Lois Nadine Wilkens died in Irving, Texas on March 21, 2022, surrounded by loved ones. She was born at home in Minnesota Lake, Minnesota on July 27, 1934, to Herbert G. and Mae Belle (Goodrich) Tolzmann. She was preceded in death by her younger brother, Nyles H. Tolzmann. Lois is survived by her children Sharilyn Geistfeld (Robert Moore), Mark Geistfeld (Janette Sadik-Khan), Steven Geistfeld (Tara Friend), and Ann Clasby (Michael) and her grandchildren Max, Hudson, Dylan, Mara and Phoenix.
Lois attended Bethany Lutheran High School in Mankato, Minnesota and graduated on May 30, 1952. During this time, she met her former husband Ronald E. Geistfeld. In 1959, they moved to Northfield where they raised their four children and were active as a family in the Northfield public schools, Arts Guild, Golf Club, Jaycees, and Trinity Lutheran Church. In 1981, Lois married Kenneth Wilkens and her family expanded to include his children and grandchildren: Jane Rae Wilkens, James Wilkens (Jane, Amanda and Jake), and Julie Wilkens-Gaardsmoe (Sophie). Lois and Kenneth resided in Northfield for 31 years while also enjoying much time at their lake cabin near Hayward, Wisconsin, and later lived part-time in the Dallas area of Texas. Although sad to leave her many cherished friends in Northfield, Lois permanently moved to Texas to be close to her daughter Ann and family after Kenneth passed away. While there, Lois met Smith T. Powell III, who gave her an immeasurable amount of happiness and loving support in the last chapter of her full life.
For many years, Lois served as a skillful administrator in several departments at St. Olaf College where she was a beloved colleague and friend to many faculty, students and staff. During this time, Lois audited classes at both St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges, focusing on Art History and including Sociology and Psychology. Lois fostered a love for art and travel that she passed on to her children and grandchildren. She participated in many St. Olaf group global-travel programs (especially to Greece) led by her favorite art historians. Over the years she visited her children in France, Scotland, Belgium, Tunisia and Brazil, as well as one of her adopted Rotary Exchange high school students from Sweden.
Lois's greatest passion was caring for and supporting children and young people -- loving care of her own children and grandchildren, mothering the many foster babies from Rice County that she would have adopted if possible; and taking under her wings countless high school and college students for whom she made a home away from home. She was an avid walker, for years practiced Pilates and yoga, and took a great deal of (much-earned) pride in completing in the
American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race. Lois will also be remembered for her beautiful smile full of love and laughter, her love of books and reading, and of course her extraordinary culinary skills and enjoyment of food, especially chocolate.
In lieu of flowers the family of Lois Wilken's would like for you to donate in her name to: