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September 26, 2022

9/16/2022 12:22:00 PM
Ethel Dahl

Ethel Ernestine Dahl, age 102, died Sept. 7, 2022, at Parmly on the Lake in Chisago City following a stroke.

The second oldest of six daughters, she was born on March 26, 1920, to Fred and Rosa (Mathwig) Rucks of Green Isle Township, Sibley County, Minnesota, where her German ancestors were among the earliest settlers.

Ethel walked from her home to a nearby country school through the eighth grade. To attend high school, Ethel and her younger sister Hazel exchanged housework and childcare for their room and board with two families in Arlington, Minn., eight miles from the family farm.    After graduating from Arlington-Green Isle High School, Ethel married Lawrence John Dahl on June 28, 1938. Lawrence operated Dahl’s Auto Service in Arlington.

In 1940, doctor’s orders sent Lawrence and Ethel to Arizona in an attempt to ease Lawrence’s chronic lung problems, but his health continued to decline. With Lawrence too ill to drive, Ethel traversed the mountains on gravel roads and hairpin switchbacks, towing their small “trailer home,” back to Minnesota. Once at home, Lawrence underwent ground-breaking endoscopic surgery performed by renowned physician Owen Wangensteen, MD, of the University of Minnesota Hospital to remove a benign tumor hiding in his lung.

Instructed to stay away from auto exhaust and recuperate in fresh air, Ethel and Lawrence took up temporary residence in Palisade, Minn. There they lived off the land, and Ethel learned to bake bread in a wood stove. The Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor abruptly sent them back to Arlington to take over operation of the Dahl’s Auto Service garage as the young men filling in for Lawrence during his illness enlisted in the war effort. Ethel and Lawrence lived in a tiny three-room house next to the garage.  After the war, Lawrence added a Chevrolet dealership at the garage location. Ethel became the bookkeeper and gave birth to their only daughter, Leilani, on June 9, 1946.  In December 1951, they sold the auto business and moved to Chisago Lake in Chisago City where Lawrence began employment with Webb Plumbing and Heating.

Ethel enjoyed gardening, baking and several jobs in the community prior to taking a position with Chisago County in 1959.  She worked in the county sheriff and clerk of courts offices In Center City before becoming Chisago County Clerk of Courts, a position she held until her retirement in 1979.
Before and during retirement, Ethel devoted time to Zion Lutheran Church, her two grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, a few part-time employment positions post-retirement, a trip to Alaska and camping expeditions with Lawrence prior to his death in December 1995, and a trip to Hawaii with Leilani in 1996. Eight years ago, she moved to Vindauga View Assisted Living where she resided until the time of her death.
Ethel excelled at baking bread, arranging flowers, writing poetry, making wise investments, and could challenge any clergy with her extensive knowledge of the Bible.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Rosa Rucks; her husband  Lawrence Dahl; sisters Mabel Burtyk and Hazel Weckwerth of Arlington, Minn., and Rosemarie Antonsen of Colorado Springs, Colo.; sister-in-law Florence Dahl of Arlington; and brothers-in-law Vernie Dahl, Joe Burtyk, Iver Weckwerth, Robert Bade, Walter Antonsen, and John Kahlow and nephew Robert Dahl.

She is survived by her daughter Leilani Freeman and grandson Steve Freeman and wife Tammy of Lindstrom; granddaughter Susan Freeman of Center City; sisters Ramona Bade of Arlington and Florence Kahlow of Bloomington; great-grandchildren Anthony, Devan (Alyssa Wickenhouser) and Teran Freeman of Lindstrom; Tristin (Cole) Hemme of Lindstrom; Connor (Marly) Freeman of Wyoming, Minn.; Samantha Duncan and Nicholas Duncan of Center City; and Rheanna Duncan of Brooklyn, NY; great great grandchildren Alexander Buys, Center City; Tucker and Tanner Hemme, Lindstrom; Leia Lou, Ella Ethel and Lois Lynn Freeman of Wyoming; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services for Ethel Dahl will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Zion Lutheran Church in Chisago City. Visitation will take place at 10 a.m. one hour prior to the service. Interment at Chisago Memorial Park will immediately follow the service.

Memorials preferred to Zion Lutheran Church, Chisago City. Arrangements by Grandstrand Funeral Home in Lindstrom.  Condolences may be expressed online at wwwgrandstrandfh.com    

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