Judith Stenbeck, 68, of Harmony
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 4:18 AM
Judith Anne "Judy" Stenbeck, 68, of Harmony, died Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester.
She was born March 1, 1945, in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada, to Esther Overland. At the age of 3 months, she was adopted by her maternal aunt and uncle, Alvin and Laura Stenbeck. In 1946, the family moved to Harmony, the birthplace of her mother and aunt. She attended Harmony Public Schools and then Winona State College.
She married Richard Armstrong in 1967 and taught junior high English, first at Harmony and then at Frank B. Kellogg School in Rochester.
In 1979, she married Gary Haugen of Lanesboro and briefly relocated to New Mexico. In 1987, she divorced again and returned to her hometown of Harmony.
From 1976 to 1979 and from 1984 to 2002, she worked for SEMCAC. Most of those years were spent as an outreach specialist, which she found to be especially fulfilling work. She later valued the customer interactions made at Walmart in Decorah as a cashier, customer service manager and greeter.
In 1995, she began a very close and devoted relationship with Dean Olson of Harmony. In particular, she considered his children and grandchildren as her own.
She loved to spend her time fishing, cooking and dancing. She also found great enjoyment participating in the Greenfield Lutheran choir.
Her adoption was kept secret from most family and friends until the final months of her life. Eventually, she was able to connect with her half-siblings, who had previously known her as a cousin. This was a great gift and comfort to her.
She is survived by sons Alan (Alexandra) Armstrong of Roseville and Eric (Callie) Armstrong, of Marshall, Wis.; grandsons, Grayson and Gabriel of Marshall; partner, Dean Olson and his children and grandchildren; and half-siblings, Donna, Lyle, Sydney, Paul and David, all of Canada.
She is preceded in death by her birth mother, Esther Lester, her parents, Alvin Stenbeck and Laura Overland Stenbeck, second husband, Gary Haugen, and half-sister, Sylvia.
Services were held at Greenfield Lutheran Church in Harmony on Monday, Nov. 11, with the Rev. Betsy Dart officiating.