Lois Mae Gunvalson, a lifelong resident of West Central Minnesota, died on Dec. 30, in Alexandria at age 93.

Lois was born in rural Hancock on May 24, 1926, to Louis and Mathilda (Brue) Amerson. In 1938 upon Louis’ passing, her mother and her five sisters moved to Cyrus where she lived most of her life. She married Vernon (Toby) Gunvalson, a high school sweetheart, in 1947. They owned and operated Toby’s Cafe in Cyrus till 1969. She began a career at The Villa of St. Francis Nursing Home in Morris, and after 13 years retired as executive housekeeper. 

Lois’s passion in life, other than being a formidable, loving, mentor and matriarch to 44 offspring, (nine children, 17 ‘grands’, 16 ‘greats’ and two ‘great-greats’) included travel, genealogy, adventure seeking, sewing, quilting and hardanger (Norwegian embroidery). She created over 100 quilts and numerous pieces of hardanger. She had a deep interest in connecting with people. She possessed a multi-generational magnetism that gave her an uncanny ability to make lifelong friends very quickly. This circle of “chosen family” is enormous and her passing will leave an emptiness to all that called her friend, mom, aunt, grandma and great-grandma.

In her later years, she lived in Starbuck and Alexandria. Her last years were in the care of the kind loving staff at Prairie Senior Cottages in Alexandria.

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