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Leila's Story

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Leila Eleanor Ann Bjorklund
After a courageous battle with cancer, Leila entered her eternal home on January 28, 2018.
Leila was born to Theodore and Freda Thompson on November 5, 1932, in St. James, MN. She attended country school during her elementary years and graduated from St. James High School in 1949.
Leila married Merlyn Bjorklund in 1953 in St. James, MN. She then followed him to Alaska, where he served in the US Army. They eventually returned to St. James, where they lived until 1966, at which time they moved to Mankato and became founding members of the United Pentecostal Church. She faithfully served in many capacities with her church throughout her lifetime.
Leila spent over 30 years as a daycare provider and still today is remembered by many of the families she cared for. After "retiring" from daycare, she and Merlyn became caregivers to adults with special needs, often having as many as twelve adults living in their home -- the "big yellow house on Lincoln." They did adult foster care for several years, at which time Leila was finally able to truly "retire" from caregiving for others in her home.
Leila spent most of her life ministering to others in one way or another. She enjoyed cooking, baking and showing hospitality. They often opened their home for large gatherings, where all were welcome. She was always ready to go for lunch with friends, and she enjoyed traveling as often as their responsibilities allowed.
Leila served as president of a local TOPS group for many years and made lifelong friends during her 50-plus years of membership. Many of these friends continued to be regular lunchtime pals to the last weeks of her life.
Leila is survived by her daughters Brenda (Terry) Herbst, Twyla (Juan) Tapia, Shari Loughary, and Darla (Bob) Makela, 16 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, daughter-in-law, Diane Westrup, brothers LaVern (Lois) and Milton (Beverly) Thompson, brother-in-law Ron (Gail) Bjorklund, sisters-in-law Sharol (Herb) Harrington and Sharon Langworthy, many nieces, nephews and extended family.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Merlyn, her parents, son Tim, son-in-law Joel Ellingson, sister Violet Ellis and brother Donald Thompson.
Funeral services will be 1:00 p.m. Thursday, February 1, 2018 at United Pentecostal Church in Mankato. Visitation will be 2 hours prior to the service at church. Spring interment will be a Woodland Hills Memorial Park. A Celebration of Life will be immediately following the service.
Published on January 29, 2018
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