Helen Tofte Mundahl, formerly of Rochester, died Oct. 13, 2019, at the age of 73, from complications of Parkinson's disease. Never one to be defined by her disease, she took every opportunity to spoil her grandchildren, stay connected in the community, and remain a devoted friend to many.
Born Nov. 25, 1945, in Decorah, Iowa, she was the daughter of the late Semor and Pearl Tofte. Her years in Decorah were spent enjoying all that the community had to offer, graduating from Decorah High School in 1963. Helen and her family would also spend time each summer in Tofte, Minn., on the shores of Lake Superior. The town was settled by her grandparents who had immigrated from Tofte, Norway and was a special place for the extended family to gather and reunite.
Helen was a graduate of Swedish Hospital School of Nursing of Minneapolis, and St. Teresa's College of Winona. In October 1965, Helen needed a ride to Decorah from her nursing internship at the Psychiatric State Hospital and was put in touch with Dale Mundahl, a graduate of Luther College who was teaching in Rochester at the time. The two connected immediately, and a beautiful love story began. Theirs was a relationship marked by mutual affection and respect, and their courtship was filled with time spent in Rochester and Decorah. Helen and Dale were married on Aug. 27, 1966, at First Lutheran Church, Decorah, Iowa.
Helen had an illustrious 40+ year career at Mayo Clinic. She began as an RN and then transitioned into roles within Development, the Mayo Foundation and on the Personnel Committee. She distinguished herself not only for her professionalism but also for her innate ability to both listen and collaborate with all types of people that she came into contact with. She also contributed to many professional papers and books at the request of her Mayo colleagues. In addition, her love of the Rochester community was shown by her involvement with the Rochester Art Center, Channel One Food Shelf, Rotary Club, and the Chamber of Commerce as well as in leadership roles at Bethel Lutheran Church.
While Helen's professional accomplishments were many, it was her role as both mother and later grandmother/Nana that brought her real joy. She was a beloved presence in the lives of Anja and Annika Mundahl and Eleanor, Annie, and Will Larsen. She reveled in hearing about their daily adventures and enjoyed the chance to watch them grow and develop into amazing young people. They loved her immensely, and her spirit lives on in the hearts of each of them.
One of Helen's favorite hymns was, "Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is Calling." A song about coming home, it represents her abiding faith. While she will be missed and grieved by all those that were fortunate to know and love her, her family and friends will be comforted knowing that she is at home in the loving arms of her Savior.
Helen is survived by her husband of 53 years, Dale Luther Mundahl; son, Erik (Mary) Mundahl of Woodbury; daughter, Emily (Andrew) Larsen of Mequon, Wis.; five grandchildren; one sister, Rosemary (Ray) Hallquist of Phoenix; two brothers, David (Areta) Tofte of Camp Verde, Ariz., and Tom Tofte of Fish Creek, Wis.; and her honorary NAWAW sisters. She was preceded in death by her parents, Semor C. and Pearl A. Tofte of Decorah, Iowa; and in-laws, Oscar C. and Evelyn E. Mundahl of Rochester.
A Celebration of Life service will be held 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 21 at Bethel Lutheran Church, Rochester. Visitations will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20 at Ranfranz Funeral Home and immediately preceding the Celebration of Life service at 10 a.m. Monday at Bethel Lutheran Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given in Helen's memory to: Bethel Lutheran Church, Parkinson's Research at Mayo Clinic, Tofte Historical Museum in Tofte, Minn.. or Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes is honored to be serving the Mundahl family. To leave a special memory or condolence, please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.
BLESSED BE THE MEMORY OF HELEN TOFTE MUNDAHL
11-25-1945 - 10-13-2019