Violet Joyce Stephenson, 79, of rural Pelican Rapids, died Monday, May 1, 2023 at her home surrounded by her family, under the care of Knute Nelson Hospice. Violet was born in Fergus Falls, MN on April 24, 1944 to Fredrick and Viola (Peterson) Rud. She was raised on the family farm on Lake Lida, attended country school district 189 in what is now Maplewood State Park and graduated from Pelican Rapids High School in 1962.
In 1963 she married Roger Stephenson of Pelican Rapids. They made their home in Pelican Rapids and later built a home on the farmstead where she was raised. Over the years she worked as a waitress, beautician, retail clerk, turkey farm worker, and during the last 19 years of her working life she was a certified nursing assistant providing compassionate care to nursing home residents. Violet was active in her community, serving on the United Way Fund board, the committee to develop a swimming pool, and the committee for the first community-sponsored post prom party.
Violet loved flowers and maintained beautiful flower gardens around her home. Tulips were her favorite. She was musical, playing the trombone in high school and later in the Pelican Rapids community band. She especially enjoyed Concordia College Christmas concerts. Violet loved to fish, often catching impressive stringers of panfish from her paddleboat. When healthy she enjoyed riding her bicycle, water sports, and rides on the back of her son Clint’s motorcycle. She was an excellent cook and baker. She was an avid fan of Pelican Rapids school teams and enjoyed attending games wearing the orange and black. Violet had an infectious smile and laugh and was a friend to many.
Violet’s biggest joy was her family. She and Roger raised two sons, Cary and Clint. Violet’s true calling was being a grandmother to granddaughters Anna and Tori, who grew up next door and with whom she was very close. She maintained a “Grandma’s Angels” wall display of pictures of her granddaughters in her home she loved to show to visitors. Violet and Roger attended all their games, recitals, concerts, and activities. She loved them deeply and was immensely proud of them.
Violet was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Pelican Rapids where she was active in WELCA. Violet had many health challenges, especially the last several years of her life, which she faced with courage and determination. Her faith guided her decision to enter home hospice care on March 31, 2023. Violet’s final days were filled with love and grace.
Violet is survived by her husband Roger, sons Cary (Dee Dee) of Pelican Rapids and Clint of Moorhead, MN; granddaughters Anna and Tori, both students at the University of Minnesota; siblings Sylvia Bilden of Burnesville, MN, Laura Rud of Verona, WI, Dr. Lyle (Betty) Rud of Arlington, MN, and Dan Rud of Reno NV; sisters-in-law Phyllis Leine and Mavis Samuelson of Fergus Falls, MN, Erma Stephenson of Osage, MN, and Louanne Stephenson of Moorhead MN; brother-in-law Dewey Eilertson of WI, and many nieces and nephews. Violet was preceded in death by her parents, infant sister Evangeline, and brothers and sisters-in-law Jim Bilden, Beverly Eilertson, Warner Stephenson, Wallace Stephenson, John and Gail Hebet, Darrel Samuelson, Kenrid Leine, Frayne and Fosie Stephenson, and niece Lory Anderson.
Memorial Service: 11:00 a.m. Friday, May 19, 2023 at Faith Lutheran Church in Pelican Rapids, with visitation one-hour prior to the service at the church and lunch following the Memorial Service.
Clergy: Reverend Alex Ohman
Arrangements provided by Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls. Online condolences may be sent to
Memorials preferred to the following:
Knute Nelson Foundation via
Faith Lutheran Church, 423 S. Broadway Pelican Rapids, Minnesota 56572
Pelican Rapids Community Pool Project via West Central Initiative, Pelican Rapids Pool Fund, PO Box 318 Fergus Falls, MN 56538-0318