Burnette Helen Stortroen, 89, of Fergus FallsPublished 9:56am Wednesday, May 1, 2013 Updated 12:00pm Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Burnette was born on Dec. 11, 1923, along with her twin sister Bernice, to Charles and Ida (Berndt) Swatfager, in Todd County, MN. She attended school in Swanville and graduated in 1942.
As a young woman, Burnette worked for the railroad in Portland, Oregon cleaning coach and sleeper cars. Eventually she moved back to Minnesota where she met Paul Stortroen and they were united in marriage on Dec. 10, 1948, in Moorhead. The couple made their home in Fergus Falls and started a family.
On July 9, 1964, she lost her husband in a car accident and was left to raise their five children on her own. As a single mother, Burnette was employed in various restaurants in the area and as a babysitter for several families in Fergus Falls.
Burnette was a member of the Ladies VFW Auxiliary and she volunteered for Meals on Wheels. She was an active member of First Lutheran Church where she worked as a caregiver in the nursery for many years until she had to resign due to health reasons.
Burnette truly enjoyed caring for children whether they were her own grandchildren or children of others. She worked hard her whole life and put her all into every job she had.
Her favorite past times included playing bingo at the VFW and Catholic Church, playing cards with friends and family, and spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In November 2007, Burnette entered the Valkommen-Hem Inn where she thrived under the care of many loving caregivers which included her daughter Sarah until her death.
Burnette was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; her son, John Stortroen; her great-granddaughter, Izebella Schorn; her twin great-grandchildren, Trever and Tayleen Johnson; her twin sister, Bernice Lundquist; sisters, Mildred Mueller and Laverna Benolken; and her brother Ervin Swatfager.
She is survived by her children, Allan Stortroen of Fergus Falls, Paulette Anderson of Fergus Falls, Sarah (Mike) Koep of Clitherall, and Dan (Lori) Stortroen of Sioux Falls, S.D.; her grandchildren, Tammy (Brad) Otto, Amy (Dan) Bergem, Chris (TJ) Johnson, Troy Landberg, Kayla (Mike) Hofstad, Jodi (John) Weber, Heather (Cory) Schorn, Nicole Stortroen, Paul (Mari Jo) Stortroen, and Jordan (Sharlene) Stenseth; her great-grandchildren, Jeffrey, Jordin, and Jenna Otto; Elizabeth, Mallory, Natalie, and Cameron Bergem; Taylee Johnson; Torsaray, Tristan, and Stormy Landberg; Jordana, London, and Novalee Hofstad; Justin, Jeremiah, and Jalyssa Weber; Dominique and Kevin Schorn; David and Angel Stortroen; Delana and Izebella Balbach; and Ceara, Daniel, Joshua and Samuel Stenseth; a brother, Harland Swatfager of Fargo N.D.; and a brother-in-law, Art (Cathy) Stortroen of Fergus Falls.
Visitation: One hour prior to the service at the church.
Service: 2 p.m. Saturday, at First Lutheran Church, Fergus Falls
Clergy: Revs. Saul Stensvaag and Jennifer Rose
Burial: First Lutheran North Cemetery, rural Fergus Falls
Funeral Home: Olson Funeral Home, Fergus Falls