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Mescal Gooden, 1927-2017

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Mansfield Church in Mansfield for Mescal Loraine Gooden, 90, who died peacefully in her sleep Thursday night, May 18, 2017, on the farm near Emmons where she had lived since 1946. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bayview Funeral Home in Albert Lea and prior to the service at the church. Interment will follow at Schneider Cemetery.

Mescal was born Mothers Day, May 8, 1927, in a farm house near Leland in Winnebago County. The fifth of Leo and Laura (Oyer) Halvorsen’s seven children, she was baptized in the Methodist church in Forest City and attended first grade in Leland, Iowa.

In 1933 the family moved to Worth County and lived for one year on her maternal grandparents’ farm. In 1934 they moved to Freeborn County, where she attended the District 84 country school. She graduated from Emmons High School in 1944 as both valedictorian and president of her graduating class.

Mescal Gooden

On Nov. 14, 1944, she was united in marriage to Donald L. Gooden by the Rev. A.H. Oerke in the Emmons church parsonage. Upon Don’s honorable discharge from the Navy in 1946, they moved to a farm on “Wall Street,” now known as 640th Avenue. They farmed and — for a few years — ran Valley Manufacturing Co. Until his death, they were active in the Freeborn County DFL and Farmers’ Union organizations. Mescal’s hobbies included reading, photography — she delighted especially in taking “candid” shots — and writing poems for family and friends for birthdays and other special occasions. She enjoyed crossword and word puzzles and was a diehard Minnesota Twins fan. She, Don, and the farm were the touchstone and the constant in the lives of her children, grandchildren and (later) her great-grandchildren. She delighted in reading stories and singing nonsense songs to her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren. She kept everyone well (too well) fed, and was known to her youngest grandchild as the “cookie grandma,” but after everyone was fed she was first at the table to play games — particularly card games — with her family.

She is survived by her six children, Sharyl Hawker of rural Emmons, Jacqueline (Allan) Dahl of rural Joice, Lonna (Joe) Van Horn of Northwood, Larry (Leslea Bivins) Gooden of rural Emmons, Shannon Albertson (fiance, Lonnie Teidt) of Dunkerton, Iowa, and Melanie (John Szymanowski) Gooden of rural Emmons; 14 grandchildren, Mitchal (Beth) Hawker, Shane (Dawn) Dahl, Jay (Erin) Dahl, Travis Dahl (fiance, Karen Kwan), Devon (Kari) Osel, Jeff (Lila) Van Horn, Michael (Michelle) Van Horn, Chara (Daniel Nappo) Van Horn, Michelle Van Horn, Brandt Van Horn, Laurel Gooden, Jocelyn (Aaron) Boss, Wesley Buntenbach and Samantha Szymanowski; 28 great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; one sister, Ingri Krech; four sisters-in-law, Barbara Halvorsen, Marian Gooden, Jeannette Gooden and Betty Peterson; dozens of nieces and nephews — to whom she was known as “Aunt Pesty” or “Aunty Pest ” — and their numerous offspring; as well as cousins beyond counting.

Mescal Gooden

She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald; brothers Leo (Bud) Halvorsen Jr., Paul Halvorsen and Rodney Halvorsen; sisters Doris Woynowskie and Maxine Halvorsen; brothers-in-law Ed Woynowskie, Russell Krech, Ollie (Bo) Gooden Jr. and Robert Gooden; sisters-in-law Alma Halvorsen, Rose Marie Halvorsen and Darlene Halvorsen; two grandsons, Daniel Jon Hawker and Trevor Albertson; and granddaughter-in-law, Karen Binning Dahl.