Laura E Kolden, 89, of Rochester, Minnesota died in her home on August 15, 2021. Laura was born on February 24, 1932 to Alexander and Genowefa Torner in Vilno, Poland. The Torner family was forced to flee from Vilno at the outbreak of World War II, when Laura was seven years old, and they were refuges through the duration of the war and in the years thereafter as they tried to stay ahead of the bombing and battles. Unable to return home after the war, they immigrated to the United States, thanks to the sponsorship of the Alfred Holslin family of rural Alberta and Rev. James Sonnenberg of Trinity Lutheran Church of Alberta in early May 1949. The Holslin family remained special friends of Laura Kolden for life, and were near to her heart, thanks to their generosity in helping give them a start in the United States. She remembered thinking “where is Minnesota? when the family learned that is where they were going, and being disappointed they were not going to settle in New York or Chicago. In later years, however; she thanked God that He brought her to Minnesota; and was very devoted to her adopted land.
Laura soon met the Norwegian bachelor farmer, Norris Kolden, who was farming just down the road from the Holslin farm, and they were united in marriage by Rev. Sonnenberg on August 27, 1949. They made their home in rural Alberta until 1955, then Morris, MN until 1981, and finally to the lake home they built near Glenwood, MN. Laura’s beloved husband passed in 2005, and Laura continued to live in their lake home near Glenwood until finally moving to Rochester, MN in 2016.
In recent years, Laura enjoyed knitting hundreds of wash cloths and scrubbies for family, friends and strangers. She loved nature, and she enjoyed observing birds nesting and feeding, and walking outdoors as much as she could. Her special joy was to spend time each day in fellowship with the creator of nature, spending many hours in devotionals and prayer, and discussing the Lord’s ways with Pastor David Steffenson. Her strong faith and love for her Lord Jesus was evident in her love and joy to those around her.
Laura is survived by four children, Annette (Norman) Wegener, Sharon Matzke, Carol Graham and Tom (Elizabeth) Kolden, six grandchildren; Michelle Mistelske, Alexandra Mistelske, Michael J. Matzke, Adam Modares, Alex (Jucilene) Graham and Samuel (Rachel) Graham; and four great grandchildren; Emma Matzke, Elijah Matzke, Lillianna Matzke and Valentina Graham; and one sister, Alinka (Albert) Sendek. She was preceded in death by her husband, Norris Kolden, one grandchild, Melissa Matzke, and one great grandchild, Breianna Mistelske..
A Funeral Service was held at 2:00 PM, Friday, August 20, 2021 at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes with a visitation one hour prior to the service. Burial was at 1:30 pm on Saturday, August 21, 2021 at the Frog Lake Cemetery in Alberta, Minnesota.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Kolden family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com