MaryLou (Mary Louise Schmitt) Sollien, 1968

MARYLOU (MARY LOUISE SCHMITT) SOLLIEN, recently of Minneapolis, and formerly of Decorah, died peacefully of complications of Alzheimer's disease July 26, 2012. She will be missed by family, friends, and dogs everywhere. MaryLou was born to William and Della Schmitt July 18, 1932, in St. Paul, Minn. She graduated from Ridgeway High School in 1950. While working for the Decorah Newspapers, she met and married fellow employee, Floyd Sollien, in 1955. Together they raised three children: Judith, David and Steven. She continued to do freelance work for the paper for many years. MaryLou also was an active supporter and volunteer at the Vesterhiem and Porter House Museums, Luther College and the Nordic Fest. MaryLou and Floyd traveled extensively throughout the world. Her love of history led them to Egypt, Turkey, China and much of Europe and the Americas. While in Decorah she shared Floyd's passion for conservation and woodland preservation. They were recognized among America's top tree farmers in 1994. Floyd and Mary Lou received the Distinguished Service Award from Luther College in 1995. They were Life Members of President’s Council and members of Heritage Club. The Floyd and MaryLou Sollien Natural History Scholarship was established at Luther in 1996. After wintering in Bonita Bay, Fla. for many years, Floyd and MaryLou became Florida residents in 1994, but continued to maintain a home outside Decorah. They returned to Decorah in 2007 and moved to Wellington Place. After Floyd's passing, MaryLou relocated to the Jones-Harrison Residence in Minneapolis to be near her children. MaryLou will be remembered for the grace with which she lived her final years, her kindness to all she encountered, and her heartfelt appreciation for friends, family and caregivers. Her family thanks the numerous friends who continued to include her in their lives and thoughts even as she became unable to fully participate, and to her exceptional caregivers at Wellington Place, Jones-Harrison and Methodist Hospice Care. MaryLou is survived by siblings: Willmar Smith, wife Audrey, of Concrete, Wash., Ginger (Jean) Fishback, husband Charles, of Postville; children, Judith Rubin, David Sollien, wife Julia, and Steven Sollien, wife Christine Hoffman; grandchildren, Peter (Fred) Torvik, Harry Torvik, and their father, Peter (Ole) Torvik, all of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. A memorial service was held Aug. 25, 2012, at First Lutheran Church, Decorah, with a private internment at Decorah cemetery. Memorials may be sent to: Alzheimer's Association. P.O. Box 96011, Washington, D.C. 20090-6011, the Floyd and MaryLou Sollien Natural History Scholarship, c/o Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101; or in care of Steven Sollien, 1415 Hewitt Ave. St Paul, MN. 55104.