Deanna Bernadette (Vatland) O’Toole passed away on May 20, 2020. Deanna is preceded in death by her parents Berndt and Mary Vatland, brothers Anders and Melvin, husband Raymond, and two sons Michael and Jeffrey. She is survived by sons Patrick (Brent Dierks) and Mark, daughters Mary Jo (Darrell Hemme), Kathleen (Gary Dahedl), and Barbara (Paul Brehm), grandchildren Brittney (Chris Hall), Alexander (Caitlin Brehm), Andrew (Leah Hemme), Brianna, Madeline, Hanna (Dustin Walters), Sophia, and Gavin, and great grandchildren Ashlee Hall, Kaedyn Bullerman, Levi Hemme, and Elliot Walters. Sister-in-laws, Marion Coleman, Ardith Rush, Audrey Bargisen, cousins, and nieces and nephews.
Deanna was born in 1925 in Luverne, MN to Berndt and Mary (Skoland) Vatland, who had both immigrated to Minnesota from Norway. After graduating from Luverne High School in 1943, Deanna moved to Chicago with other young women from Luverne to support the war effort by working in a transistor radio component factory. Upon her return from Chicago, she secured a job at the Bell Telephone Company in Luverne.
She met and married Raymond O’Toole in 1947. Together they raised seven children while farming. During these years on the farm, Deanna supported the family by managing the milk house and garden, canning foods, cooking, and seeing to all household and childcare needs. Deanna additionally worked many other supporting jobs from the 1960s through the 1980s. She co-owned and managed the local Dairy Queen, was a clerk at J.C. Penny’s and at Nelson Brothers’ Store, and worked at the Luverne Medical Center.
Service to others was always a significant part of Deanna’s life. For many years, she volunteered at Magnolia School, in the Magnolia Juniors 4-H Club, for Meals on Wheels, at the Luverne Community Hospital, and for St. Catherine’s Catholic Church. Deanna’s service was multigenerational and ranged from being a companion for elderly community members to helping raise grandchildren over the years.
When Deanna wasn’t working, volunteering, or serving her family, she found great enjoyment in social organizations. She belonged to two women’s circles (one with her church and another with high school classmates), the Red Hat Society, the local gardening club, the Luverne Wood Makers’ Club, and Rock County VFW Auxiliary Post 2757.
Deanna spent the last several years of her life in the home of one of her daughters, where she was surrounded by comfort and love, and visited often by people whose lives she touched. She remained loving, kind, and a gracious matriarch of the family until her death.
If Deanna was home, the coffee was on and the door was open. Many know that Deanna had a love for birds and flowers. At all times, Deanna’s flowers and beautiful yard on Main Street brought joy to those going by. She had the biggest and kindest heart, which she generously shared with those around her. She made a difference in the world and the void she leaves will be palpable.
A private family graveside service will be held at the St. Catherine’s Catholic Cemetery in Luverne. Officiated by Monsignor Gerald Kosse.
Dingmann Funeral Home & Cremation Services, in Luverne, is assisting the family with arrangements.
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