Viola Refsal age 96 of Richfield, formerly of Westbrook, passed away Saturday, February 22, 2014 at her home. Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 28 at the Westbrook Funeral Home. Visitation is 5:00-7:00 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home and will continue one hour prior to services on Friday. Interment is in Westbrook Cemetery. Stephens Funeral Service – Westbrook Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Viola Vivian Mitchell, youngest daughter of Martha Mischke and Alexander Mitchell, was born July 12, 1917, on the family farm in Rosehill Township, Cottonwood County, MN. She was baptized in infancy at the Rosehill Lutheran Church. Viola attended District 51 school for eight years. During Viola’s youth, her family joined the Immanuel Baptist Church of Westbrook, where Viola married Alton M. Refsal on December 28, 1948. A Westbrook High School graduate with the Class of 1935, Viola attended Mankato State Teacher’s College, and received her four year degree in Elementary Education in 1939. Viola’s first two years of teaching (1939-1941) were grades one and two at Hendricks Public School. She next moved to a kindergarten position at North Saint Paul Public School until 1943. After teaching kindergarten a year in Winona, Viola secured a Civil Service position with the United States Army Signal Corps at Arlington, Virginia, where she worked until September 1945. Viola returned to teaching with a kindergarten position in Saint Paul in 1945. Viola and Alton lived in Saint Paul, and Viola continued teaching until son Kent was born. They built a new home and moved to Richfield in October 1955, where son Todd joined the family. The Refsal family joined Oak Grove Lutheran Church in Richfield and Viola served as a Sunday School and Bible School teacher. After graduate work, Viola returned to teach kindergarten at Northgate Public School in Bloomington, Minnesota in 1968. She retired from teaching in 1982. In October of 2000, Viola and Alton moved to Woodlake Village in Richfield, where they enjoyed their new life together until Alton passed away January 25, 2002. Viola moved to Mainstreet Village of Richfield in September 2010, and resided in an independent apartment until her death on February 22.
Viola is survived by her sons, Kent (Judy Marteniuk) of Laingsburg, Michigan; Todd of Edina, MN; grandsons Andrew and Michael of Michigan; brother Maurice Mitchell of Westbrook, MN; nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Alton Refsal, parents, sisters Clara and Elsie Mitchell, Alice Lindstrom, Flossie Gertner, and brother Chester Mitchell, along with infant sisters Lorraine and Myrtle.