Verlene Jean (Ylitalo) Nordby was born to Waino and Miriam (Koskela) Ylitalo at the family home near Wolf Lake, MN on the first day of summer, June 21st, 1935. She passed on the first day of spring, March 20th, 2013, at the age of 77. She died peacefully in her home surrounded by her loving family after a courageous battle with cancer. She maintained her Finnish "SISU" until the end.
Verlene attended country school and graduated from Frazee High School with the class of 1953. She has worked many different jobs, the last 25 years as Charitable Gambling Treasurer for Wolf Pack Baseball. She worked at the Village of the Smokey Hills for 12 years and she was a Teacher's Aide at the Menahga School as well as a seamstress at Singer's in Park Rapids. Verlene was the Spruce Grove Township Treasurer for 17 years. Verlene married Virgil Nordby on July 21st, 1956 in Wolf Lake. They resided in Minneapolis, Fargo, and Dilworth before moving to the Nordby farm in Spruce Grove Township in 1966.
For many years, Verlene could be found at the Wolf Pack baseball diamond, serving concessions and cheering on the team. She volunteered for the Harvest Fest every year in Wolf Lake and helped coordinate the pageant. She was known for her flat bread, canning, baking, crafts, and always had a strong cup of coffee to share. Above all she was a loving wife, loyal sister, and a devoted mother and grandmother. She made every friend and family member feel special. She demonstrated her caring nature and genuine love by being a special care giver to her sister Mildred and son Jonathan.
Verlene was a member of the Bethany Lutheran Church where she was active in quilting, helping in the kitchen and taught Sunday school for many years.
She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Virgil, and her children: Daniel (Jyl) Green Bay, Ross, St. Michael, Val (Brian) Burkman, Menahga, Jonathan, Menahga, Michelle (Ike) Kangas, Baxter, Julie (Skip) Shepersky, Sioux Falls; grandchildren: Gabe, Julie, Carissa and Johnny, Jameson, Joe, Nicholas, Jordan, Andy, Vanessa, Jena, David, Leah, Hannah, Seth, and Gretah; great grandchildren: MacKenna, Veronika, Addyson and Jacksen, and her devoted Pomeranian Lobo.
She is also survived by siblings Verna (Arnie) Engen, Hayden, ID, Clyde, Coeur d'Alene, ID and Rodney (Alice) Ylitalo, Enid, OK, sisters-in-law Irene Nordby, Menahga and Betty Nordby, Mt. Iron and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death are her parents, siblings Wilbert, Viola Kangas, Wesley (Delores), Raymond (Esther), Mildred (Hugo) Kangas, brothers-in-law Duane Nordby and Donald Nordby and infant granddaughter Victoria Burkman.
Honorary pallbearers are her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Please join us in celebrating her life on Saturday March 30th at l pm with visitation 11 am-1 pm at Bethany Lutheran Church Menahga with Pastor Steven A. Bruer officiating. Burial will be at a later date at Union Cemetery.