota, Crookston, highest honor, the Torch and Shield Award in October of 1983, and was honored as the Experienced American of the Month in 1995.
In her free time, Tillie enjoyed the game of bowling. In her prime, she bowled in 3 leagues and has an impressive array of trophies, plaques, chevron awards, and high game pins. She was also an officer of the Crookston Women’s Bowling Association and participated in State and National Bowling Tournaments. She also had the honor of being the oldest bowler in the Crookston Women’s Bowling League for many years and was recognized as being a member for over 50 years. She was also the editor of the Quarterly Newsletter for the Class of 1940 of Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls, MN.
Most of all, Tillie was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She enjoyed being with her grandson, Zack, and taking an active interest in his train collection, and participation in his church, school, and sports activities. She also enjoyed cooking, baking, trying new recipes, sharing delicacies with her family and friends. She won a first-place award for her Chili Recipe in the Great Chili Cook-Off Contest held at Parkwood Place in Grand Forks, ND, in 2004.
Tillie is survived by her daughter, Ardis Gebhardt of Crookston, MN; grandson, Zachary Bye-Gebhardt of Crookston, MN; special nephew and wife, Jon and Alice Mostrom of Hastings, MN; and brother, Allan Paulson of Thief River Falls, MN. She was preceded in death by her husband, Henry “Butch’ Gebhardt; parents, Roman and Amelia Paulson; brothers, Roman and George Paulson; sister, Marion Mostrom; and nephew, Calvin Paulson.
Services for Tillie will unfortunately be private at this time due to guidelines concerning the Covid-19 pandemic.