We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at New York Mills
At 6:30pm on May 23, 2022, Jesus and the Angels took Mom’s soul to her heavenly home.
Nancy Ann (Lee) Karvonen was born on June 15, 1931, in Crookston, MN. Her parents were the late Holger and Esther (McNairnay) Osland. Her mother, Esther, died of appendicitis when Nancy was three years old, resulting in her adoption into the family of her aunt, Evelyn, and husband Ivan Lee of Staples. Nancy attended elementary school in Staples and moved with her family to New York Mills where she attended junior and senior high school. Her aunt and adoptive mother, Evelyn, died when Nancy was 16.
On June 20, 1947, Nancy was united in marriage with Harold Karvonen at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wadena in a double wedding with Alvin and Colene Jacobson. Through the example and encouragement of her in-laws, Ina and Yalmer Karvonen, Nancy came to faith in Jesus Christ.
Harold and Nancy first made their home in Sebeka where they assisted Yalmer at the Karvonen & Son Furniture store and Karvonen & Son Funeral Home. In 1954, they moved to New York Mills and worked in the family businesses for more than 50 years. In 1981 they expanded Karvonen Furniture to Perham along with son, John. It is now owned and operated by John’s son, Aaron Karvonen. In 1992, Nancy and Harold donated the original furniture store building that later became the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center. Nancy served at the funeral home until age 85. Karvonen Funeral Home is owned and operated by Greg and Suzi Karvonen.
As the mother of seven children, family was everything to Nancy. She was an excellent cook and baker, nourishing the family as they gathered around the dining room table each night. “Little Visits with God” was her favorite mealtime devotion book when the children were younger.
Nancy was passionate about her spiritual life. For many years, she typed out and emailed a daily devotion called “Jesus Calling” to family and friends. Her email list grew to 40 people. In her last note to family, she wrote: “Nancy loves Jesus and it is her wish her family and friends share her faith.” Worship, bible study, and the prayer chain at church were central to her life. Nancy was a skilled listener and a trusted confidant to many.
Nancy was a lifelong learner who enjoyed sewing, gardening, and ceramics. She was a Gray Lady (Red Cross volunteer) at the New York Mills Hospital. While she was physically able, she visited the elderly in the nursing home to write letters for them. Volunteering was second nature to Nancy, who was a passionate fundraiser for the New York Mills Food Shelf.
Nancy battled Parkinson’s Disease for the past three years and faced many difficult challenges. She died surrounded by her family in the Lyngblomsten Care Center in St Paul on May 23, 2022. Nancy was proceeded in death by her husband, Harold, her brother, Roger Lee, sister, Virginia Haakana, and special niece, Lori Haakana. Nancy’s legacy of integrating her faith and service to others will continue to inspire those who knew and loved her.
Nancy is survived by four daughters and three sons:
Kay (Jerry Reid) Browne, Chanhassen; Barb (Bill) Rice, Fargo; Beverly (Pat) Bradley, Richfield; John (Natty) Karvonen, West Fargo; Janet (Al) Montgomery, North Oaks; Greg (Suzi) Karvonen, New York Mills; Erik Karvonen, Phoenix.
Seventeen grandchildren: Sarah Browne, Chanhassen; Ryan (Monica) Browne, Wadena; Marissa (Erik) Winegarden, Excelsior; Stacy (Jay) Forthun, Bismarck; Mandy (Chip) Stewart, Dallas; John (Jamie) Bradley, Edina; Reid (Bethany) Bradley, Minneapolis; Kjersten Bradley, Providence, RI; Aaron (Megan Pettow) Karvonen, Perham; Haley (Tarrel) Flanigan, Bluffton; Lexy (Taylor) Ziemann, Perham; Clayton (Brittany) Blickenstaff, Glyndon; Maya (Dave) Vukelich, Duluth; David (Sonja) Montgomery, St Paul; Matt Montgomery, North Oaks; Sophie (Andrew Stuart) Montgomery, Minneapolis; John Montgomery, St Paul.
Eighteen great-grandchildren: Paxton, Oscar, Harriet, Rosie, June, Duncan, Berk, Brooklyn, Cade, Adam, Miles, Malia, Colten, Ruby, Tait, Brooks, Cruz and Griffin. Nancy is also survived by sister-in-law, Jann Lee, New York Mills.
In honor of Nancy’s memory, please give to the New York Mills Food Shelf, 400 S. Walker Ave, New York Mills, MN 56567, Trinity Lutheran Church, or donor choice.