Cover photo for Lillian Paananen's Obituary
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1923 Lillian 2017

Lillian Paananen

July 22, 1923 — September 9, 2017

   Lillian was born on July 22, 1923 in Rake, Iowa to Ludvik and Magda (Elstad) Bjerke. As a small child she moved with her family to Bricelyn, MN where she attended public school and graduated from the Bricelyn High School with the Class of 1940. She went on to attend Mankato State College where she studied office management. As a young woman, Lillian gained employment working for the Lavoris Mouthwash Company in Minneapolis as a secretary for ten years. On November 9, 1946, Lillian’s life was fulfilled in her marriage to Reino W. Paananen in Bricelyn, MN. She devoted her life to making a warm and loving home for her husband. She was a wonderful cook and baker who loved to entertain family and friends. Lillian worked as an executive secretary for the Vice-President of Operations for the Northern States Power Company (now Excel Energy) in a career that spanned over 20 years. In addition, Lillian helped Reino by working evenings in their Dairy Queen business which was located in Spring Lake Park, MN until they sold it in 1967. Throughout their marriage, she and Reino loved to travel. Their memorable trips took them to Finland, Norway, Hawaii, the Caribbean and throughout the United States. In addition, for over 35 years they enjoyed spending their winters in sunny Arizona. Lillian loved spending free time outdoors, working on crossword puzzles or doting on the love of her life, Reino.    Lillian will be lovingly remembered by her soulmate and husband for the past 71 years, Reino of Menahga; as well as many precious nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.    She was preceded in death by her parents and three brothers: Dr. Mentor Bjerke, Kermit Bjerke and Clifford Bjerke.
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