To live in the hearts and minds of those we leave behind

Let us help get you started

Obituary for Carolyn M. Tornstrom

Carolyn Mae (Michelsen) Tornstrom, 86, of Caledonia, Minnesota, passed away peacefully March 6th, 2024, at Valley View Healthcare and Rehab, with beautiful classical music encompassing her room. Music brought her great comfort and joy and was the perfect postlude to a life well-lived.

Carolyn was born June 8th, 1937, to Frederick and Louise (Anderson) Michelsen and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was christened into the Christian faith at Saviors Lutheran Church of Minneapolis on September 19th, 1937. From a young age, Carolyn embraced music with an amazing passion that lasted her entire life. It was not uncommon for Carolyn’s family to witness her crying solely in reaction to deeply moving and beautiful music.

Carolyn graduated from Minneapolis South High School in 1955 and shortly after began attending Macalester College where she met and fell in love with Ron. Carolyn and Ron married on June 8th , 1957, and were the best of soul mates over the next 59 years, raising three boys and being very active in the Caledonia Community. Carolyn and Ron moved to Caledonia in the early 1960’s where Ron had accepted a job as a social worker and Carolyn took a job at Sprague Bank. Over the years, Carolyn served the United Methodist Church as organist, pianist, church secretary, choir member, and bell choir director. Carolyn’s passion and talent for music was evident to anyone who had the pleasure of hearing her perform. For over 50 years, Carolyn taught piano to many hundreds of students in the area and had taken a great sense of satisfaction knowing that she played a role in sending these young musicians into society. One of Carolyn’s fondest memories was performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City with a talented vocal group.

Carolyn is survived by and will be dearly missed by her brother, Robert Michelsen; her son, Jim and wife, Kim (Koeppel) Tornstrom and grandchildren, Ethan, Joseph, and Collin; her son, Tom and grandchildren, Johanna, and Evan; and her son, Mike and Kelli (Moore) Tornstrom and grandchildren, Brittany (Tornstrom) Runningen, her husband Kyle, Katie, Jordan; her great-grandchildren, Sawyer, Rowan, and Harper Runningen. Carolyn is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Carolyn was a kind, ambitious, and likeable person. Her kindness was demonstrated many times over the years by quietly and selflessly helping less fortunate individuals and families. Moving to Caledonia from a large city, she was able to fulfill her love for music and the fine arts locally through venues in La Crosse, Lanesboro, and Spring Grove. She frequently brought Ron along on these excursions and the two of them would often meet friends for dinner and great conversation. Their large friend group was extremely important to both. She was completely dedicated to caring for Ron throughout his struggles with MS. She and Ron had a special life-long bond. This bond was recognized by others including a 50th wedding anniversary and marriage story which was a featured article in the Caledonia Argus in January of 2008. Carolyn was truly an amazing wife and mother who was able to raise three active and adventurous boys while dedicating tremendous effort to her teaching and countless volunteering opportunities. Jim, Tom, and Mike feel so blessed to have been brought up in a household filled with laughter, positivity, and unconditional love.

In addition, to her parents, Carolyn was preceded in death by her husband Ron, her sisters Marge and Mary Ann, and her grandson Brandon.

We invite all who knew Carolyn to join us in celebrating her remarkable life and the love she shared with so many. A funeral service will be at 12 Noon, Saturday March 16th, 2024, at the Caledonia United Methodist Church, 308 N. Kingston St. Rev. Cyndy Spear will officiate. Burial will follow in Evergreen Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. Memorials may be made to the Caledonia Ambulance Foundation.

The family would like to thank Valley View Care and Rehab for their wonderful care of Carolyn.

Expressions of sympathy may be offered on this website.

Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Caledonia Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.