Thief River Falls - Mrs. Walter J. Forney (Dee) Surrounded by her family, Mrs. Walter J. Forney (Dee) passed away at her home in Thief River Falls, on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 at the age of 86.
A visitation for Mrs. Forney will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20. At 4 p.m., a Vesper Memorial Service will be held in Mrs. Forney’s honor. Interment will follow at Greenwood Cemetery, Thief River Falls. Memorials may be sent to the Trinity Lutheran Church General Fund, 325 Horace Ave N, Thief River Falls, MN 56701.
Dolores Marion Stonestrom Forney was born on a farm Northeast of Maddock, N.D., to David and Martha Moen Stonestrom on Aug. 19, 1927.
Dee spent her junior year of high school at Hillcrest Lutheran Bible School in Fergus Falls, where she continued to hone her musical skills. She returned to Maddock and graduated Valedictorian from Maddock High School in 1945.
After high school she attended and graduated from airline school in Minneapolis as an air traffic controller. She worked for Capital Airlines in New York City in operations and later returned to Minneapolis to work for Republic Airlines.
In 1947, she enrolled at the University of North Dakota where she met the “Love of her Life,” her future husband Walter Junior Forney who was in the civil engineering program. They were married in 1951 after graduating from UND.
“Dee” graduated with high honors from the University with a B.A. in social work with minors in education, psychology, Norwegian language and literature. She also received a Certificate in applied music (organ and piano) from Wesley College, Grand Forks, N.D.
Dee taught for 10 years in the Grand Forks School district as a Special Education instructor, the first Special Education teacher in the district and the second Special Education instructor in the State of North Dakota. As her family began to grow she left the school system and began to teach private piano and organ lessons for the next seventeen years, at one time having from 30 to 40 students.
She served as organist at University Lutheran Church in Grand Forks, Our Saviors Lutheran Church in East Grand Forks.
She was active in many organizations: including, the Grand Forks Community Music Association, Board member Community Chest; President of Women’s Club Community Council; member AAUW; President and accompanist of the Euterpe Music Club in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. She served as district and state president of the Minnesota Federation of Music Clubs. After serving four years as state president (1966–70), the state board conferred life membership for service to the organization. She continued to serve as the District coordinator for the Northern Lights District.
After moving to Thief River Falls she continued to teach piano and organ lessons. She served as president of the Trinity Lutheran Church Women and President of the TRF Concert Association. She was organist at Trinity Lutheran Church, a member of the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers Auxiliary, and a charter member of the local chapter of AAUW.
In 1975 she was one of the founding members of the TRF Community Arts Council serving as president for four years. She was instrumental in securing the initial appearance of the Art Train. She continued her involvement in the arts by serving on a variety of state and local boards. Along with her family, music was her “passion.”
In 1970, Dee was selected for inclusion in Who’s Who in the Midwest and Who’s Who of American Women.
Survivors include children, Jay (Mary) Forney of Bemidji, David (Nancy) Forney of Glendale, Ariz., Don (Joan) Forney, Crookston, and Jim (Sue) Forney, Dent; grandchildren Walter, William, Michael, Christopher, David Jr, Maria, Meghan, Ross, Jennifer, Tylor, Dakota, and Zacharey.
She was preceded in death by her husband Walter, parents, David and Martha Stonestrom, brother, Donald Stonestrom, sister-in-laws Iona Berg and Aleta Grove.
Dee always said, “Enjoy Each Day!”