Dawn Marie Severson, 54, of Fergus FallsPublished 5:08am Monday, August 12, 2013 Updated 7:24am Monday, August 12, 2013
She was born July 21, 1959, in Fergus Falls, the daughter of Milo and Darnella (Grimstad) Severson. About six weeks later she and her family moved to Watsonville, Calif., where they resided until returning to Fergus Falls in 1967.
In 1973, Dawn was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, resulting in the amputation of her left leg and most of her left hip.
Instead of allowing this surgery to define her as “handicapped,” she became an inspiration to everyone. She showed us that it was possible to overcome adversity by taking on physical challenges and mastering them.
She volunteered for two summers as a counselor at a camp for children with disabilities. She inspired and amazed not only the children, but the other counselors and medical staff as well.
After returning from California, she attended school in Fergus Falls. She transferred to Barnesville in the spring of 1977, where she graduated in 1978. She attended college in Duluth for one year, studying occupational therapy.
She began working at the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center in 1979, as an HST. She continued working there, and in a group home after the hospital closed, until 2004.
She retired on disability at that time.
Dawn was very well known for her big heart, generosity, and incredible sense of humor. She was never “more in her element” than when she was entertaining a roomful of people with her jokes and antics.
She was also an extremely creative and talented person. She loved interior decorating, and was a genius at putting together photo frames, albums, and scrapbooks. She was also the family historian, with a deep knowledge of family links on both sides of her family.
Preceding her in death were her parents; her brother Donny Severson; her grandparents, Selvin and Mabel Grimstad, and John and Minnie Severson; uncles, Fred (Eva) Severson, Clifford (Elayne) Severson, Lynde (Merlene) Severson, Eugene (Minerva) Leitch, Pat Gamel, and Arvid Solum; and cousins, Dale, Ray and Pam (Sherman) Severson, Renae (Hult), David, Dennis, Michael and Shannon Solum, Mark and Brian Grimstad, Ben Leitch, Andy Dubord, and J.C. Gamel.
Survivors include two sons, Dustin Severson of Fergus Falls, and Dana (Emily) Severson of Elizabeth; three granddaughters, Hayleigh Severson (Dustin’s), and Elle and Hadley Severson (Dana’s); three sisters, Annette Severson of St. Paul, Denise (Steve) Kenyon of Underwood, and Darla (Jon) Dillon of Olivia; two brothers, Danny (Janine) Severson of Columbia Heights, and Darren Severson of Fergus Falls; her aunt and best friend, Sodona Gamel of Barnesville; aunts and uncles, Roland and Jen Severson of Paynesville, Manny and Judy Grimstad of Bellevue Neb., and Jerry and Deb Grimstad of Rice; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Reviewal and Visitation: Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. There will be no reviewal at the church.
Memorial Service: 2 p.m. Monday, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Fergus Falls
Clergy: Revs. Kate Bruns and Marlin “Pete” Ackerson
Burial: Bethlehem Cemetery in Fergus Falls
Funeral Home: Olson Funeral Home, Fergus Falls