Arla LaVonne Holstad was born on her parent’s farm home in Tenhassen Township, Martin County, rural southern Minnesota on April 27, 1929, the daughter of Harold Richard Belville and Olga Elinor (Lindell) Belville. LaVonne grew up in southern Minnesota and in the Lake Millls area attending rural school. She graduated in 1946 from Lake Mills High School. LaVonne was the 5th of 12 children.
LaVonne's greatest ambition was to be a farmer’s wife. On August 17, 1947, LaVonne married Waldo Burnell Holstad at the Sion Lutheran Church parsonage. “Vonnie” and “Brick” farmed for 12 years in the Brookfield Township area of Worth County. To their great happiness, that farm has remained in the Holstad family for over 100 years. In 2012, LaVonne led four generations of family members on stage at the Iowa State Fair to receive the Century Farm award from the Iowa Department of Agriculture. In 1960, LaVonne and Waldo moved to Los Angeles, California. In 1966, they returned to the Midwest, moving to White Bear Lake, Minnesota. LaVonne worked at Montgomery Wards and Northwest Airlines until she retired in 1977. Even after “retirement,” LaVonne continued to work in supporting roles at multiple businesses started by her children. LaVonne was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Forest Lake, Minnesota.
Spending time with Waldo was her favorite activity. They loved attending horse sales or parades with their horses, and never missed a family event. LaVonne also enjoyed making crafts and was an accomplished seamstress. She routinely created pillows and blankets to give as gifts during the holidays. If she was not sitting being a sewing machine, she was probably in the kitchen baking something. Likely her world-famous chocolate chip cookies. If there was not a Vikings or Twins game on in the background, the TV would certainly be tuned to MSNBC.
More than anything, LaVonne loved talking to family and friends, whether they lived next door or thousands of miles away, no matter how long it had been since the last conversation. She could tell stories for hours, recalling vivid details about events long ago, and listened intently to what was going on in others’ lives. Above all else, she was happy knowing that others were happy.
LaVonne died on Friday, October 5th, 2018, at the age of 89 years, five months, and eight days. She was surrounded by family and friends. LaVonne was preceded in death by her husband Waldo in 2003, and siblings Richard Belville, Donald Belville, Ruby Clausen, Muriel Schiltz, Darlene Hauge, Marvin Belville, Patricia Garcia, and son-in-law Lynn Groe. LaVonne is survived by her children, Linda Groe of Waukon, IA, Wayne (Julie) Holstad of Dellwood, MN, and Joel (Jody) Holstad of Forest Lake MN; 8 grandchildren, Karna (Shawn) Schroeder, Brad (Darla) Groe, Jon (Christina) Holstad, Joe Holstad, Amanda (Randy) Kamstra, Peter (Cassie) Holstad, Devon Holstad, and Bryce Holstad; and 8 great-grandchildren, Anna, David, Stephen, and Max Schroeder, Haley Groe, Anneliese Holstad, Addison Kamstra, and Cullen Holstad. LaVonne is also survived by 2 sisters, Mildred Huna and Helen Mikle and 2 brothers, Robert Belville, and Darrel (Karen) Belville, a sister-in-law, Bonnie Belville, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.
Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 13, 2018 at Sion Lutheran Church, 4525 Finch Ave., Lake Mills, IA. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until time of service. Interment at Sion Lutheran Cemetery.
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