LOLITA “LEE” PAQUETTE

L. Paquette webphotoLee Paquette, of Mora, formerly of Minneapolis, passed away on Saturday, May 7, 2011. She was 85 years old.

A FUNERAL will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, May 13, 2011 at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Mora with Fr. Plaisted and Rita Clasemann officiating.

VISITATION will be from 5-7 pm on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at the Akkerman Ingebrand Funeral Home and 1 hour prior to the service on Friday.

INTERMENT will be in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Mora.

Lolita Elaine (Elftmann) Paquette of Mora, MN, passed away peacefully on May 7, 2011 at her home at The Haven House in Cambridge, MN. She was 85 years old.
Lolita “Lee” was born October 14, 1925 in Minneapolis to Frederick and Lillian (Jenkins) Elftmann. Lee was the second child of five siblings and grew up in the Shieldville/Montgomery/Faribault areas. She graduated from Faribault High School and then from Gale School of Electronics in Minneapolis. Lee also spent a year at Purdue University in Indiana and then worked at the Ft. Lee, VA Signal Corps as a civilian communications technician.
Lee met Gordon Paquette while in Faribault and they corresponded when he went into the navy. Lee moved to Los Angeles and worked at Electric Supply Office and then at the U.S. Employment Office. They were married in Minneapolis on June 6, 1946 while Gordy was on leave. They had 3 days together, then Gordy went back to his ship off the East Coast and Lee went back to the West Coast. Lee joined Gordy for a short time in Jacksonville, FL in the spring of 1947. Then they moved to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in North Chicago, IL, where their first child was born. Gordy finished his enlistment in 1948 and they moved back to Minneapolis where they lived for 32 years. They bought a cabin on Knife Lake in 1971 and moved to Mora in 1985 following the tragic death of their daughter Janel in 1984. Lee continued to live at their home after Gordy passed away in 1994. They were married 48 years. Lee moved to the Villages of Mora in 2008 and to her home at the Haven House in Cambridge, MN on January 4, 2011.
Lee and Gordy were very active in church, politics and the community. They attended countless caucuses going on to represent their district at state conventions. They sang in their choir and Lee was a member of the Altar and Rosary Society of St. Kevin’s church in Minneapolis. They loved to hunt and fish. They joined the Knife Lake Sportsmen’s Club in 1972 and both held many positions in the club, including president. Lee was an American Legion Auxiliary president, American Red Cross Blood Drive Chair, active member of the Kanabec County Art Association, Kanabec County Area on Aging and East Central Area on Aging and the Historical Society. At the age of 65, she returned to school to begin to achieve her Associate in Arts degree. She was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa. She became an accomplished artist working in all mediums. Her work as Lolita Paquette has been shown at the Image Show (5 counties), Vassaloppet Art Show, Mora Clinic, Kanabec Hospital and the Mora Credit Union. After Gordy’s death she continued to attend ship reunions and was made an honorary crew member of the USS Drew. In 2001, Lee was named Kanabec County’s Outstanding Senior Citizen of the year.
Lee loved to travel and visited Alaska, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, the Caribbean and many places in the U.S. with family and friends and the USS Drew ship reunions.
Lee loved God and her family, always treating everyone as family. Her last journey was home to Jesus and the people she loved and missed for so long. She will be truly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Lolita was preceded in death by her parents, infant brother Robert, brothers Wallace (Iris) and Dale Elftmann, husband Gordon, daughter Janel and grandson Adam.
Lolita is survived by her daughters Michele Merriman of Brainerd, Donna (Mark) of Richfield, Nola (Bobby) Smith of Stanchfield, Karla (Simon) of England, U.K. and son Guy (Shelley) of Ramsey, sister Carol (Jerome) Michels, Julie Elftmann, 18 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

11 guestbook entries for LOLITA “LEE” PAQUETTE

  1. Pam (Collin) Johannes May 9, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    So sorry for your loss, but I truly do believe she is dancing with Gordy and Janel right now!

  2. Kristin Nelson May 10, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Our prayers are with you. I will always remember the fun I had with Lee in Australia and riding the camels! Her smile was always ready!

  3. Peggy Kraemer May 10, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Hi Shelley
    Just wanted to send a quick note to say how sorry I am for your families loss. Thinking of you and will say a prayer for all of you. Take care, give Guy a hug from me.

  4. Nick Nixon May 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Our deepest sympathy.I was a shipmate of Gordon on the USS Drew.Lolita will be rembered for loving to have a good time.

  5. Harry & Lois Anderson May 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    We were sorry to hear the news that Lolita passed away. We appreciate the family letting us know, so that we could let the other USS Drew shipmates and spouses know. Our sympathy to all of you.

  6. Karen Paquette May 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    Dear Cousins and family,
    I know you are going to miss your mom so much. I am so blessed to have had that visit with her. It seems like just yesterday. I will always have fond memories. God bless you all!

  7. Laura Smith May 12, 2011 at 5:08 am #

    Nola, Bob and Family,
    You Mom, Lee, sounds like an amazing lady! Please know that we love you and our thoughts and prayers are with you. We know you will miss her tremendously. Hugs!
    Love, Laura Smith, Paul Christianson and Family

  8. Karen Dudgeon May 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    The Dudgeon family sends their prayers to all the family that God will comfort you and give you peace. I am sure my Aunt Lee is celebrating in heaven (and yes, probably dancing) and look forward to the day we will be reunited with those that we love. Her infectious smile and laugh will never be forgotten.

  9. Doug&Sandy Swanson May 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Donna&Nola sorry to see you lost your mother she was always one i liked to see and talk to when we were up at the lake she always had a nice smile and twinkle in her eyes when we asked how the two of you were doing heaven has gained a beautiful woman

  10. Deb (Geisbauer) and Mike Conley May 17, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    We were saddened to hear of Lee’s passing. We have very fond memories of both Gordie and Lee at Knife Lake. Our prayers are with you all.

  11. Helen Savoia May 18, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    To Lolita’s family I am so sorry to hear of her passing. Gordon and my late husband Anthony were shipmates on the USS Drew. We enjoyed
    times spent together at the reunions.
    My blessings

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