Alice Mae Beske


Alice Mae (Olson) Beske, age 90, of Hector, Minnesota passed away peacefully on Friday, March 12, 2021. A private family service will be held and a celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date once pandemic circumstances have subsided to allow for safe gatherings in large crowds. Memorials to the Hector United Methodist Church are preferred. In lieu of flowers, please share a meal or an act of kindness with a friend. 

All who knew our beloved Grandma likely also knew her cooking. Whether she was making a Swedish smörgåsbord for Christmas Eve, serving up homemade caramel rolls and egg coffee at the cabin, or cooking for hundreds of people at the Church’s Chicken Pie Supper, Grandma was always putting an extra dash of love into everything she made. She had a motto when cooking: “if little is good, much is better.” And while this typically referred to the amount of butter in her recipes, we found this same philosophy carried into how she lived her life: putting more into her community, her faith, and her family. In each of these pillars of her life, she shared herself openly, generously, and unconditionally with love, a smile, and an infectiously positive attitude. 

Grandma was born in Hector on November 3, 1930 and spent all of her 90 years giving back to the town she was so proud to call home. Together, Grandma and Grandpa Howard raised three amazing children. While Grandpa supported local farmers through their Service Implement business, Grandma worked with young students as a teacher and paraprofessional until age 83. She was an active member of her community, the Lioness Club, her bridge group, and her golf club, and always carried her “candy bag” to share a sweet treat wherever she went. 

The Hector United Methodist Church–where Grandma was baptized, confirmed and married–especially brought her great joy. She spent years as a Sunday School teacher and an active member of UMW, supporting everything from salad luncheons to candlelight services on Christmas Eve. We have countless wonderful memories of her quiet generous faith in action, and know the church was truly her second home. 

A favorite tradition of Grandma’s was to begin our meals together by joining hands to sing a variation of Johnny Appleseed, giving thanks for “the things I need, the sun and the rain and the *family.*” And oh, did she love her family. From the North Shore to the fjords of Norway, Grandma looked for any opportunity to gather us together in the great outdoors. She was an avid traveler, and with the help of Grandpa, has inspired each of us to explore every corner of the world, being quick to point out that she had grandchildren living all the way from Alaska to London. Still, no place was more cherished than her cabin on Big Kandiyohi, where she hosted hundreds of happy, sunburnt, and incredibly well-fed friends and family over the years. This was her happy place, and one of great peace for all of us. We’re sure she’s out on the end of the dock with Grandpa now, enjoying a cup of egg coffee and minding the bobbers. 

Through it all, Grandma taught us the importance of a positive attitude and hard day’s work. She was strong and ever patient, reminding us to appreciate life’s little blessings. Through her devotion to family, we’ve inherited countless traditions that we now proudly carry forward. Until the day she passed, Grandma was sweet to her core, quick to smile, and immeasurably selfless–even reminding her nurses and doctors to get some food and rest. Above all, she’s shown us the definition of a generous heart, proving that there’s always room for one more seat around the table.

She is dearly missed by her children: Lee and Sara of Mankato, Chuck and Cindy of Lakeville, and Kris and Rick Estenson of Northfield; her grandchildren: Phil and Erin, Alisa and Bryan, Andrew and Paige, Sam, Maria and Hayden; her very sweet great-granddaughters: Amelia, Cora, and Sofia; her brother Shorty Olson, sister-in-law Doris Olson, many nieces and nephews; and countless dear friends and “cabin family” members. We are comforted as she is reunited in Heaven with her loving husband, Howard; her parents, Edla and Henry; her siblings Spike, Helen, and Margie; and her beautiful granddaughter Kaitlin.  In your own words, Grandma, we love you much.


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