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Obituary for Thelma Nitz Lee

Thelma Nitz Lee was born on October 17, 1918 in Great Falls Montana, daughter of Herbert C. and Hannah Ruud Hanson. She died on May 10, 2017 in Northfield, Minnesota. Thelma grew up in Rochester, Minnesota. She attended St. Olaf College from 1937-1939, where she met husband-to-be Ralph Nitz and sang in the St. Olaf Choir under the direction of F. Melius Chistiansen. Thelma sang in church choirs from childhood into her 80’s, serving as a soloist on many occasions. Thelma and Ralph married in 1941 and raised their family as they moved from Milwaukee to Dallas to Kansas City […]

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Thelma Nitz Lee was born on October 17, 1918 in Great Falls Montana, daughter of Herbert C. and Hannah Ruud Hanson. She died on May 10, 2017 in Northfield, Minnesota.

Thelma grew up in Rochester, Minnesota. She attended St. Olaf College from 1937-1939, where she met husband-to-be Ralph Nitz and sang in the St. Olaf Choir under the direction of F. Melius Chistiansen. Thelma sang in church choirs from childhood into her 80’s, serving as a soloist on many occasions.

Thelma and Ralph married in 1941 and raised their family as they moved from Milwaukee to Dallas to Kansas City and back to Milwaukee. After years spent as a stay-at-home mom, she worked for 17 years in the children’s department of the Wauwatosa Public Library, where she participated in children’s programing and played the cello as part of a string ensemble.

Thelma and Ralph retired to Northfield in 1986. As a 30-year member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Thelma established the church’s participation in the Equal Exchange coffee program, was an original member of Rejoice Ringers, sang in the Senior Choir, served as president of WELCA, and was a member of Sarah Circle and St. John’s quilters. She also helped organize volunteers for Meals on Wheels. A member of the Northfield Hospital Auxiliary, she served as treasurer and volunteered at their annual book sale.

Ralph died in 1988. Thelma carried on by adding travel to her life. She and Ralph had joined a WCAL trip to Germany. Now Thelma took trips to the Holy Land, Italy, and Norway. Always proud of her Norwegian heritage, she treasured visits to family on the ancestral farm in Hurdal, Norway and was a member of Sons of Norway in Northfield.

In 2003, telling her family that “young love can happen at any age,” Thelma became a bride at age 84 when she married Walt Lee at St. John’s. Their relationship became a blessing to them and to their families.

All of her family are most grateful for the excellent and tender care Thelma received at Three Links Cottage on Forest during these last three and a half years. Everyone associated with all aspects of her care has been warm and generous in their regard for Thelma’s well being.

In addition to her husband Walter Lee, Thelma is survived by children Christine Anderson, Carolyn Nitz, David (and Debby) Nitz and Mary (and Brenn) Hayek, grandchildren Paul Anderson, Emily Nitz, Caroline Nitz, Stephanie (and Nate) Traaseth and Kristin Hayek, great-grandson Quinn Traaseth, Walter’s children Deborah Briggs, David (and Sue) Lee, and Rebecca Lee, grandchildren Katie (and John) Daly, Ted Briggs, Brian Lee, Oliiva Cien and Margret Cien and great grandchildren Luke Daly and Andrew Daly. She is also survived by sister- and brother-in-law Jean and Curt Lang of Mequon, Wisconsin, nieces, nephews, and many friends.

Thelma was preceded in death by her parents, her siblings Sylvia Richards and Paul Hanson, her first husband Ralph Nitz, and granddaughter Nicole Hayek.

The family requests that any memorial gifts be directed to St. John’s Lutheran Church, the St. Olaf Choir, Three Links Care Center, or Bread for the World.

Funeral services will be 11:00AM, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Interment will be in Oaklawn Cemetery. Visitation will be at the church on Tuesday one hour prior to the service.

Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com

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Funeral

May 16, 2017 - 11:00 AM


Visitation One Hour Before Service
St. John’s Lutheran Church
500 3rd St W Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

Burial

Burial

Oaklawn Cemetery
1415 Wall Street Rd Northfield, 55057 Get Directions

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