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Phyllis LaRue Sukert

Phyllis LaRue Sukert

Phyllis Sukert, 83, died peacefully with family at her side on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at GoldPine Home in Bemidji.

Funeral Services will be at Solway Lutheran Church on Monday, September 23rd at 2:00 p.m. Pastor Jeremiah Holst will officiate. Phyllis will be buried next to her husband Roland at Solway Lutheran Cemetery. Visitation will be Sunday, September 22nd at the Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home from 3:00-5:00 p.m. and one hour prior to the service.

Phyllis LaRue Sellin was born on July 7, 1930 in Bertha, Minnesota to Martha (Dehnel) and Louis Sellin. In 1942, the family moved to Solway. Phyllis graduated from Bemidji High School in 1948.

Phyllis Sellin married Roland Sukert in December of 1950. Roland worked for a construction company on the iron range and they moved wherever the company sent them. Three children were born during this time, Kathy, Cindy & Carl.

In 1958, they settled in Maplewood, Minnesota. Phyllis' focus was her children. She was always involved in their lives. She served as room mother for each child every year, was active in PTA and was a Cub Scout and Girl Scout Leader. Summers were active with Day Camps, enrichment classes, swimming lessons and lots of days at the beach. The family spent holidays and every other weekend in Bemidji visiting grandparents and friends.

1964 was the year that would change Phyllis' life. Early in 1964, Phyllis and her oldest daughter shopped for new dresses for the Mother/Daughter Girls Scout Banquet. Phyllis told Kathy that she needed to buy a special dress because her father missed the "pitter patter of little feet" so they were going to have a new baby. In August, Tammi Jo, the baby of the family, was born.. The family was now complete. The family spent Christmas of 1964 with grandparents in Bemidji. A few days after Christmas, Roland at age 36, had a stroke during the night and was in a coma. The doctors gave little hope for recovery or survival. The coma would last three long weeks before he awoke. Roland was transferred by ambulance to the University of Minnesota. Roland would be discharged, the left side of his body was paralyzed, he was permanently disabled and his diagnosis was terminal.

The family remained in Maplewood through the school year and moved to Bemidji in the summer of 1965. The couple decided it would be easier for Phyllis to raise the children if they moved to Bemidji where family and friends could offer support. Now the focus for Phyllis and the family was dealing with all the changes and Roland's disability. In the early 60's the only stroke rehabilitation available was what you did yourself. Roland was determined to walk again and started by exercising his paralyzed hand and worked until he was walking. More strokes were to follow. Roland's mind & speech were never impaired and the couple continued as a team. Roland died on April 26, 1971 and Phyllis was a widow at 40.

With 3 children still at home, it was now time to continue on. In the summer, Phyllis and Tammi traveled to California to visit Kathy and Roland's siblings. These weeks away helped Phyllis adjust to her new life. She decided to look for a full time job and was hired by the Bemidji Community Hospital to work in billing. She would work at the hospital until she retired in 1992. As she worked, her children grew, marriages were celebrated and grandchildren arrived. Phyllis loved to travel and took many trips, including some memorable road trips with her girlfriends. With work, grandchildren and travel, it was a busy life.

After retirement, Phyllis agreed to take over office & bookkeeping duties for Kathy's business. She prided herself on not interfering in her children's lives with unwanted advice or comment, however, this rule must not have applied to Kathy's business. She always had plenty of advice for her daughter & was an integral part of the of daily operations.

Over time, a gradual unexplained physical decline in mobility started. Phyllis had to give up shopping and driving as walking became difficult. The diagnosis would be Parkinson's Disease. Prior to the diagnosis, a major surgery with lengthy rehabilitation would turn daily life into a struggle. The last few years were not easy.

Throughout her life, Phyllis built a special relationship with each of her children that was unique to them. She was Mother and friend. If you needed someone to talk to that would never judge, you knew Mother was there and she would listen as long as you needed.

We will miss you Mother.

We will miss you Grandma.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband and partner Roland in 1971, her brothers, Verlin Sellin, DeVere Sellin, and Donald Sellin, and great grandchild Libi Geffen in 2013.

Phyllis is survived by her sister and friend, Neva Forseth. Her four children, Kathy (Paul Swenson) Guess, Cindy (Dave) Hughes, Carl (Karen) Sukert and Tammi Jo (Al) Sadek. Her six Grandchildren: Kristin-Marie (Ari) Geffen, Brian (Tania) Kuhrke, Jackie (Michael) Andrews, Mindy (Andy) McBride, Albert (Shelby) Sadek and Tabatha (John Conkle) Sadek. Her six Great-Grandchildren: Svea & Shaine Sugar Andrews, Maisie & Elsa McBride and Joseph & Kylie Sadek

The family requests that memorials be made to the Solway Lutheran Memorial Fund in memory of Phyllis Sukert.