Cleo P. Softing, 96

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cleo P. Softing, 96

Cleo P. Softing, 96

Cleo P. Softing, 96, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away on Saturday evening Sept. 3, 2016, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, from complications following hip surgery.

Cleo Perle was born Jan. 5, 1920, in Hawley, Minnesota, to Nels P. and Susie Perle (Wyland) Olsen. She graduated from Hawley High School and went on to earn her teaching degree from Moorhead State Teaching College. She taught for two years in one room school houses. She then met her future husband on a blind date, and the rest was history! She married (Merland) Donald Softing on Aug. 30, 1942, in the chapel of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. Following her husband’s discharge from the army, they settled in Fargo, North Dakota, in 1945 where they built their own house and raised their wonderful family of five daughters. Don and Cleo were married for 62 years.

Cleo was a very interesting woman. Besides being a wife and mother, she was an amateur filmmaker, documenting her incredible family and their amazing life for more than 65 years. She also enjoyed quilting, sewing, gardening, and hunting with her husband. They loved spending time at their lake cottage (which they also built) on Big Cormorant Lake in Becker County, Minnesota. In 1993, they moved to Austin, Minnesota, to be closer to Belita and Dick Schindler.

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Cleo is survived by her daughters, Belita Schindler of Austin, Eloyes (Rick) Hill of Duluth, Jenelle Cummings of Austin, Alaina (Gareth Hataye) Softing-Hataye of Austin, Kecia (Ron) Freed of Petosky, Michigan; nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren; and sister, Dora Crowser, who will be 100 in January, of Spokane, Washington. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; two brothers, John and Elward Olsen; two sons-in-law, Dick Cummings and Dick Schindler; and granddaughter, Jessica Hill.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, at Worlein Funeral Home Chapel, Austin, Minnesota, with the Rev. Marvin E. Repinski officiating. Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. prior to the service. Interment will be later at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis.  Memorials in Cleo’s memory may be directed to Habitat for Humanity ( Condolences may be expressed to the family online at