Bernice Tolbers, 1924-2017

Published 1:00 am Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Funeral services for Bernice Tolbers, 92, of Albert Lea, will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at United Methodist Church. The Rev. Joyce Shaman will officiate. Interment will be at Graceland Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday. Online condolences are welcome at

Bernice Tolbers

Bernice died Friday, April 14, 2017, at Prairie Senior Cottages in Albert Lea.

Bernice Ione Tolbers was born May 3, 1924, in Mankato, the daughter of Emil and Ione (Palmer) Dusbabek. She attended schools in Albert Lea, Mason City, Waseca and graduated from Faribault High School in 1942. Bernice was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, was baptized in the old Methodist church in Albert Lea, confirmed in the Faribault church, and had been active all her life in the services of the churches she attended. She met Harold Tolbers at Lake Frontenac at a Methodist youth camp in 1944, and they were married at United Methodist Church in Faribault on May 30, 1946.

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They moved to Minneapolis, where Harold attended Dunwoody College and then moved to Albert Lea to build their home and raise a family. She worked at Federated Insurance Co. in Owatonna, Wilson & Co., Ruud Motors and Evans Garage doing the accounting, then changed jobs working as a nurse’s aide at Naeve Hospital for four years before retiring. Harold and Bernice built a cabin in Waterville and spent a lot of time there, where they enjoyed their children and grandchildren and boated and fished on the weekends. A large garden by the lake was a lot of fun, and Bernice enjoyed the climbing roses she grew that covered the sides of their cabin each summer. After Harold retired from Interstate Power Co. after 40 years of service, they purchased a motorhome and traveled throughout the United States and Canada and the couple drove to Alaska and into Mexico with friends and relatives for many years. They spent most winters in Arizona.

Three children survive her, Judy and  her husband,Rick Zoller, Allen Tolbers and Barry Tolbers; grandchildren Robert Mereness, Amy and Mike Fischer, Shawn Zoller, Christine and Greg Nielsen, Brandi Schwenk, Serena and Brian Gardner, Tony and Jen Tolbers, Becky Tolbers; and 15 great-grandchildren.

Bernice was preceded in death by her husband, Harold, in 2003; sister, Doris Trytten, in 1998; and her parents, Ione in 1981 and Emil in 1954.