MARY LOU SLINDEN
(APRIL 15, 1923 – DECEMBER 7, 2022)
Robed in Baptismal promise, Mary Lou (Trelstad) Slinden of Litchfield suddenly passed on to eternal life on December 7, 2022, at age 99. In her last days, she had sung Christmas carols, prayed and visited with family. Walking vigorously to the end, she was an example of faith, gratitude, contentment, compassion, love of family and was quick with a laugh and smiles. Her life was marked by deep and fulfilling friendships.
Mary Lou was born on April 15, 1923, to Rev. John and Carey Trelstad in Atwater, MN where her father was pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran church. She spent her childhood summers at her family’s cherished lake cabin on Diamond Lake, near Atwater. This tradition continued throughout her life, with trips to the lake where she enjoyed time talking, laughing, sharing stories and playing games with family, including her great nieces and nephews.
She graduated from Atwater High School in 1941 and then attended Nurses Training at St. Olaf College and Fairview Hospital. Mary Lou participated in a letter-writing program to servicemen during World War II. The recipient of her letters was Gillman Slinden and she and Gil were later married in 1945. They welcomed their son Mark, who passed away in his first months, and then their beloved son, Brian, who also lives in Litchfield. Mary Lou was employed by several Litchfield physicians as a receptionist and bookkeeper.
The church was Mary Lou’s second home from the start. She was baptized and confirmed at Bethlehem Lutheran and spent her adult life as a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Litchfield. She was an active member who taught Sunday School, led Bible studies, sang in the Senior Choir, and participated in Circle groups and mission quilt sewing. An avid reader and life-long learner, she was also in charge of the church library.
In her own recollection, she said, “I was singing before I could talk” and singing continued to be central throughout her life. She sang with her family, in church choirs, and with the Choralaires (now Rainbow Singers). Her delight in vigorous hymn singing and commitment to singing in parts made her a joy in worship and everywhere she went. She was also a disciplined musician who played piano nightly for an hour as the last thing she did before bed. In addition to music, she enjoyed golf and travel, adventuring to places such as Norway and the Holy Land as well as trips within the United States.
She is preceded in death by her husband Gillman and her infant son, Mark, as well as her parents and her brother, John Trelstad. Mary Lou is survived by her son, Brian Slinden; sister-in-law, Carol Trelstad; nieces and nephews; great nieces and nephews; and God-daughter, Lorie Gunner.
A funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM on Thursday December 15, 2022, at Zion Lutheran Church in Litchfield, MN. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at church. Following a lunch and coffee, interment will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery in Atwater, MN.