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June Lucille Nerness
June 1, 1936 ~ October 10, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old
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June Lucille (Tawzer) Nerness was born in Blue Island, Illinois to Johanna “Hannah” L. (Stevenson) and Frank L. Tawzer on June 1, 1936 and left us peacefully, restfully, the evening of October 10, 2023. After graduating High School she attended Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa where she studied education and music, sang in the Waldorf Choir, and attained her Associate of Arts degree. She continued her studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in June, 1957.
Later that month she married ElRoy C. Nerness of Storden, Minnesota and they had two children, Eric A. Nerness (May 1961) and Daniel W. Nerness (June 1968). The family enjoyed many years of camping, boating, fishing and hunting with close family friends.
In 1980 the decision was made to find a cabin for the family, and June would often be heard saying “we can be on any lake we want, as long as it’s Kabekona”. That summer the family purchased a portion of the Cry of the Loon Lodge, and for the next 44 years she reveled in her days at Kabekona.
In 1986 she and her husband decided to take separate paths in life, and she returned to education, enrolling in a Masters of Liturgical Music program at Luther Seminary, though she later transferred programs and was ultimately conferred a Masters of Divinity. She spent many years thereafter in pastoral care and visits with patients at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.
June’s greatest and enduring legacy will be her love and knowledge of music, that she shared with untold hundreds of people, whether as a public school teacher in Highland Park, St. Paul; St. Louis Park; or at the Mound-Westonka school districts. For decades she taught piano and other instrumental lessons, directed senior, youth and bell choirs at a number of churches around the Twin Cities, and when she wasn’t directing a choir, she would often serve as a cantor for her congregation.
She spent many of her later years with her fiancée, Larry M. Smith, with whom she played bridge, traveled, or simply spent autumn afternoons walking the beautiful forests of Northern Minnesota, ostensibly grouse hunting.
June was preceded in death by her parents and two older sisters, Mary Joanne (Harold) Vaughn, Frances T. (Lou) Bonato, husband ElRoy, son Daniel and fiancée Larry. She is survived by her son Eric and daughter in-law Tara (LaCroix), three grandchildren, Andrew P. Nerness and his wife, Sarah (Meyers), Maria C. Nerness, her partner Stormont Mahoney and their son, Casey R. Mahoney, and Raina A. (LaCroix) Lagen, and her husband John, as well as six nieces and nephews, and many grand and great grand nieces and nephews.
Funeral services for June will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 18, 2023 at Hope Lutheran Church, 305 10th Street S., Walker, MN. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service from 10-11 a.m. Pastor Matthew McWaters will officiate. Interment in Lakeport Cemetery at Laporte, MN will follow services at the church.
June’s care has been entrusted to the Norther Peace Funeral Home of Walker, MN. Online condolences for the family may be given at www.northernpeace.com