In loving memory

Adeline Clarice Leraas


Photo courtesy of Linda Leraas Ray
Adelaine Clarice Leraas will be remembered for her illustrious career in health care and her service to her community.

Adeline Clarice Leraas passed away peacefully in hospice care at the Hoffman Senior Living facility in Hoffman, Minn., on Dec. 23, 2021, at the age of 92. 

Adeline was born to Anton and Clara (Hesjedal) Leraas on March 26, 1929, on her family’s farm near Alamo, Divide County, N.D., where her parents were homesteaders. She was baptized on April 25, 1929, at Trinity Lutheran Church in rural Alamo. 

In 1937, at the age of 8, Adeline moved with her family to a farm near Barrett, Minn., in Lien Township where her parents had grown up. She was confirmed on May 9, 1943, at First Lutheran Church in Elbow Lake, Minn.

Adeline graduated from Barrett High School as valedictorian in 1946, having started school a year ahead of her peers. She then graduated from Northwestern School of Nursing in June 1949, again at the top of her class.

While working her way up to head nurse at Northwestern Hospital, she attended the University of Minnesota, obtaining her bachelor’s degree with high distinction in 1954. From 1954 to 1961 Adeline worked as an instructor in surgical nursing at Minneapolis General School of Nursing. 

Adeline obtained her Master of Education degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 1962. She served as an assistant professor of medical surgical nursing at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., from 1962 to 1970, then as the director of nursing education at Mount Sinai Hospital, Minneapolis, from 1970 to 1988. 

From 1988 to 1990, she served as education specialist and supervisor of the Education Department at Metropolitan-Mount Sinai Medical Center in Minneapolis and concluded her remarkable nursing career as a nursing instructor and tutor at the College of St. Catherine, St. Mary’s Campus, St. Paul, Minn., from 1991 until 1996. 

Adeline was an advocate for social justice and ethics throughout her life. She was so admired by her nursing students for her caring and loving manner. She was a member of the American Nurses Association, the Minnesota Association of Health Education and Training, Sigma Theta Tau, the National League for Nursing, and the Northwestern Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association. She served on the advisory committees for St. Mary’s Junior College, the Minneapolis Technical Institute, the Hospital Home Health Agency, and the St. Paul Vocational Technical Institute.

Adeline was an active member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Minneapolis since the 1960s. She served as a Sunday school teacher and music leader, children’s choir director, senior choir member, coffee server, Loaves & Fishes volunteer, communion assistant for Sunrise Programs to Seniors, delegate for synod conventions, altar guild, packer of baskets for the needy at Thanksgiving and Christmas, Kaleidoscope after-school program, neighborhood visitation, lector, soloist, church council, caroler to shut-ins, nursery volunteer in summer, and food pantry volunteer. At Messiah, Adeline also served on the Memorial Foundation, Christian Education, Worship & Music, Interchurch, Hymn, Scholarship, Synod Candidate, and Pastoral Call committees. 

She was remembered for participating in more than 25 productions of the “Messiah Players,” including roles as Mother Superior in “The Sound of Music” and Mama in “I Remember Mama.” 

Adeline was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Reuben, Carl, and Gordon Leraas, and sister, Martha (Leraas) Bartz Block, nephew, Byron Bartz, grandnephew, Jason Ray, and great-grandnephew, Tenney Little.

She is survived by nieces Joyce (Larry) Winkelman, Janice (Don) Hellendrung, Deborah (Allen) Alberg, Karen Marie Block, Carol Ann (Doug) Stender, Bonnie Leraas, Lou Ann (Tom) Benham, Linda (Steve) Ray, Cheryl (Wayne) Nelson, and Lynette (Marc) Moen, as well as numerous grand and great-grand nieces and nephews. “Aunt Addie” never had children of her own but all children brought her such great joy her entire life. 

Funeral services for Adeline were held on Friday, Dec. 31 at Peace Lutheran Church, 218 Church St., Barrett, MN. Internment of ashes will take place at a later date at Immanuel Church Cemetery in Lien Township, the church where Adeline’s grandparents Ole and Martha Leraas from Hordaland, Norway, were charter members in 1872. Immanuel Church has been recently restored and is celebrating its 150th anniversary this summer. Adeline cherished her Norwegian heritage, traveling there in 1992, and enjoying events at Norway House and services and concerts at Mindekirken in Minneapolis. 

God bless the memory of Adeline Leraas.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 4, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.