Carolynn Ann Blanding passed away peacefully on October 27, 2023, surrounded by family.
She was born on September 24, 1947, to Landon and Delores (Walstrom) Miller, Moorhead, MN. She moved to Detroit Lakes, MN in 8th grade and graduated from Detroit Lakes High School in 1965. She graduated from Bemidji State University with a history degree in 1968 and then later, after having three children, earned her master’s degree in special education from the University of Minnesota in 1985.
Carolynn married her high school sweetheart, Don Blanding, on December 28, 1968. She is survived by Don, their three children and eight grandchildren; Christine (Doug) Ventrelli (Joe, Will, Cate), Lino Lakes, MN; Karen (Tim) Richtsmeier (Erika, Annie), Lino Lakes, MN; Steven (Tracy) Blanding (Jack, Logan, Ella), Andover, MN, brother; Mark (Emy) Miller, Fargo, ND. She was preceded in death by her parents.
After they were married, she and Don raised their family in Fridley, MN. Carolynn worked as a history teacher, homebound tutor and substitute teacher while her kids were young. After receiving her master’s degree, she taught special education students at Blaine High School until her retirement in 2002.
Faith was an important part of Carolynn’s life. While living in Fridley, she was an active member of Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton. She thoroughly enjoyed singing in the choir and in several musical productions at CTK. Carolynn played an integral role in getting their Christmas musical broadcasted on public television and featured in the Star Tribune. She also served as the sunshine person, recognizing members’ birthdays, weddings and other life events. After moving back to Detroit Lakes, she and Don joined the Congregational United Church of Christ. There, she participated in the choir and a faith centered book club. In recent years, she spent countless hours reading her Bible. When it became too difficult for her, she would ask Don to read it to her.
She loved planning, anticipating, and going on vacations. Family trips over spring break to warmer climates and vacations with longtime friends allowed for respite and many adventures. As Carolynn and Don transitioned into retirement, trips abroad that centered around the historical nature of the destination were a history buff’s dream. Also, during retirement, she and Don wintered some 15 years on Marco Island, Florida. For Carolynn, long walks on the beach, water aerobics, book club and visits from children and grandchildren were just a few of the many highlights of time spent on the island.
Carolynn enjoyed many aspects of life on Rock Lake. Summers off allowed for long weekends and the month of July “at the lake” accompanied by many other stays throughout the spring and fall. Her favorite activities included sailing, swimming, and sunning on a floating lounge chair. In 2002, she and Don moved to Rock Lake and built their retirement home behind the existing family cabin. Tending to her “park” became a labor of love. Talking Don into an in-ground sprinkler system throughout, eased the demand of dragging hoses across the driveway to water her many flowers and plants. The one constant throughout these years at Rock Lake was her gift and desire to entertain. Carolynn’s face beamed as family and friends gathered; Whether she was serving appetizers on the porch, or a meal that overflowed the kitchen table, she made sure everyone was well fed and had a drink in their hand!
Carolynn will be remembered for her beautiful smile, contagious laugh and cheerful disposition.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, November 5, 2023, from 5 to 7:00 PM at DAVID-DONEHOWER FUNERAL HOME (609 US HWY 10 E., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501). A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, November 6, 2023, at 11:00 AM at the CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST (900 Lake Ave, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501).
The family wishes to thank the staff at Pelican Landing in Detroit Lakes, Essentia Health Hospital-Fargo, The Pillars Hospice Home in Oakdale and Beyond Hospice. We will forever be grateful for their care and compassion.
For those wishing, memorials in Carolynn’s memory are preferred to the Foundation of the Congregational United Church of Christ, Detroit Lakes, MN.