Vivian Jean [Jones] Fiskewold was born December 8, 1928 in Minot, ND and died in Waite Park, Minn. on February 10, 2020 at age 91. The youngest of John Albert and Cubie Belle Jones’s five children, Viv (also known as “Vivver”) spent her pre-teen years on a federal government project in Burlington, N.D. where her family worked and gardened on a communal truck farm before, during, and after the Great Depression. In the late 1930’s, the Joneses bought six acres of land on Little Jessie Lake in Bowstring Township, loaded up their truck, and moved to Itasca County Minn. They tried their hands at their own truck farm on some very rocky terrain. Pearl Harbor was attacked on the day before Vivver’s 13th Birthday, and not long after, her two older brothers headed off to the U.S. Navy as the United States went full speed into World War II. Meanwhile, the truck farm dream failed, and the rest of the family moved to Pengilly, Minn. where Viv spent her teen years and most of the rest of her life. There, in the heart of the Mesabi Iron Range, her father went to work for J & L Mining Company in Calumet, Minn., and Viv met Ralph Theodore “Ted” Fiskewold who soon enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Both of her sisters’ husbands were also in the navy.
Six months after WW II ended, the sailors all came home, and four went to work in various iron mines. Vivian and Ralph wed in February of 1949. While Ralph worked 35 years at several M.A. Hanna mines (including the Pierce Mine and Butler Taconite Plant), Viv raised three children, and kept the house. She also worked for Peabody and Arrow Shirt companies sewing shirts for a few years and winter jackets for a few more years at factories in Hibbing and Chisholm, Minn. where she was also a union steward for the Ladies Garment Workers Union. (She always voted for Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidates.) Vivver worked many springs planting trees for Blandin Paper Company in Grand Rapids, Minn.
Viv also sewed beautifully as a hobby: tiny doll clothes to wedding gowns; shirts, vests, skirts, blouses, mittens, quilts for her children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews; stunning dresses, and even dog coats and dog beds. Viv never met a dog she didn’t like. She loved fishing and picnics, black licorice, berry-picking, chicken, and rare steaks. There wasn’t much she couldn’t do, and do it exceptionally well. She had an eye for detail, design, and beauty and her hands were always busy whether sewing, embroidering, crafting, crocheting, canning, cooking, baking, or gardening. Her thumb was green. People came to her home and yard to see her flowers, and she loved taking her flowers to decorate the Catholic Church that she loved.
After Ralph retired, the couple spent eight-month “winters” in Florida and four-month “summers” in Pengilly for over twenty years—gardening, golfing, going to flea markets, and enjoying themselves. When Ralph died in 2003, Viv moved to Saint Cloud.
Vivian was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers Albert (Edith) and LeRoy (Sylvia) Jones; sisters Ruthe Yunk Meyers (Bob and Lyn) [Jones], and Deloris “Dee” Metzer (Jake) [Jones]; and her sons-in-law Daryl Johnson, and Steve Peters.
Viv is survived, missed and loved by her children Rita Johnson Peters-Garcia (Tim Garcia) [Fiskewold], Quail Valley, Calif.; Gwen Gareri [Fiskewold], Saint Cloud, Minn.; and Ted (Marysia Orlowska) Fiskevold, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren; and her son-in-law Joe Gareri, rural Coleraine, Minn.
A celebration of Vivian’s life will take place on Friday, February 21, 2020 at the Mary Immaculate Catholic Church in Coleraine: 10 a.m. visitation, 11 a.m. funeral-mass, Rev. Joseph Sobolik--celebrant, and a lunch following the funeral-mass. She will be interred at Lakeview Cemetery, Coleraine, Minn. next spring.
Obituary and Guest Book available online: www.williamsdingmann.com