Viola May Nordeen, of Rush City, formerly of Braham, passed away Monday, January 13, 2014 at the Golden Living Center in Rush City. A long-time breast cancer survivor, she was 91-years-old.
Viola, lovingly known as May, was born May 6, 1922 in Chicago to parents Harry and Elizabeth (Speed) Gibson. She attended school in Chicago, graduating in 1940. After high school, she lived in Crete, Ill. for a few years before joining the United States Navy. After her discharge in November of 1945 she returned to Crete where she started her own beauty shop. She was proud of her military service and was a member of the Cambridge American Legion.
In 1972, May was united in marriage to Laurel Chip Nordeen in Rush Point, Minn. May and Chip lived on the family farm north of Braham. May worked as a beautician at the beauty salon in Braham until it closed and then worked as a beautician at Park Manor for many years. She also worked in Mora at Amaco in the plastic department, at Schiller Globe, the Inn in Hinckley and Walmart.
May was a volunteer driver transporting people to and from medical appointments for a number of years. In the mid-80s May thought there was a need for a thrift store in Braham with the proceeds from sales going to support the community. She worked endlessly to see it come to fruition. May solicited various organizations for start-up funds and went to the pastors asking for help finding volunteers to work at the store. In July of 1989 her dream came true, Tusen Tack opened in a little store on the main street which they outgrew in a short time. May then approached the bank about a loan to purchase the vacant grocery store on the main street. When May applied for the loan the bankers told her a man would have to co-sign the loan, so she found one who evidently also believed in the project and was willing to be a co-signer. She was especially proud of the role she played in bringing TusenTack to Braham and volunteered there as long as her health permitted.
May loved to spend time outdoors; especially fishing with Chip. She was a very good cook and enjoyed preparing meals for family and friends, a talented seamstress and late in life took a class in painting and completed many beautiful pictures.
May is preceded in death by her parents, husband Chip, brothers Ed and Harry, sister Katherine, brothers and sisters-in-law John Nordeen, Evelyn Johnson, Kermit Nordeen, Marjorie House, Merle Nordeen, and Phyllis Lammi.
She is survived by special niece, Georgie Anne Stephanson of Anaheim, Calif., brothers-in-law, Jim (Carole) Nordeen of Cambridge; Duane Nordeen of Chicago, sisters-in-law Elaine (Jerry) Stoeckel of Minneapolis, Frances Nordeen of Braham; several nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
A graveside service and burial will take place in the spring.