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LaVina Emma Fiola

September 1, 1915 January 21, 2019
LaVina Emma Fiola
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Obituary for LaVina Emma Fiola

LaVina Emma Fiola, the daughter of Otto Edward and Sophia Ottilia (Goedtke) Foss, was born on September 1, 1915. She grew up on the family farm in the N.E. corner of Worthington Township, land that has now been in her family's possession since 1886, earning the distinction of being a "Century Farm". She attended the local schools, her elementary years in country school, Pleasant Hill Dist. #96, and then Worthington High School. LaVina was proud of her rural upbringing, often speaking fondly of her childhood memories - feeding the chickens, picking raspberries to sell, milking the cows, wintertime rides to school in a bobsled, and helping prepare meals for the threshers during harvest time. Upon high school graduation, she delayed starting her own career in order to help her parents out on the farm.
In 1934, she enrolled in Lawrence Beauty School; while attending beautician classes in the Twin Cities, she would occasionally take the train home on weekends so she could continue helping out on the farm. After completing her training, LaVina found a job at Ball's Barber and Beauty Shop where she ultimately met her husband, Phil Fiola, who was employed there as a barber. They married on May 30, 1936 and soon decided to start their own business, Fiola's Barber and Beauty Shop. For several years, LaVina worked as a beauty operator and helped to oversee the beauty shop until deciding to stay at home to raise their five children.
While managing the family's household, LaVina became actively involved in various community organizations. She assisted with organizing the Red Cross blood drives, volunteered at the Worthington Hospital as a member of the Women's Auxiliary, participated in St. Mary's Church Women's Guild activities and, in her later years, helped out at Pioneer Village and attended the meetings of St. Mary's Church's Sewing Group. She also enjoyed socializing and playing bridge or 500 with different groups of her lady friends.
In the early 1960's, LaVina and Phil built a cabin on Lake Ida, near Alexandria, MN, which became the focal point for the family's summer vacations for the next 40 years. The St. Mary's neighborhood is still reaping the benefits of LaVina's beautification efforts - she brought back many sugar maple trees from up north to be transplanted on local boulevards.
Perhaps due to her farming roots, LaVina was a gardener at heart - raising vegetables in her oversized garden, planting apple trees and raspberry bushes, growing annuals/perennials in her outside flower beds, and houseplants indoors. Another holdover from her early days on the farm was her interest in canning or freezing the "fruits of her labor". She also had a particular fondness for birds, especially cardinals and purple martins. She worked tirelessly to offer the martins an attractive habitat, erecting special birdhouses, providing them used coffee grounds and broken eggshells, and chasing away the sparrows and cats.
Over the years, LaVina honed her skills in the kitchen and took pleasure in sharing her special holiday treat, "Sugar Plum Trees", with neighbors and friends, a tradition she has since passed on to her children.
After Phil's death in 1998, LaVina continued living in the house the two of them had built in 1940. With the supportive care of live-in aides the past few years, provided by Baywood Home Care, she was able to live out her life "on her own terms", remaining in her home until she passed away on Monday, January 21. Hers was truly a life well-lived.
LaVina is survived by her five children: Doug (Janet) Fiola, Kathy Sherwood, Janice Fiola, Jerry (Judy) Fiola, and Laurie (Mark Syrnick) Fiola. She is remembered by 5 grandchildren, step grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, 2 step great-grandchildren, 1 step great-great- granddaughter; and a sister, Vivian Hawkinson.
She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, an infant sister, and her sister, Marge.
There will be a visitation on Tuesday, January 29, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Worthington, MN, which will be followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. with Father Jim Callahan officiating. Burial will be in the Worthington Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Nobles County Historical Society in Worthington.

Previous Events

Visitation

Tuesday

29

Jan

9:30 AM 1/29/2019 9:30:00 AM - 11:00 AM 1/29/2019 11:00:00 AM
St. Mary's Catholic Church

1215 7th Ave
Worthington, MN 56187

St. Mary's Catholic Church
1215 7th Ave Worthington 56187 MN
United States

Service

Tuesday

29

Jan

11:00 AM 1/29/2019 11:00:00 AM
St. Mary's Catholic Church

1215 7th Ave
Worthington, MN 56187

St. Mary's Catholic Church
1215 7th Ave Worthington 56187 MN
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Worthington Cemetery Final Resting Place

Nobles St
Worthington, MN 56187

Nobles St Worthington 56187 MN
United States
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