Marcella “Sally” Phyllis Steffen passed away February 13, 2022, at Diamond Willow Assisted Living Facility, Park Rapids, MN.
Funeral Services will be 2:00 p.m., Friday, February 18, 2022 at Solway Lutheran Church. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be in the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Little Falls, MN.
She was born on June 29, 1920, in Lake City, MN to William and Lydia (Hedberg) Juliot. Sally was raised in Lake City. She enjoyed playing coronet and piano at school. She used her talents to perform in operettas and class plays. She graduated from Lake City High School in 1938. Sally attended Winona College where she earned her lifetime teaching certificate in 1941. She taught elementary grades at the Milleville, Kingston and Farmhill schools during the years 1941 to 1945.
Sally wrote letters to 24 service members during the World War II years to help encourage their morale overseas. She had met Woodrow “Woody” Steffen in 1939 before the outbreak of the war. Following the surrender of the Philippines, she waited 39 ½ months for Woody to return from captivity in Japanese prison camps in the Philippines and Japan. They were married and committed to one another for life on February 22, 1946, after his safe return.
Sally and Woody lived in Ortonville, MN for one year after their marriage. In 1947 they moved to Bellingham, MN where Woody operated a heavy equipment construction company. Sally was employed as a dedicated elementary teacher and principal in the Bellingham school for twenty years. She went on to earn her Bachelor's Degree in teaching in 1961.
In 1970 Sally and Woody moved to the Bemidji area where Woody worked as a Soil Conservation Technician for the U.S. Government out of the Bagley office until his retirement. Sally continued to substitute teach in the area after her retirement. During their retirement years Woody and Sally enjoyed many trips to visit friends at reunions from Ex-Prisoner of War organizations. They attended 21 such reunions around the United States. Sally was a member of the American Legion, VFW Auxiliary, Rebecca's Circle and Ladies Aid.
Woody and Sally moved into Bemidji just prior to his passing in 1999. Sally enjoyed her Irvingboro residence where she had close friends to visit. She cherished the thousands of letters and cards received from friends and family. She was steadfast in her thoughtfulness, caring, and love for family and friends. “Gramma Sally” was deeply loved for her toys at the ready, tea parties, ice cream bars, stories, nature walks and wagon rides.
Sally's smile, laughter, enthusiasm, and her spirit will be greatly missed by her daughters Christine (Barry) Guptill, Park Rapids, Charlene (Mark) Cohrs, Park Rapids, son Joel (Sandy) Steffen, Bemidji, six granddaughters, three grandsons, 15 great-grandchildren, her brother Howard (Twyla) Juliot, sister-in-law Bonnie Juliot, and many nieces and nephews.
Sally was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Virgil, Norman, and Duane, and husband Woody.