Mary Karlberg, 1943-2019

Published 1:00 am Tuesday, August 6, 2019

It is with great sadness that the family of Mary Ellen (Vig) Karlberg announces her passing in New York after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was peaceful at last on Sunday, July 7, 2019, at the age of 75.

Mary Karlberg

Mary was born Oct. 28, 1943, at Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea to Lucille (Hansen) Vig and A.M. “Bill” Vig. Mary’s grandfather helped start Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. She grew up attending Trinity Lutheran in Albert Lea, where she was baptized, confirmed and married James “Jim” Ernest Karlberg in 1967.

The Marine Corps allowed them to travel all over the world, until retirement brought them back to Minnesota in 1991. They lived in Eden Prairie until 2014, when they moved to New York to be near daughter Kristen’s family, as Mary’s Alzheimer’s disease progressed.

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Mary attended school in Albert Lea and graduated in 1962 from Albert Lea High School. She attended Mankato State University and then worked for Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. in Minneapolis.

After marrying Jim, Mary was a partner in Yarn, Candles & Straw in North Carolina, served as a cooking class instructor in Japan, worked in a jewelry store in Arizona, a babysitter in Tennessee, a volunteer extordinaire in Oklahoma, rental agent, and maker of polar fleece Vig Lids hats and created beautiful stuffed bears in Eden Prairie.

Mary was many things, among them a helper of all and listener to many. She was always ready to sew, bake or pray for others. Mary was grace and peace and love. Her talent as a Bible study leader, quilter, seamstress and baker allowed her to fulfill her role as the ultimate supporter of her family and friends. She was always on call to help with grandchildren and cousins, and hosted Thanksgiving dinners and prepared Christmas cookies and Danish kringle for the extended family.

Mary was very active in Baptist churches, beginning in Japan and continuing on in Valley Baptist in Yuma, Arizona, to Shelby Forest Baptist Church in Millington, Tennessee, Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon, Oklahoma, and Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie.

Mary is survived by her loving husband of 52 years, Jim, who is a retired master sergeant; daughters Linda (Kurt) Hallgren and Kristen Karlberg (Robert Skriloff); son, E.J. (Melissa) Karlberg; grandchildren Dan (Mely) Hallgren, Trina Hallgren, Sammie Hallgren, Owen Skriloff, Theo Skriloff, Hansen Karlberg and Mila Karlberg; and many other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Margi Guildner and Judy Schacht; special aunt, Ethel Sondergaard; and close cousin, Alta Mae (Bud) Madsen.

Her family extends much love to Angelina Brown for her constant support and loving care of Mary over the last couple of years. They are eternally grateful for her!

A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, MN 55318. Her family will be available from 1 to 5  p.m.

Online memorials can be left at

Donations/remembrances are preferred in Mary’s name to the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, 11440 San Vicente Boulevard, Suite 301, Los Angeles, CA 90049 or