Mourners remember Andersen

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 15, 2002

Friends and family returned to Grace Lutheran Church of Austin Sunday to celebrate the life of a loved one.

Lisa M. Andersen, 30, died Wednesday, July 10, at a Rochester hospital of complications suffered in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident this spring.

Her funeral was held Saturday at Grace Lutheran Church, where a large crowed heard her eulogized by the Rev. Harold Deye, senior pastor at the church.

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On Sunday, over 300 people returned for a benefit for the Andersen family. The benefit had been scheduled before her death and sponsors and family decided to proceed with the event.

"We had so many people volunteer to help," said Jeannine Anderson, who with her husband, Larry, were among the organizers of the event. "People just kept coming up and asking to help. Family and friends of Lisa's and others too. They asked 'What can I do?'"

Dennis Magnuson donated three hogs and Ron Meyer and the Piggy Blues restaurant crew prepared barbecued pork sandwiches for the picnic on the Grace Lutheran Church grounds Sunday.

Among the major contributors of the fund-raiser were Jim's Supervalu, Hy-Vee Food Store and CashWise Food and Drugs.

The benefit was helped by an organ concert earlier Sunday afternoon at the church.

Timothy Olsen, a native of Frost, performed in concert at the church both for Sunday morning worship servicers and the prior to the Andersen benefit. Many of the people at the Olsen concert remained for the benefit.

Entertainment at the benefit was provided by AnnMarie Wagner, current Miss Austin, and Taylor Carlson, Miss Austin of 2000, as well as Mark Bliese who provided accompaniment.

There were children's games and activities, as well as fellowship.

Jamey Andersen and his two sons, Alex and Adam, were special guests at the benefit for his wife and children's mother.

Andersen was a former businessowner in Austin,

where she graduated high school in 1989.

She suffered multiple injuries in an Easter Sunday accident, when she went into an apparent diabetic coma.

Despite being released from the hospital this summer, her conditioned worsened at home and she returned to the hospital for more care. She died Wednesday.

Anderson said a wrap-up meeting will be held soon before a check is presented to the Andersen family.

Among the sponsors of the benefit for Andersen were local AAL organizations, who provided matching funds, and whose members also volunteered for picnic duties Sunday.

A silent auction also helped raise money to defray the family's medical expenses.

"It was a huge success," said Anderson. "People were so generous. It was just amazing. We received small contributions to very large contributions. We went from a memorial to Lisa to a celebration of her life all in one weekend. We are so grateful to everyone."

(Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at