Caroline Marie Anderson “Big Ma”, 88, Ely, passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 3, 2019, at the Boundary Waters Care Center surrounded by her loving family.
Caroline was born on March 12, 1931, in Ely, Minnesota to Joseph and Ethel Klobuchar. She later graduated from Virginia High School in 1949.
She married William Andrew Anderson of Ely on November 19, 1949, in Ely, Minnesota.
Caroline was a stay at home mother until the youngest of their 11 children entered the Ely School District. She then worked for the school district in a variety of positions, including the lunchroom, a custodial position in the former JFK school building and a secretary to the high school counselor before retiring in the early 1990s. She especially enjoyed the secretarial job as she forged many great friendships with the students and took great pleasure in seeing the success they would later enjoy.
Caroline loved spending time with family and friends. She also loved taking in countless sporting events, including hockey, basketball, football, baseball and tennis, that her children were involved with for the better part of 30 plus years. To say she was a staunch supporter of the Ely Timberwolves would be a big understatement!
Both Caroline and Bill would always put their children first, and because of that, they did not always have time to enjoy their own lives together. It was all about the kids and later the grandkids— but that is where they gleaned the most joy from, and they would not have changed a thing.
However, there were times when raising that many children weighed on Caroline and that was evident when one of the 11 kids would ask where she was going and she would snap back, “Crazy! Do you want to come?”
Caroline loved getting together for gatherings at the family cabin on Burntside. She welcomed anyone and everyone to stop in for a bite to eat or a beverage to enjoy on a warm summer day or a cool fall evening. She was one to always take care of the needs of others before herself and that was one attribute her family and friends admired most about her. Her kids particularly enjoyed Sunday nights when she would make homemade bread and hot cocoa—we we’re loved.
Caroline also felt blessed during the holidays, especially Christmas when everyone made it home. We were in awe of her as she wrapped presents, wrote Christmas cards, baked cookies and still found time to make potica to have on Christmas morning. Caroline’s kids and grandkids looked forward to eating her homemade meals.
Caroline never had a sister, but she had wonderful circles of friends that she cherished with all of her heart. She found her sisters in all of them and once you were a friend you were a friend for life.
She also enjoyed taking part in many social activities in both Ely and Virginia. Those affiliations included: the Women’s Life Insurance Society; General Federation of Women’s Club Projects; Delta Master Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi; the Red Hat Society; Meals on Wheels; Ely Business Women’s Organization; Secretary/Treasurer of AFSME; and Secretary/Treasurer of Indian Education for the Ely School District. She was also a member of the Grace Lutheran Church in Ely and Gethsemane Lutheran Church of Virginia and participated in the Salome and Priscella Circle of those respective churches. She was a proud member of the Virginia Class of 49.
Caroline was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Ethel Klobuchar, her father and mother-in-law, John and Mary Anderson; her husband, William; son, William; grandson, Joseph William; brothers, Harry, Kennard and John; sister-in-laws, Lorraine, Judy and Sharon Klobuchar; Norma Johnson; Eleanor Anderson; brother-in-laws, Bud Johnson and John Anderson; along with numerous very special aunts and uncles.
She is survived by her brother, Jerry of Burlington, Wisconsin; brother and sister in law Jim and Dale Anderson of Hermantown, daughters, Sue Ellen (Kim) Kainz of Ely and Cheryl (Mike) Moats of Larimore, North Dakota; eight sons, Mick (Sandy) of Tower; Dave (Stephanie) of Ely; Steve (Michele) of Soudan; Terry (Sally) of Soudan; Jeffrey (Janice) of Marinette, Wisconsin; Timmy of Ely; Thomas (Tracey) of Virginia and Brian (Terri) of Hibbing. They all had nicknames so you might better remember them as Lone Wolf, Clyde, Eens, Susie Q, Bear Hunter, Fresh, Uncle T, Tago, Toot and Spoon.
She is also survived by 35 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, and two great, great-grandchildren and many special cousins.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely. The wake will be held at the funeral home from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, October 10th.
Visitation will continue on Friday, October 11th at 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. service at the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. Pastor Eric Thiele from the Grace Lutheran Church will officiate. Luncheon will follow in the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church basement.
A private family burial will follow at the Ely Cemetery.
The family would like to thank the caring staff at the Boundary Water Care Center and Ely Hospice for their compassion, love, and support during Caroline’s journey home to God.