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Monday, June 17, 2024

Leola Mae Ross

Leola “Lee” Mae Ross age 101, of Cheboygan, Michigan, formerly of Mountain Lake, Minnesota died on December 6, 2023, at her home in Cheboygan, Michigan.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, December 13, 2023 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Sturm Funeral Home, Mountain Lake Chapel with special sharing time scheduled at 5 pm. The visitation will continue on Thursday from 9:30 am until 10:30 am at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Mountain Lake.

Service will be held at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Mountain Lake, on Thursday, December 14, 2023 at 10:30 am.

The clergy will be Rev. Rick Bremseth. Interment will be at the Mountain Lake City Cemetery in Mountain Lake, Minnesota.

Arrangements are with the Sturm Funeral Home in Mtn. Lake, Minnesota. Online condolences and memories of Leola may be left for the family at www.sturmfh.com.

There are probably few left around who can testify to the great and positive influence of Lee Ross. That’s what happens when you nearly reach 102. She had a colorful life, mostly in a forgotten part of a small, prairie town in southwest Minnesota, where her hope and encouragement of others helped to overcome an almost overwhelmingly despairing conservatism.

She was born in Nicollet County, March 11, 1922, to a powerful but impoverished family, the Havemeiers of the New Ulm area. Her parents were Albert and Alma, from Courtland. She was the eldest daughter of nine children; her sister, Helen, surviving. For years, she lied about her age, especially as she wanted to go to school. To do so, she lodged with others, and eventually graduated from an early University of Minnesota program in microbiology.

After a stint working for the Department of the Navy’s Intelligence unit in Seattle in 1944, as a civilian (recognized as a Rosie Riveter in 2019), where she had moved to marry Donald Ross, who was stationed there as a pilot for the US Naval Air Corp, they returned back together to Mt. Lake Minnesota, had three children (Jane, Robert, Andrew) and went to work at a local doctor’s office. She had a thirty-year relationship with medical practice in that small town, while designing several local area medical labs, working long hours and dispensing cheerfulness and hope to hundreds of souls.

She was active as a Sunday School teacher at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Mt. Lake, designing and using puppets and felt boards to illustrate stories she interpreted in her own unique way. She was a Boy and Girl Scout Den mother, did stints as a local comedienne, and started her own clinic, Wholesome Data Resource, where she designed health equipment (The Swedish Body Bender), provided health and wellness counseling and sold a series of early computer medical diagnostic systems she designed. She had a wealth of close friends.

When her eyesight began to fail her in her early 90s, she retired and devoted the rest of her life to efforts to care for her husband, Don, and to raise the spirits of anyone and everyone around her. She spent the last few years living at her son and daughter-in-law’s home in Cheboygan, Michigan, where she fretted over her inability to do more; she was the joy of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and everyone she met or talked to on the phone (a constant activity, especially with her daughter, Jane, and her nephew, David). She died in her sleep the morning of December 5, 2023, having never been in pain, but with a heart that had finished working.

She leaves behind a legacy of good works, three old children, 11 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, 3 great- great grandchildren and a throng of humans who are better for having met her.

Any donations or gifts in her name should be directed to the Cheboygan Opera House in Cheboygan, Michigan, where she was an avid supporter.

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