Lillian Mae Nelson was born to Caroline and Olof Nelson, in Minneapolis, on July 10, 1906, the oldest of three children. She was a graduate of Central High School and also studied at the University of Minnesota. For several years before her marriage, she was employed by a life insurance company. She enjoyed playing tennis in the city park program, and canoeing with friends on the city’s system of lakes.
She was active in the youth group at Wesley Methodist Church, and it was here she met her husband of 54 years, Maynard Blank. Unable to afford a wedding in the depression years, they traveled to Iowa with special friends, and were married in a double ceremony with John and Ruth Rehnberg. Eventually 12 couples from that youth group formed a club called WeHaMaCo (Wesley Happily Married Couples). They met monthly for over 50 years, becoming an extended family.
Lil and Maynard lived in Minneapolis, Fargo and Ivanhoe before settling in Cambridge with their three children in 1949. During their retirement years they were winter Texans.
Lillian was the traditional stay-at-home mom of the 50s, beginning part-time work after her children were all in school. She worked at Cambridge Woolen Mills, for a doctor at the State School and Hospital, and at the Cambridge Post Office. For many years she conducted interviews for the Minnesota Poll.
She was a member of the Cambridge Lutheran Church, a study club, and the Order of the Eastern Star. She was an excellent card player and played in groups in Cambridge and in Texas. Her volunteer work included the Red Cross, the Community Chest, and the county fair board. She and Maynard provided financial support for the Cambridge Hospital when it was built. She was an active supporter and patron of the library. As a widow, she joined the Great Gals in Alamo, Texas, and was active in their events and charitable work.
In 2004, she moved to assisted living at GracePointe Crossing. She entered hospice care in October, and passed away January 6, 2012.
She was preceded in death by her husband Maynard in 1990, an infant son, her parents, sister Crystal and brother Milo. She is survived by her daughter Susan Manson, sons William (Bethel) and George (Lynn), four grandchildren Christopher Manson, Melissa (Joseph) Krueger, Tyler Blank and Travis Blank, one great-granddaughter Melanie Manson.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at the Cambridge Lutheran Church with Rev. David Everett officiating. Visitation will be held 1 hour prior to the service at the church. Mary Falk, accompanied by Mary Kay O’Neill will sing “Softly and Tenderly,” “How Great Thou Art” and “Abide With Me.” Interment will be in the Cambridge Lutheran Cemetery. Arrangements were with the Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge.