Lila Theressa Lee Storaasli died Aug. 19, 2023, at 103 years, 11 months. For 63 of those years, she actively contributed to congregational life at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church and was well-known for her civic involvement in the community.
Lila was born Sept 14, 1919, on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, near the Mississippi River, where she grew up alongside two brothers (one who died at 14) and four sisters. She enjoyed animals and was always helping her dad Ole milk cows. She raised a calf that won a blue ribbon in the County Fair.
Lila skipped a grade before graduating from Viroqua High School, and then attended Gale College one year until she was old enough to enter the Fairview School of Nursing in Minneapolis, earning her RN degree to begin work as a surgical nurse in Mankato.
Lila met her husband, Olaf, singing in a joint Luther Seminary–Fairview Nurses Choir. They married in 1942 and spent their lives devoted to each other, their faith, service to others, and their children. Lila’s 1944–59 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, homes welcomed and housed numerous seminary students and guests while Olaf served as a pastor and seminary president.
She served on Boards of Lutheran Nurses Guild, Women’s Mission Federation, and Lutheran Sunset Home’s first Board. Before moving to St. Paul, in 1959–’60, Lila and her family lived in an Edinburgh (Scotland) flat formerly occupied by Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle, followed by a three-month summer camping trip through 13 European countries.
On returning to St. Paul, Lila resumed nursing at Fairview and Lyngblomsten. Lila’s gracious hospitality included hosting international students. She loved summers at Ottertail Lake, sabbaticals (Scotland, Claremont, Rome, New Guinea and Richmond), co-leading a Holyland Tour, and world travel. She loved Bible study and book groups, and shared God’s love for 63 years at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church. She sang in the choir and worked with the quilters there.
Lila always set a beautiful table, was a well-known baby-whisperer and an intrepid cribbage player. She learned to pump gas at age 86, and could get any kind of stain out of any fabric. She rode in her grandson’s experimental aircraft at 92, and swam in Ottertail Lake until her 102nd year.
Preceding her in death: husband Olaf; parents Ole and Mena Lee; brothers Rev. Orlando (Myrtle) and Harold Lee; sisters Gladys Froiland, Mildred (Oris) Churness, Amber (Reuben) Helgerson; and two sons-in-law, François Hutin and James Nestingen.
Lila is survived by sister Edith Sandwick; children: Olaf (Barbara) Storaasli; Carolyn Nestingen; Faith Hutin (Arnold) Rydman; Elizabeth Storaasli (Mark Knutson); 11 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.