Cover photo for Phyllis Geraldine Totland's Obituary
Phyllis Geraldine Totland Profile Photo
1927 Phyllis 2015

Phyllis Geraldine Totland

October 23, 1927 — July 18, 2015

Phyllis G. Totland, 87, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, died Saturday, July 18, 2015, at Essentia Health-Oak Crossing in Detroit Lakes. Phyllis was born October 23, 1927, in Kingsley, Iowa, the daughter of Herbert and Katherine (Trieglaff) Steffen. Her family moved to Frazee, Minnesota, when she was a young child, and Phyllis graduated from Frazee High School in 1945. She attended St. Luke's Nursing School, graduating in 1948. Phyllis was united in marriage to Milton Totland on September 6, 1948, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Frazee. They made their home in Detroit Lakes, where Phyllis worked as a nurse at St. Mary's Hospital until arthritis forced an early retirement in 1972 from the career she loved. She quietly endured the pain and disability caused by that disease as she continued serving her family. Phyllis was an involved member of First Lutheran Church and its Church Circle. Her life was focused on her family and friends. Phyllis loved her eight grandchildren, who enjoyed her and the many special gifts and thoughtful things she did for them. Her interest in their dreams and their lives made them feel truly special. Phyllis was especially proud of her 14 "greats" and was delighted with both visits and pictures of these little ones. She enjoyed gardening and yard work and was a wonderful cook and excellent seamstress; quilts and blankets that she made more than 35 years ago are still much loved and used today. Over the years she met regularly with nursing school classmates and coworkers for lunch, and for nearly 50 years she and the same neighborhood friends gathered to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions together. Phyllis also loved weekly visits with her special friends. She will be remembered as a generous and kindhearted lady who put the needs of others before her own. She will be greatly missed. Phyllis is survived by her two daughters, Katherine (Bruce) Jacobson of Makanda, Ill., and Barbara (Robert) Tomlinson of Sewell, N.J.; son John (Carol) Totland of Fergus Falls, Minn.; son-in-law Lee Kittelson of Fergus Falls; eight grandchildren, Kelly (Rob DeWig) Jacobson, Kristi Jacobson, Brian (Julia) Kittelson, Mark (Alyssia) Kittelson, Kimberly (Leo) Loxtercamp, Tami (Eric) Carpenter, Nicole (Chip) VanNess and Sara (Greg) Stokes; 14 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Milton; daughter, Karen Kittelson; and brother, Dale Steffen. Memorials are preferred to Hospice of the Red River Valley.
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