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Agnes (Olson) VOGEL

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Agnes (Olson) VOGEL Obituary
Born April 8, 1916 Into a Norwegian farming community in western Minnesota, Agnes didn't learn English until she attended a one-room school (walking 2 ½ miles each way). With high school 12 miles away, she stayed with a family in town to attend school, where she won debate competitions and graduated valedictorian. She went on to St. Cloud teacher's college and returned to teach all eight grades in a one-room schoolhouse near Benson, Minnesota. Her duties included building a fire in the pot-bellied stove to warm the classroom. During a blizzard, a neighbor's horse-drawn sleigh came to bring everyone home, guided only by fences. Later, she moved to Minneapolis, attended business school, and worked part-time as a waitress at the Leamington Hotel, where she met her future husband, Clarence (Shorty) Vogel. The Sunday after their first date, they went to services at Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church, and she went on to become a 63-year member and teach nursery school for many years. Agnes and her husband were active in the Kenny School neighborhood and community. She served as PTA president and sang in the Mother Singers group. Agnes volunteered for Campfire Boys and Girls and was recently honored for her 55 years of service. A scholarship for leadership for girls at Campfire Boys and Girls was set up in her name. At home, Agnes was the consummate homemaker, making tomato catsup, pear pies, cherry sauce, and canning and freezing vegetables, all from her garden. She won ribbons for her flower arrangements and worked part-time at Bachmans until age 70. When her two daughters were small, she would sew dresses and coats for them, then make matching outfits for their dolls. Agnes also sewed curtains, slipcovers, and quilts. An excellent cook and baker, her daughters remember her homemade donuts and Norwegian Christmas krumkake cookies. Agnes embraced other cultures and religions and enjoyed traveling abroad. One of her favorites was Japan. When she accompanied Shorty on an extended business trip, she experienced Japanese flower arranging, tea ceremony and cooking. In the neighborhood, Agnes hosted the summer block party every year on their driveway, along with a Memorial Day pancake breakfast, a 60-year tradition. She enjoyed extending her hospitality, often hosting relatives and friends from Europe. She stayed connected with her neighbors and friends and corresponded with relatives in Norway and friends in Germany even into her 96th year. Several of her daughters' friends felt like "another daughter," which touched Agnes, who valued being a good mother. At the age of 84, Agnes had a seizure and was in a coma for 2 weeks. Upon awakening, she asked for a newspaper, "because I want to be well-read." She had to learn everything over again, from combing her hair to walking, and went back to life as normal after several months of therapy. She is remembered for her unflagging energy, positive attitude, and loving kindness to all. The celebration of Agnes's life is at Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church Saturday, October 20. Reviewal is at 10 A.M., service at 11 A.M., followed by lunch in the church's art room and burial at Lakewood Cemetery. Preceded in death by her beloved husband of 64 years, Clarence (Shorty) Vogel, and son-in-law Archibald Spencer, Agnes is survived by her sister Esther Horsted, Waunakee, WI; sister-in-law Luella Harr, St. Joseph, MO; daughters Chris Spencer and Eileen Sytsma, son-in-law Donald Sytsma, and grandson Michael Merritt, all of Minneapolis; her grandsons Tyler Sytsma, Phoenix, AZ; James Spencer, Whitinsville, MA; Frederic Spencer, Poulsbo, WA; her granddaughters Elizabeth Fling, Bainbridge Island, WA, and Laura Brown, New York City, NY; four nieces and eight great-grandchildren. The family wishes to thank Walker Methodist Health Center, Hospice of the Twin Cities, Martha McCusker, M. D., of HCMC, and Michael Merritt for their excellent care. Memorials may be sent to Camp Fire USA Minnesota Council designated for the Agnes Vogel Scholarship Fund, 3100 West Lake Street, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55416 or Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403. www.Washburn-McReavy.com Davies Chapel 612-377-2203

Published in Pioneer Press from Oct. 14 to Oct. 18, 2012
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