Cover photo for Carolyn Steffen's Obituary
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1944 Carolyn 2023

Carolyn Steffen

February 4, 1944 — July 25, 2023

Carolyn K. Steffen, age 79, resident of Fergus Falls, MN, died peacefully on July 25, 2023, at Sanford Hospice House in Fargo, ND.

Anyone who knew Carolyn, knew one of the kindest people who, with a very tender heart, always made a point of putting others before herself. She demonstrated love, kindness, selflessness, grace, and seemingly endless patience. She will be greatly and dearly missed.

She was very devoted to her family and cherished their time together. Being with her grandchildren brought her incredible joy.

Carolyn was born February 4, 1944, the daughter of Emil and Myrtle (Buchholz) Sorkness, in Fargo, ND. She grew up on the family farm near Twin Valley, MN. She attended Twin Valley High School, where she played piano, glockenspiel, and the bass. She graduated top of her class in 1962. After graduation, she attended Dakota Business College in Fargo, ND. While in Fargo, she worked as a bookkeeper at Wallworks.

It was also in Fargo that she met Willard Steffen through mutual friends. They dated only three months before their engagement, and were united in marriage at the Zion Lutheran Church Parsonage in Twin Valley, MN on October 28th, 1967.

They later moved to Crosby, ND, where Will worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and she worked at the library. Will’s career brought them to Devil’s Lake, ND next, where Carolyn was employed at First Federal Savings & Loan.

In late 1977, they received the joyous news that they would be blessed with a baby boy through adoption and welcomed home their new son, Jason.

Will’s career moved the family one more time to Fergus Falls, MN, where Carolyn continued her new calling as a stay-at-home mom. In late 1980, they were blessed again, this time adopting a baby girl, and joyfully welcomed Anne home.

Carolyn returned to the workforce later as a para-educator at Cleveland Elementary, which she enjoyed for 24 years before retiring. She formed many lasting friendships there.

She volunteered in her children’s activities, including marching band parades, gymnastics fundraising, and even chaperoning a trip to New York City.

She served in her church in various ways over the years as an usher, scripture reader, and helped with church bazaars.

She and Will cooked many delicious meals with a group of friends they called their “gourmet group”, and often ushered in the new year with them.

Carolyn and Will enjoyed traveling, and took multiple trips over the years, which included destinations like California, Washington D.C., and the southwest accompanied by their son and daughter-in-law, as well as a trip to San Diego with both of their kids, their spouses, and the grandkids to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

She was an avid reader and a regular patron of the library. Mystery novels were her favorites, especially those which involved animals. She liked British comedies and Masterpiece programs on PBS. She enjoyed listening to music and usually had some playing in the background at home. She was a lover of all creatures, great and small; and she coordinated donations to The Humane Society at the school where she worked. She loved flowers, and tended to their various flower and vegetable gardens around home. Carolyn loved the Christmas season and decorating for it. She made sure the holidays were always special times with family.

Carolyn is survived by her husband of 55 years, Willard; son, Jason (Kristine) Steffen, Moorhead, MN; daughter, Anne (Nathan) Hruby, Fargo, ND; and grandchildren, Laura and Julia, Moorhead, MN, and Lydia and Daniel, Fargo, ND; step-brothers, Dean Albertson, Rochester, MN, and Lee Albertson, Des Moines, IA; and step-sister, Myrna Baucom, Green Bay, WI.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Emil and Myrtle Sorkness; her brother, James Sorkness; and step-father, Norman Albertson.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Fergus Falls Humane Society or Public Library would be appreciated.

Memorial Service: 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at Zion Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, with visitation one-hour prior to the service at the church. Coffee and dessert fellowship to follow the service.
Clergy: Reverend Salim Kaderbhai

Arrangements provided by Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
Online condolences may be sent to
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, August 2, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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