Fern D. Bock, 81

Thief River Falls – FERN LIVED November 8, 1936 – April 5, 2018! The dates above may signify the beginning and end of life, but the most significant line above is the dash between those years. For that dash represents all the time Fern spent upon this earth and although we can do no justice in words how she spent this dash, we, her children, hope to share some of how she truly lived this gift of life.
Family and friends are invited to a special Celebration of Life in honor of our mother, Fern, from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at Fern’s home in Viking, with memorials starting at 2:30 p.m. Mom treasured one red rose over a dozen, so please know that in lieu of any flowers, we are sending all memorials given to Hospice of Red River Valley in honor of our Mom.
Mom always said she was lucky to be here in the first place, as any of us are. The reason Mom said she was so lucky is that she was born the third child of Martin and Alma Mathson at the “young” ages of 52 and 40. With her parents and two older siblings, Mabel and Clayton, they operated a dairy farm near Hazel. All helped to make the operation work.
Dairy farming offered a chance to be useful, was proud work, taught dedicated responsibility and kept a person humble, offering peace in their heart–attributes Mom would carry with her and pass on through her life.
Mom went on to become a teacher at the Roadside School, a one room country school west of St. Hilaire. It took only one year for her to decide that this was not for her, but the lessons she would offer all of us would continue her entire life. She was a mom like no other and we all benefited from her teachings. She loved to read, play games and bake. Her specialties being pies, cookies, doughnuts, lefse and buns. She said to always eat your mistakes so no one would ever know you failed.
She taught us that you should always display gifts from others to show those you love your appreciation. We learned there is always room for another giraffe, or sunflower or needlepoint wall art. She retired from needlepoint upon receiving a grand champion at the county fair.
Mom was fortunate to find love in her life, marrying Donald Peters in 1956. As newlyweds, they experienced many passions and joys of young love: dancing Saturday nights at Carpenter’s Corner and then again at Kulseth’s on Sunday, extended camping and fishing trips with family and friends and enjoying the yearly deer hunting extravaganzas with the neighbors, family and special friends, Al and Pat Blume.
After moving to the Twin Cities for a brief time, they made their home in the little yellow house near Viking, where they both got jobs and started farming with their own dairy herd. There was no running water at this house and it got so cold in the winters that they had to shut off one of the two bedrooms to make it tolerable. It was here that they were blessed with their four children: Suzanne, Vance, Scott and Rena.
In 1968, upon the death of Dad’s father, they moved the whole family into the four bedroom farmhouse owned by our grandmother, Selma, along with her brother Sigurd. They initially planned to stay for just the winter, but instead lived in the little crowded home for many years. Selma and Mom developed a special friendship that lasted the rest of their lives.
Mom and Dad loved adventure and would load all us kids up in the red GMC on exciting yearly camping excursions. It was crowded, but we loved every minute of it. Mom and Dad weren’t afraid of work ventures either. They started a large pig farm for a time, expanded into a large grain farming operation with friends, Harvey and Lucy Swenson, created the Lilac Ridge Trailer Court from scratch on some of their wooded land, operated a sawmill, and started a waterbed business, all the while never quitting their day jobs.
Despite all this, Mom was most proud of her children, showing that every day in how she would make sure we were all fed a hot meal each morning, working a full-time job, coming home to cook again, clean the house, do laundry, do farm chores, take care of the family businesses, and go to bed exhausted, only to wake up to do it all over again. She supported us all with our schooling, extracurricular, and 4-H activities, got us to church and Sunday school, and challenged us to make the most out of what we had and to better ourselves with sound decisions and strong work ethics. As kids, we were the ones who were truly blessed, just for having this miraculous, loving person as our mother.
Mom was a true professional as well, excelling as the corporate executive secretary position at Dow Key and Arctic Enterprises for 20 years. She always said she was rewarded with the privilege of working alongside such dignified men as Bill Ness and Lowell Swenson, and held them in the highest regard as colleagues and more importantly as lifelong friends.
Life throws us all curves and adjustments need to be made and for Mom it was no different. “You have to play the hand you’re dealt,” she would say, “but things could always be worse.” Dad passed away unexpectedly and Arctic Cat closed down. Although this was a difficult time, Mom met these life challenges head on. She bravely moved with Rena and her job to the Twin Cities, and also found a new love in her life, Frank Bock.
After marrying Frank in 1984, she shared a life living her dream of traveling and spending winters out of the cold in Texas, while still being around her Minnesota family during the summer. She loved the sunshine and warmth, which most reflected her spirit and went on many cruises with Frank and all her family.
Frank passed on and Mom returned to Viking, fulfilling another dream of putting a house in the woods on the land she always loved. Shortly after this, she once again found love with Doug Dehnert. Mom and Doug lived at Viking in the summer and Florida and Texas in the winter and travelled extensively for nearly 20 years all over the United States in the big green motorhome they shared. Mom said she was fortunate to have seen so much of the world, visiting all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe on a riverboat cruise. She wanted to see the world, and with Doug, she reached that goal.
Mom loved life itself and enjoyed sharing it with those she cared for most. Her friendships with all were genuine, kind and everlasting. She loved her 10 grandchildren; Jaime, Jessica, Chelsey, Ashley, Kameron, Logan, Noah, Megan, Taylor and Nicholas, passionately and unconditionally. She had 6 great-grandchildren, Mavrik, Camden, Coltyn, Brynley, Holden and Elodie, born in her lifetime, and was excited to learn that two more were on the way.
Mom was thrilled to be part of our lives every day, from the weddings we shared to the special get togethers with family and friends. She taught us about the importance of “family first” and responded to all situations in her life with unbridled love. Her main belief was to follow the golden rule by doing unto other as you would want those to do unto you.
Mom had a way of saying goodbye with words like “Love ya,” “Shalom” or “Stay Sweet,” but always made you want to stay. She would say to not cry because she was gone, but be happy that she did live. She made people’s lives better, just for having known her. We are glad for that and all things about our Mom. We are proud that her essence will live on through all of us.
In the end it’s not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Mom is survived by her children: Suzanne and Scott Puschinsky, Vance and Sherry Peters, Scott Peters, Rena and Mark Collins; 10 grandchildren and 6+ great-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her parents Martin Mathson and Alma (Moe) Mathson, sister Mabel Lemky, brother Clayton Mathson, husbands Donald Peters and Frank Bock, and life partner Doug Dehnert.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.johnsonfuneralservice.com