Blanche Niemi, 89, resident of Callaway, died Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at her residence and under care of Hospice of the Red River Valley.
Blanche Aino Marian Rousu was born July 29, 1924 in rural Callaway to Ale and Emma (Pellinen) Rousu.
She graduated from Detroit Lakes High School in 1942. After graduation she moved briefly to Chicago and worked in an ammunitions plant during World War II. She moved back to Minnesota and received her teaching license.
On June 15, 1946 Blanche was united in marriage to John W. Niemi in Henning. They resided in Ponsford until 1947, before moving to Chisholm and Cherry where they lived from 1947-1954.
In 1954, they relocated to Menahga, where Blanche taught grades 1-8 in area country schools. From 1966-1970 they lived in Seattle, Wash. and Blanche worked for Boeing Airlines. During the summer of 1970 they moved to Callaway and have resided there ever since.
Blanche continued her career in education. She organized and directed Head Start on the White Earth Reservation for 25 years. She volunteered her time as youth director for the Becker County Farmers Union for 40 years, and was an active member of the Minnesota Finnish Historical Society, the Mary Martha Society at church and Ogema VFW Ladies Auxiliary.
In her spare time, Blanche enjoyed woodworking, drawing and feeding/watching birds of all species. With her welcoming nature, Blanche's home became a gathering place for all family and friends to visit and have a cup of coffee. She instilled in her children a strong work ethic and love for family.
Blanche will be remembered and missed by her daughter, Ailene (Gary) Rosentreter of Lake Park; two sons, Donavon Niemi of Lake Tapps, Wash. and Kenneth (Donna) Niemi of Callaway; 11 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; five sisters, Mimi (Don) Luedtke of Hibbing, Phyllis St. Claire of Callaway, Claire (Simon) Hill of Aitkin, Jean Johnson of Callaway and Patsy (Jim) Johnson of Meadowland; five brothers, Charlie (Jenny) Rousu of Fargo, N.D., Dan (Sue) Rousu of Ogema, Tom (Lee) Rousu, David (Delores) Rousu, and Paul (Margie) Rousu all of Callaway; along with many nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents; husband, John (2007); son, Arnold "Arnie"; two brothers, George and Tim; and two sisters, Donna and infant sister, Patsy.
Funeral service: 11 a.m. Monday, May 19 at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, Callaway.
Visitation: 5 to 7 p.m. with a 7 p.m. prayer service, Sunday, May 18 at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church, also one hour prior to service on Monday.
Interment: Camp Ripley Cemetery, near Little Falls.