May 3, 1929 - March 16, 2023
Ardis Louise “Lou” Midthun
Age 93, passed away peacefully on March 16, 2023. Louise was born on May 3, 1929 on the Big Red Island of Madagascar where her parents were missionaries for the Lutheran church. Most of her childhood was spent at The American Boarding School in Fort Dauphin Madagascar. Fort Dauphin was a town right by the Indian Ocean, she grew up playing by the ocean and climbing mountains. In 1945, when the second world war ended, she came back to the U.S. to finish high school and go to college.
In college she met her first husband, Ernie, and after they graduated she convinced him to go back to the Big Red Island as missionaries. Ernie and Louise raised their five children there for 23 years and then came back to the U.S. in 1978. Ernie was the business administrator for the mission for most of his time there, except for the last six years when he oversaw the two missionary hospitals in southern Madagascar.
Ernie died in 1987, after which Louise did a lot of traveling and also earned a Masters Degree in Theology from Luther Seminary. While working in grief support groups she met her second husband, Dale Varberg, in 1999. God blessed them with 19 wonderful years of travel, theology and conversation.
Louise will always be remembered for her strong faith, loving kindness and generous hospitality. For most of her adult life, she lived across the street from the American Boarding School (which she herself had attended). She was a refuge for numerous students whose parents were away for six months at a time. She was also the unofficial hostess for any wayward travelers who happened by the little town on the southeastern coast of Madagascar. Louise continued this generous hospitality when she lived on First Avenue in South Minneapolis, MN. She took in many missionary kids who needed a place to stay or a hot loving meal.
Louise was also an avid reader and an ardent writer. Her seminary professors often looked forward to her next paper. Louise also loved the water and the sand, whether it be the Indian Ocean or Lake Kabekona (her family cabin near Walker, MN).
Louise is survived by her children Margo, Janet, Eric (Sue), Erling and Joel (Stephanie) as well as step-children Joel (Sue), Karen (Jim) and Tom (Michelle), 20 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. Please send memorials to Courage Worldwide Tanzania or Friends of Madagascar.
Celebration of Life
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Visitation 1 hour prior
Trinity Lutheran Church of Minnehaha Falls
5212 41st Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Fort Snelling National Cemetery
7601 34th Avenue