By Bierman Funeral Home
Marie Trodahl Bolstad, age 88, of Northfield, passed away Monday, June 19, 2017, at Northfield (MN) Retirement Community. Memorial services will be Saturday, August 19 with 10 AM pancakes and service at noon at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Menomonie WI. Hymn sing following. Interment will be Sunday, August 20 at 12:30 PM at Mount Olive Cemetery, 2264 Shiloh Rd in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Lunch following at “The Cottage” 1071 South Lake Michigan Drive.
Marie Bolstad lived the dream, and helped others to do the same with her caramel rolls. She was the only child of Dora and Otis Trodahl, owners of Trodahl’s IGA Food Market in Sturgeon Bay. Born at the end of the roaring 20s, she grew up in the depression, attended St. Olaf College (class of ’50), and briefly taught high school music. Marie married Dennis Bolstad (college classmate and teacher) in 1951, moved to Mahtomedi, MN, and lived in the house they built themselves.
Marie was the quintessential housewife, raising five children and supporting Dennis in his career. When Dennis earned his doctorate, they moved to Menomonie, WI where he began teaching at Stout State College. Marie executed her academic obligations, initially in “faculty wives” and later as an early-childhood-music instructor at UW Stout. She served as senior choir director at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church for 27 years, and was active in various Menomonie Theater Guild productions as actress, singer or music director. They put the five kids (Peder, Rolf, Ruth, Arne and Thor) through private colleges and lived to enjoy their seven grandchildren (Drake, Quinn, Morgan, Peyton, Trace, Webb, and Gretta). No summary would be complete without mention of their “Chinese kids” (from Taiwan) who lived with them and whom they loved dearly. Further evidence of her welcoming nature is a family story of Marie answering an early morning phone call and, after a short conversation, saying “Yes, please stop. I’ll have breakfast ready. Who is this?”
After retiring, summers were spent with Dennis at “the cottage” in Door County, WI where they were active volunteers for the Door County Maritime Museum, and the Peninsula Music Festival for whom they did airport runs to pick up guest artists like William Warfield and Hillary Hahn. In 2000 Marie and Dennis were honored with the Wisconsin First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Award for their work with displaced teenagers.
Marie and Dennis had friends all over the world, and traveled to Norway, Italy, Morocco, Australia, and South Africa where they unexpectedly had lunch with Nelson Mandela. A favorite T-shirt says “I performed at Carnegie Hall,” which she did at age 71. Her life might well be encapsulated in the nickname “Sunshine” given to her by the staff of her last home, Evergreen Lodge.
Marie’s final resting place with Dennis will be at a rural church built by her ancestors in Door County under a marble bench they had made where all are invited to sit a spell, remember, reflect, contemplate, debate, or ruminate. On that bench is engraved: