Phyllis 'Lena' Evangeline Jacobson
Phyllis "Lena" Evangeline (nee Naslund) Jacobson, 91, was freed from this earth Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, following a lengthy illness.
She leaves behind a loving family, as well as friends, relatives and neighbors around the globe. She joins her husband, Don "Ole," in heaven. Phyllis is one of God's most gentle and selfless angels. She will live forever in the hearts of her children, Steven, Sue (Laura), Kathy (Andy), Dave (Donna), Donny (Lloyd), and Paul (Diane); her grandchildren, Jason (Jessica), Alia (Juan), Zach, Nathan (Rachel), and Andrew; and six sweet little great-grandchildren. Phyllis was preceded in death by husband, Don; her parents, John and Olga Naslund; brother, John; and sister-in-law, Garnet.
Phyllis enjoyed a long and enriching life, starting out in Glen Lake, Minn., at her family home. Growing up with a father who came from his homeland, Sweden, and a devoted mother, Phyllis nurtured a strong sense of family, which became her most valued possession and motivation in life. Throughout her life, she always placed the needs of others before her own, finding real pleasure in making others feel welcomed and cared for.
Phyllis studied at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., transferring to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, to pursue a nursing degree. She graduated in 1952, with a bachelor of science in nursing degree from the University of Minnesota.
After college, Phyllis found work in La Crosse, where, before long, she met her future husband, at the operating table. It wasn't until later, when they discovered they had been attending the same church and singing in the choir together, when they eventually had a first date. This was followed by a brief courtship and a marriage beginning in 1954. Phyllis and Don settled in La Crosse and raised a family there.
Phyllis suspended her nursing career to raise a family, as was common at the time. But by 1967, when the youngest started school, she returned to work, but this time in the field of education. She launched and became the head of the Operating Room Technician program at Western Wisconsin Technical College. She found professional fulfillment in this vocation, even though it came with hardships, both in the workplace and in life in general.
In retirement, Phyllis and Don transformed into "Ole and Lena," performing around the Midwest for appreciative audiences. They acted out the legendary duo, telling jokes and singing songs, with Lena playing the piano, while Ole did most of the singing. Around this time, they also moved their permanent residence from La Crosse to Chetek, Wis., where they made many wonderful friends.
The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at Arbors at Ridges assisted living facility (Ebenezer), as well as the equally loving Fairview Hospice caregivers, who made sure Phyllis was well cared for in the last year of her life on earth.
A memorial service celebrating Phyllis' life will be held at a future date.