Cover photo for Charlene Tolzmann Jennings's Obituary
Charlene Tolzmann Jennings Profile Photo
1939 Charlene 2023

Charlene Tolzmann Jennings

October 3, 1939 — July 12, 2023

of Needles, California formerly of Forest Lake

Charlene Bernice Jennings (nee Tolzmann), age 83, of Needles, California, died peacefully in her home while surrounded by her beloved family on July 12, 2023.


Charlene was born October 3, 1939, in Amery, Wisconsin, to Leonard and Irene (Hendrickson) Tolzmann.  She grew up in Forest Lake, Minnesota, and was a proud member of the Forest Lake High School class of 1957.  She attended Gustavus Adoplphus College, and later married Ben Jennings. 


She lived in Washington, DC, New York City, San Francisco, Minneapolis and New Orleans before moving to Las Vegas, where she resided for more than 50 years while working in advertising and public relations.


Her children, Vicki and Todd, were the center of her life, while her extended family of relatives and lifelong friends drew her back to Minnesota for decades of annual visits.


Over the course of her lifetime, she met an amazing group of people, ranging from astronauts to Nobel Prize winners to celebrities from the full spectrum of the entertainment world.


She loved music, traveling, hats (she was rarely seen without wearing a hat), bowling, Nut Goodies, Broadway theatre, cooking Mexican food, Minnesota sports teams, hosting her annual Christmas party (she often began decorating her tree in October), her Red Hat Society friends and the Vegas Golden Knights (she was able to celebrate their Stanley Cup championship just one month before she died). She adored the Bee Gees, Pink Floyd, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond and reveled in those occasions when she got to see all of them perform live in concert.


She married Dr. Edward Grossman in 1993, and they enjoyed an active life together until his death in 2014. (On one harrowing night, Char saved Eddie’s life, after he suffered a heart attack.)


In her later years, she enjoyed the company of her granddaughter, Taryn and great- grandchildren, and made the move to Oceanside, California, to be with her daughter, Vicki and son-in-law, Allyn.  Within the last few months, Char had moved with them to Needles, California.


She was preceded in death by her parents, Leonard and Irene Tolzmann; her son, Todd Jennings and her husband, Dr. Edward Grossman.


Charlene is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Vicki and Allyn Kelley; granddaughter, Taryn Williams (Nate); great-grandchildren, Damen and Atlas; brother, Rev. Arlyn Tolzmann (Jeanne); brother, Brian Tolzmann (Jennifer); and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.


A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, Forest Lake, MN, on August 20, 2023.  The family will greet friends one half hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, Charlene had requested that any memorials be given to Faith Lutheran Church.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charlene Tolzmann Jennings, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, August 20, 2023

Starts at 12:30 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

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