Harriet E. Oldenburg, 91

Published 7:13 am Thursday, January 11, 2024

Harriet E. Oldenburg, 91

Harriet Elise (Fargusson) Oldenburg, 91, passed away peacefully in her home on January 2nd, 2024.

Harriet was born in Cresco, IA, to Earl and Martha Fargusson on May 9th, 1932. She was the youngest of seven children. She spent most of her childhood years in Chester, IA. After her father’s passing, the family moved from Chester to Austin, MN. When Harriet was fifteen, she began working in her mother’s grocery store before and after school.

Harriet graduated from Austin High School in 1949. She married her high school sweetheart, Donald “Donnie” Oldenburg on June 10th, 1951. Together they raised four children. In the early 1970s, Harriet and Donnie were devastated by the loss of twin babies.

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Various jobs included working in the Hormel invoice office, homemaker, a variety of retail stores, Sears drapery and carpet department and Wallace’s drapery department.

In the 1970s, Harriet had the opportunity to further her education. She attended Riverland College in Austin and Mankato State University. In 1976, she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Corrections and Social Work.

Harriet began her social work career at the MN Sheriff’s Boys Ranch. From there she worked for Steele County Social Services and Mower County Social Services where she retired in 1996. Prior to her retirement, Harriet and Donnie purchased a place near Leech Lake and during the summers they hosted many family gatherings.

Following her retirement she worked as Guardian Ad Litem for juveniles in need and along with her husband, became active volunteers for the American Red Cross disaster relief.

Harriet and Donnie vacationed in Hawaii several times and eventually became “winter Texans” in Port Aransas, TX. After Donnie’s death in 2004, Harriet would travel alone to Port A to spend the winter with friends and family. She enjoyed the company of fellow winter Texans, playing bridge, dinner parties, sight seeing and watching the big ships. Castaways shrimp was her “go to” meal.

Harriet continued to live on her own until 2017 at which time she moved in with her son Douglas and his wife Shelley. She continued to play bridge at the Austin Senior Center and enjoyed shopping trips to places like Talbots and Otto’s Bakery. She enjoyed birthday suppers at George’s in Geneva and would occasionally imbibe in a brandy 7.

Other things she enjoyed recently were fishing trips to Mille Lacs with family, short trips to Texas with her daughters, attending performances by her nephew, Bill Maxwell, in Northern Minnesota, going to movies and theater performances with family, and Sunday family pizza night.

Harriet is survived by her children, Donald “Craig” (Cecelia) Oldenburg of Wausau, WI, Donna (Kevin) Whiteford of Waseca, MN, Douglas Oldenburg of Austin, MN, Elizabeth “Beth” (Lincoln) Cole of Alden, MN; nine grandchildren; sixteen great-grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews and other family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Donald Oldenburg; infant twins; granddaughter, Venae Oldenburg; daughter-in-law, Shelley Oldenburg; great grandson, Gadge Weitzel; siblings, Lois Cole, Evalyn Brownlow, Virginia “Ginny” Dutcher, Ralph Fargusson, Earl Fargusson Jr, and Elizabeth “Liz” Maxwell.

A funeral service will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, January 20th, 2024 at the First United Methodist Church with the Reverend Vickie Spyhalski and the Reverend David Dutcher officiating. Visitation will be held from 4-7 pm on Friday, January 19th at Clasen-Jordan Mortuary and will continue for one hour before the service at the church on Saturday, January 20th. Interment will take place at 1 pm on Sunday, January 21st at Bloomfield Cemetery in Ostrander, MN. Arrangements by Clasen-Jordan Mortuary