Mary Louise (Gustofson) Smestad

May 2, 1947March 18, 2018
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Mary Louise (Gustofson) Smestad, 70, of Rice Lake MN passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at Essentia St. Mary’s Hospital. She was born on May 2, 1947 to Carl and Olivia Gustofson in Duluth.

Mary graduated from Cathedral class of 1963 and lived her life serving others. She was very active and dedicated her life to many causes and organizations. Mary was an accomplished consultant, life coach, and educator. She was the miracle and “Positive Solution” for everyone who knew her.

She was a very proud wife, mother, and grandmother. She had a positive impact on everyone she met by sharing her strong faith, selflessness, and ability to inspire. She was the “Rock” for her family and will be greatly missed.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents; and brothers, James and John Gustofson.

She is greatly missed by her husband of 46 years, Daniel Smestad of Rice Lake; three daughters, Lisa (Darrell) Skraba of Weatherford, TX, Janette (Dan) Marien of Eagle River, WI, and Angela (Jon VanMoorlehem) Watt of Superior, grandchildren, Brady, Carlee Christianson, Harmon, Gaige, Daniel Jr. Marien, and Abigail Watt; great-granddaughter, Riley Christianson; siblings, Joseph (Debbie) Gustofson, Jerome (Connie) Gustofson, Ann Fairbanks, Gustof (Wendy) Gustofson, Roger (Peggy) Gustofson, and Elizabeth (David) Schwartz; and many beloved nieces, and nephews.

The family would like to express their appreciation for Dr. Sande and for those who cared for her at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Visitation: 5:00-7:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at Jarvi Dowd Funeral Home, 925 E. 4th Street, Duluth. The visitation will continue from 10:00 until the 11:00 a.m. Funeral Mass Thursday, March 22, 2018 at the St. John’s Catholic Church, 4230 St Johns Ave. Duluth.

In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred.

Please leave a memory of Mary or words of support for the family at


  • Daniel Smestad, Husband
  • Lisa (Darrell) Skraba, Daughter
  • Janette (Dan) Marien, Daughter
  • Angela (Jon VanMoorlehem) Watt, Daughter
  • Brady Christianson, Grandson
  • Carlee Christianson, Granddaughter
  • Harmon Marien, Grandson
  • Gaige Marien, Grandson
  • Daniel Jr. Marien, Grandson
  • Abigail Watt, Granddaughter
  • Riley Christianson, Great Granddaughter
  • Joseph (Debbie) Gustofson, Brother
  • Jerome (Connie) Gustofson, Brother
  • Ann Fairbanks, Sister
  • Gustof (Wendy) Gustofson, Brother
  • Roger (Peggy) Gustofson, Brother
  • Elizabeth (David) Schwartz, Sister
  • Mary is also survived by many beloved nieces and nephews.

  • Mary's Nieces and Nephews, Active Pallbearers


  • Visitation Wednesday, March 21, 2018
  • Visitation Thursday, March 22, 2018
  • Funeral Mass Thursday, March 22, 2018

Mary Louise (Gustofson) Smestad

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jim Wegner

March 23, 2018

Dear Janette and Family-So Sorry to hear of the loss of your Mom, yet knowing she is now with her Lord and Savior in her Heavenly Home, provide you Peace and Comfort Now and Going Forward.........
Sincere Sympathy-Jim and Jane Wegner

Barney Revier

March 22, 2018

Dan, I am so sorry for you and your families loss of Mary. She was an amazing person, gifted to helping and serving others. The book of Hebrews tells us that we are “surrounded by a cloud of witnesses” I cannot imagine the numbers of people there to greet her and extend their gratitude for her unselfish lifestyle of giving unto others.
God bless you Dan and the children during this time.

Karen Gustofson Wells wells

March 22, 2018

Mary was an incredible young teenage as well as a woman. She was there for everyone, her parents and her brothers and sisters. She never said no, she would jump in and help everyone. John told me stories about Jim and him out partying they would have her smuggle clean shirts outside so they didn't come home and get in trouble. They loved her we all did. The last time I say her was at my sons wedding in October, I talked to her, I thought she looked great, happy, and heathy. I was devastated when Jalon called me with the news. I hurt for all of you, its a terrible loss to everyone in her life. She was ONE in a million.

Robyn Schroeder

March 21, 2018

My deepest sympathy to Mary's family. I met Mary a number of years ago when she came to our company to work with our leadership team. I was amazed at her ability to work with strangers encouraging each of us to grow from self reflection and collaboration. I continued to work with Mary after the team event and she had this amazing knack to guide me to my own solutions. She cared for others in a way that made you feel like the most important person when she was talking to you. She will be missed .

Irene Kennedy

March 21, 2018

My deepest sympathies to Dan and his family. Mary was such a lovely person. I'm sure she will be greatly missed. Sincerely, Irene Kennedy (Noble & Beryl Smestad's daughter)

Nancy Bennett Berg

March 21, 2018

My condolences to the family on the loss of Mary. We’ll always share nice memories of the fun times at Pequaywan Lake. Also more resently chatting at the annual UNS Banquets with her and Dan. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Take Care.

Kay Weber

March 21, 2018

Thinking of everyone - praying for God's comfort to all. She will be greatly missed. I am unable to come back up for the funeral, but felt very blessed to have a special visit with her last week. :)

Favorite memory - our post high school graduation trip to Montreal for the world's fair. Four of us had a wonderful time !

I believe she is happily enjoying her new home in Heaven, and sending love/hugs to all .

My heart will be with you especially this week , and more prayers through th e year.

God bless - Kay McD. Weber

Kim Dolan

March 21, 2018

Auntie Mary,
Your hands were the hands that served tirelessly.
Your ears were the ears that listened endlessly,
Your lips spoke words that healed and encouraged
and your laughter brought so much joy to each moment.
Your hugs brought security and warmth.
Your eyes saw the best in everyone.
Your heart loved without boundaries and
Your spirit will live on in the countless lives you have touched!

You are the rock. The stable ground that embraced our every need and encouraged our every dream. Your spirit lives in Uncle Dan, your children and grand-children in the way they laugh, the way they serve and the way they love. I am so thankful for the memories we've made that will live forever! Spread your wings and fly!
I love you! Kimmy

Cindy Macaulay

March 21, 2018

Dear Dan, Jan, Angie & Mary's precious family ~ my heart is heavy with your loss. She WAS a rock for so many, but a brightly colored and energetic rock! Her enthusiasm and positive attitude were contagious and I can't imagine the hole she leaves behind in your lives. You all will be in my heart and prayers as you say this hard 'good-bye'.

Kathlynn McConnell

March 20, 2018

I remember the first time I met Mary. She was sitting behind me at my first Chamber event. I heard her distinctive laugh and I turned around to see this beautiful, smiling woman who seemed to glow. She engaged me in conversation and welcomed me as if she'd known me forever. From that moment on, I referred to Mary as my "guardian angel". Mary was the most courageous, wise, faithful, and fun woman I've ever known. My life has been blessed by her mentorship and friendship. She lived each day with the energy of 100 "energizer bunnies" and her positive attitude impacted everyone who came into contact with her. She changed my life!

Mary's life legacy showed us all how to live out the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And, we can honor Mary and her family by carrying on and paying forward her legacy.

Dan, Janette, Angie, Lisa, and family ~ I pray God will melt away your sorrow by filling your hearts with loving memories of how Mary loved and lived.