Ragnhild Gunvord (Peterson) St. Mary, 103, of Caledonia

Ragnhild died Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at Tweeten Gundersen Care Center, Spring Grove, at the age of 103. Her stay there was filled with love, laughter, stories and many hugs by a wonderful and caring staff.

Ragnhild was born Oct. 14, 1914, in a log cabin near Highlandville, Iowa, to George Melvin and Amanda (Bjorge) Peterson. She was named for her two grandmothers, Ragnhild (Eide) Bjorge and Gunvord (Gjere) Peterson.

Ragnhild was baptized at Big Canoe Church and confirmed at Highland Church, Highlandville, Iowa.. 

She attended the Walhus-Bekken school located near the family farm south of the Waterloo Ridge Church. On Dec. 31, 1935, Ragnhild married Harold St. Mary at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Caledonia. Harold died in 1991.

Ragnhild enjoyed surrounding herself with family and friends. The foundation of her life was her faith, family and service to others. 

Over the years, she was involved in making hundreds of layettes for the Pope’s warehouse; crocheted mittens, hats, and lap robes for the Salvation Army, volunteered many hours as a “Pink Lady” at the Caledonia nursing home, volunteered at blood drives, and spent 25 years repairing, covering, and cataloging books at St. Mary’s Grade School. 

Ragnhild was kind and compassionate and never complained. She made all her children’s clothes and sewed countless quilts for her family and friends. 

She is fondly remembered with having fresh cinnamon rolls after Sunday mass and a candy jar on the coffee table.

In addition, Ragnhild kept the books for her husband’s auto body and wheel alignment business, and along with Harold, volunteered countless hours with the Houston County Historical Society, including many years of spinning wool at the log cabin during fair time. 

She received the Senior Citizen Award at the fair and was recognized by RSVP. She and Harold enjoyed dressing in period clothing and riding in vintage cars in parades.

She is survived by her children, Glenn (Lolita), Audrey Almo, Lyle (Linda Covey), Duane (Judy), Allan, and Bryan (Lori); 24 grandchildren; 39 great grandchildren; two great great-grandchildren; son in law, Dennis Murphy; and sister-in-law, Darlene Peterson.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Harold; daughter Yvonne Murphy; son-in-law, John Almo; grandson, Karl Almo; sister, Valborg Clauson; brothers, Myron, Truman, Carsten Luther David “Pete” Peterson; sister-in-law, Esther  Peterson; and brother-in-law, Carlton Clauson.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 11, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Caledonia. 

The Rev. Tom Jennings officiated and burial was in Calvary Cemetery, Caledonia. 

Visitation was from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, at McCormick Funeral Home, Caledonia, and also from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday morning before the service at the church. 

Memorials may be given to St. Mary’s School Library or Houston County Historical Society. 

Online condolences may be given at mccormickfuneralhome.net

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