Cover photo for Carla Jean Anderson's Obituary
Carla Jean Anderson Profile Photo

Carla Jean Anderson

April 16, 1935 — February 15, 2024

Mahtomedi, Minnesota

Carla Jean Anderson

Carla Jean Anderson of Mahtomedi was born April 16, 1935 and passed peacefully at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater on February 15, 2024 with her loving family by her side. She was preceded in death by her devoted husband of 58 years, LeRoy Douglas Anderson; her parents, Carl and Edna (Larson) Nordeen; her “second father”, Joseph Capello; in-laws Wilfred and Ellen (Westrom) Anderson; brother Captain William E. Nordeen, USN and sister-in-law Trish Nordeen, Portsmouth, RI; brother-in-law James Bastian and sister-in-law Phyllis Bastian, White Bear Lake, MN.

Carla leaves to celebrate her memory son Craig (Laura Roberts) Anderson, Salem, OR and daughter Peggy (Michael) Stone, Houlton, WI; grandchildren Michael and Lauren Anderson, and Olivia, Erik and Nicholas Edwards; brother Captain Michael B. (Patricia) Nordeen, USN (ret.), Melbourne, FL and Cohasset, MN; her orange tabby cat, Mandy; and several nieces and nephews.

Carla was born in Amery, WI and moved with her family at an early age to Centuria, WI where her parents owned and operated Nordeen’s Market, a small grocery store and butcher shop at the end of Main Street down by the railroad tracks. Carla spent many hours working in the store. From butchering beef to balancing the books, she was a very integral part of the business. She graduated from Centuria High School in 1953 as class valedictorian.

After high school, Carla attended school at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where she majored in English and Secondary Education. She remained in contact with her college friends throughout her life, and they gathered for regular lunch dates, daringly calling themselves “The Hotties”! She returned to Centuria and was hired by Unity School District, which was the result of the unification of the Centuria, Balsam Lake and Milltown school districts. Carla found herself back at UWRF in the 70’s, while working full time at Unity, and received her Master’s Degree in 1975. She continued her career at Unity, finally retiring in 1997 after 40 years of dedication to her career. She was described recently by a former co-worker at Unity as “Always so well dressed, perfect posture, looking beautiful, yet so professional. What a gem!” We couldn’t agree more!

Carla married LeRoy Douglas, son of Wilfred and Ellen Anderson of Centuria in July, 1958. They were blessed with two precious children: Craig Douglas in 1961 and Peggy Lynn in 1964. Grandchildren were something extra special! Carla joined LeRoy in retirement just before their last grandchild was born. They first became grandparents in 1992 when Olivia Lynn was born, followed shortly by Michael Benjamin. In 1995 they welcomed both Lauren Victoria and Erik Paul. And then in 1997, along came Nicholas John. Carla and LeRoy made it a point to see many of their school programs, attend many of their sporting events, celebrate them fully on birthdays and holidays, and treat them individually to a week at “Camp Grandma & Grandpa” each summer! Many memories were made simply walking or riding bike to the park to play at the playground, hiking at Interstate Park, watching Disney movies (or actually going to the movie theater in St. Croix Falls!), and baking goodies with Grandma. And as the grandkids were being loaded in the car to go home, she always said “Miss you already”.

Retirement was not just about the grandkids. Carla and LeRoy traveled quite extensively, both on their own and with tour groups. They traveled the country from one end to the other and on to Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and one tour to Northern Europe and the Scandinavian countries. The photographs show how happy they were to get to experience the world outside of Centuria! 

Carla was a huge animal lover, a trait she says was passed down from her Grandpa Larson, and one that she passed on to her kids and grandkids. She owned numerous dogs and cats throughout her lifetime, and had five cats at one point! She said LeRoy was the instigator, but she really didn’t mind; she loved them, too. She enjoyed all of her granddogs and great-granddogs, always making sure she knew which ones would be at family gatherings so she could prepare individual treat bags for each of them! She also provided a “hospital” for all of the torn and unstuffed dog toys that we brought to her for fixing. She always put them together again, good as new!

Music was a very big part of Carla’s life. She was an accomplished pianist and became the organist for several years at the Methodist Church in Centuria. She also learned to play the clarinet in high school and continued to play in college. She credits her involvement in the college band as the reason why she learned to love fried egg sandwiches and wheat toast; it was the only thing that would be fresh and hot when she finally got to the cafeteria after band practice! She eventually sold that clarinet to purchase an organ, which both Craig and Peggy learned to play, igniting their interest in exploring their own musical pursuits. In the past few years, when Carla took a break in the middle of the day to rest, she would put on her favorite music disc (ALWAYS the same one!) and “hover” in LeRoy’s recliner, which was her version of a nap.

Carla was a whiz in the kitchen, often recalling that she prepared an entire Thanksgiving dinner on her own at the age of 12! She loved a good burger on the grill, Mike Stone’s BBQ ribs, and Chicken Pad Thai at Big Bowl. She was legendary for her Chocolate Bundt Cake, and she and Phyllis perfected the lefse recipe that had been passed on down from Ellen’s family. Later in life, she left the cooking to the rest of us but kept busy with her many interests. She crocheted like a pro and made many items for herself, family, and the Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. She was an avid reader and was in two different book clubs at one time. She subscribed to TIME magazine and read every issue cover to cover. Carla wasn’t much of a TV watcher, but her weeknight routine was always the same: Jeopardy, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, and Wheel of Fortune. She also had a group of neighbors who would gather now and then to play Dominoes, which she really enjoyed. Back in Centuria, she and LeRoy were always in the yard, pruning the shrubs and planting pots of flowers and herbs. Their yard was truly a paradise that they took great pride in. In her Mahtomedi townhome, she didn’t have a yard to tend to but grew massive Boston Ferns every summer on her deck and front porch.

Carla was a strong, sophisticated, and amazing woman. She never shied away from adversity but instead put on her “big girl panties” and lived by her mantra “It could be worse”. She was a discerning woman, driven in the pursuit of excellence in all that she did. She expected nothing less than perfection from herself. Whether she attained that perfection or not, it didn’t matter to those of us who loved her. We all admired her, looked up to her, and knew that she was truly a gift in our lives.

Services will be held on March 15, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi, with visitation at 10:00 a.m. Memorials preferred to The Foundation of St. Andrew’s, The University of Wisconsin-River Falls Foundation, or Donor’s choice.

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Friday, March 15, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Andrew's Lutheran Church

900 Stillwater Rd, Mahtomedi, MN 55115

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Memorial Service

Friday, March 15, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Andrew's Lutheran Church

900 Stillwater Rd, Mahtomedi, MN 55115

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