CAROL FAYE GILES DeWISPELAERE died peacefully with her family at her side on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at the Sanford Luverne Hospice Cottage in Luverne, Minnesota. She was born December 10, 1938 to Everett and Marjorie (Rokeh) Giles on the family farm near Balaton, Minnesota.
The fourth of seven children, she grew up enjoying the love and attention of many aunts and uncles. She became an attentive hostess by watching her parents host living room dances and card parties. As a child, she asked her aunts to save coupons from Betty Crocker cake boxes and was able to purchase a set of silverware. As an adult, she saved coupons for silverware for her daughters and a set of dishes for herself.
In high school she babysat, picked rocks, helped neighbor ladies, and worked at restaurants to purchase records she would share with her siblings. She enjoyed music and was often heard in the kitchen humming along with the radio.
Carol graduated from Hendricks High School in 1956 without missing a day of class. Following her dad’s death from a heart attack in August 1956 she moved with her mom and younger siblings to Marshall, Minnesota where she worked at Carrow’s Dry Cleaners.
She met Maurice DeWispelaere at a dance in Vesta, Minnesota. They married on November 8, 1958. They honeymooned in the national parks of the Southwest and were awed by the Grand Canyon and landscape that had no silos and barns. The couple lived in Lynd, Minnesota and had four children, Dan (1959), Laurie (1961), Angie (1963), and Dave (1969). In Lynd, they enjoyed many other young families in what they dubbed “Incubator Alley.” They farmed near Ivanhoe, Minnesota until 1969 when Carol and her children moved to Luverne, Minnesota. Carol and Maurice later divorced.
Carol supported her family by babysitting in her home. She cleaned houses and did custodial work at AR Woods Manufacturing Co. where she eventually became a machinist. Woods’ closing in 1981 revealed Carol’s talent as a baker and cook as she worked at Blue Mound Inn and Catering, Mary Jane Brown Home Food Services, and Casey’s Bakery. Many in the community remember her famous desserts: blueberry torte, cookie bars, banana bread, and, her always-requested, butter cutout cookies. If any of these treats made it to a break room, suddenly everyone needed a break. Her kids were adept at finding the secret spots where sweets were hidden. Carol outsmarted them by labeling the containers “squash.”
Carol loved and served the Lord as a member of St. Catherine Catholic Church. She was never one to toot her own horn, but she gave her heart and time volunteering at the MN Veterans Home, Mary Jane Brown Home, and Generations Senior Citizens Center. Her beautiful, gentle, almost shy smile or kind, encouraging words could light up someone’s day. Many were a delighted recipient of a handcrafted card, a small thoughtful gift or a fresh baked goodie. Her embroidered dish towels reached every corner of the US and always brought top dollar at family reunion auctions.
She enjoyed seeing life beyond southwest Minnesota traveling to England and Wales, Hawaii, and to visit her children in Alaska, Montana, and Colorado. She fished for halibut (and caught the biggest fish of the day!), tried skiing and experienced bunny slopes, and spent precious time with her grandchildren.
Little delighted her more than seeing her children and grandchildren excel and develop their own strengths which she quietly coached. A near drowning experience when she was a young girl caused her to make sure all her children took swimming lessons. She taught her kids a strong work ethic and to save their pennies for a rainy day.
Because she believed in the importance of education, a Dollars for Scholars Scholarship was established in her name on her 75th birthday. In her later years she enjoyed doing puzzles, reading, and watching the Minnesota Timberwolves. She proved her spelling skills while watching Wheel of Fortune, solving the puzzle ahead of everyone else, and participating in spelling and grammar activities her entire life. She also became very fond of her grand pets, Nellie and Tana.
Carol had a myriad of health issues beginning with her first heart attack at age 46. Exercise became an important part of her life. She could be seen walking miles in the country, then later doing laps in the city park. When she could no longer walk long distances, she could be found in an exercise class or doing the NuStep at the fitness center. She was a substitute leader for the Bone Builders class and enjoyed the new friends there. She was a brave and courageous woman and always worked toward better health.
Carol is survived by her children, Dan (Dawn) DeWispelaere of Luverne, Laurie (Jay Johnson) DeWispelaere of Glennallen, Alaska and Tucson, Arizona, Angie (Hans Schernthaner) DeWispelaere of Big Sky, Montana, and Dave (Angela) DeWispelaere of Loveland, Colorado; grandchildren, Nicholas (Bobbi) DeWispelaere, Abby DeWispelaere (Shane Oehlerts), Vince (Kristin) Johnson, Vanessa (Andrew) Duley, and Daniel and Alyssa DeWispelaere; great-grandchildren, Harper and Tejay DeWispelaere, Alex DeWispelaere and Hailey Click, Ryder, Cash, and Winter Johnson, and Nathan Duley; and siblings, Kenneth Giles, Colleen (Russ) Enga, Barb Possail, Darell (Lois) Giles, and Donnie (Mary) Giles. She was preceded in death by her parents; brother and sister-in-law, Roger and Janice Giles; brothers-in-law, Don Laabs and Jerry Possail; and sisters-in-law, Juanita Giles and Shelba Giles.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Carol Giles DeWispelaere Dollars for Scholars Scholarship (Luverne), American Heart Association, American Diabetic Association, or Generations Senior Citizens Center (Luverne).