Services for Janet Ann Dahl Lian

Written by Janet
Janet Ann Dahl was born to Emil and Pauline (Wolden) Dahl on June 23, 1940 on the Dahl family farm near Gatzke, MN.  She was the youngest of nine children with four older brothers and four older sisters.  She was baptized on August 25, 1940 at Moose River Lutheran Church, and confirmed on June 28, 1953 at United Lutheran Church both in Gatzke.  Janet started school at Cloverleaf Country School located a 1/2 mile from the farm. Since her sister Mavis taught her to read and write before she was 6 and she was the only one in her grade, she did grades 1 and 2 together the first year.  The next year when the State of Minnesota reorganized all the schools, she began third grade attending in Gatzke through the eighth grade.  She went to Middle River for high school graduating in 1957. As a teenager, Janet worked in the Cities babysitting. doing housework, and working at the Curtis Hotel and Northrup King during the summers living with her sister, Esther and family.
Janet always wanted to be a teacher and was accepted into the Thief River Falls Teachers’ Training Program starting in the fall of 1957 and graduating in the spring of 1958. The Grygla School District hired her to teach grades 1-3 east of Grygla at the Grande Corner beginning the fall of 1958.  She lived with a family in Grygla during the week and caught a ride home to Gatzke on the weekends to see her family and do laundry.  Later, she would teach in Grygla when the new elementary school was built.  Janet loved teaching and worked to find a special way to reach each student.  This included bringing clothes for those who needed them and serving breakfast to hungry kids long before it was a school program. Another example is one day a little girl came to school crying. Not knowing what to do she had the student call her mother.  The girl was fine the rest of the day.  Janet credits Luella Solberg, who taught fifth grade, as being her mentor. Her students have many positive stories of her as a teacher.
Sometime in 1957, Janet met Duane at a dance in Grygla. Duane says he loved her from the very moment he first saw her. They dated on and off at first with love leading to their marriage on May 7, 1960 at United Lutheran Church in Gatzke.They made their home on the Lian farm at the six mile corner near Grygla where they have lived ever since. The next number of years were both busy and challenging. They wanted a family, but struggled due to RH incompatibility issues.  Two daughters, Jodie Lynn and Jaylene Renee, were born healthy, but three other babies died in infancy.  At the same time Janet was taking college courses working towards her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education graduating from Bemidji State in 1971. Janet taught fourth grade in Grygla and later switched to second grade in Gatzke. When that building was closed, she moved to Grygla continuing in second grade until her retirement in 1997 after 36 ½ years all with the same school district.  She was selected as the Grygla-Gatzke Teacher of the Year in 1981. After retirement, God nudged Janet in two directions. One was to become more involved in her church. This included making many creative bulletin boards and decorating the dining room. Good friends, Bernice and Harriet helped her become involved in women’s activities with Janet attending meetings, conventions, and conferences. She helped keep Grace WELCA going strong for many years. She also served as Conference Two Coordinator and was on the SWO board for 6 years representing the NW Synod as a voting member at the Triennial in Salt Lake City, UT in 2008. The second nudge was to care for many of her older siblings. Janet took them to their doctor appointments and made sure they had a warm and welcoming places to reside.
 Janet and Duane enjoyed traveling and exploring new places.  When their daughters were young they took family camping vacations in the summer to state and national parks. Following Janet’s retirement, the couple took a variety of tours. One of the highlights for Janet was to see Graceland in Memphis, the home and memorial of Elvis Presley.  Duane and Janet took a cruise to Alaska for their 50th Anniversary and a special trip to the Scandinavian Countries in 2014 where she was able to see Norway, the country where her father was born. They made many other trips often including family members as companions on these adventures.
Life evolved with age and health changes.  Family, especially her daughters, provided good care and transport to doctor appointments. In spare time, Janet enjoyed reading, particularly Christian fiction and the Bible. Traveling and camping were also high interests of hers as were raising flowers inside and outside.  Janet took great pride in decorating her home for the holidays and seasons. Her friends and relatives were often gifted with letters written in long hand with cards or pictures. Janet was a member of the Grace Lutheran Church including the Grace Women serving as president for many years. She was a Grygla Red Hat member and belonged to the Lull-A-While Homemaker Club for a number of years. As an educator, she belonged to GGEA and MEA and was a member of the education sorority Alpha Xi. When her daughters were young she taught Sunday School and served as a 4H leader.
Janet had a very strong faith in God. Her favorite Bible verse was Mathew 22:37. “Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”  She tried to live her life by that verse.
Janet is survived by her husband of 63½ years, Duane Lian, Grygla; Daughters: Jodie Olson, Thief River Falls, and Jaylene Lian, Grygla; Grandsons: Joel Olson, Joshua Lian, and Jayce (Emily) Olson of Grygla, and Justin Olson of Thief River Falls; 7 great grandchildren: Kloey, Emma, Durauna, Nils, Journey, Jairus, and Aubrey. Brother Larry (Erma) Dahl, Middle River, and Sister-in-law Marvel Dahl, Isanti. In-laws Dick (Donna) Lian, Grygla,,  Sharon (Curtiss) Hovet, Thief River Falls and Eileen Lian, Warroad. Godchildren: LouAnn Dahl, Delray Dahl, LuCinda Foss Faller, Michelle Hovet Kuznia, Suzie Rieck Vagt, Christopher Lian, and Hope Ann Dahl Kelsey. Additionally, she is survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents, sons Stephen Duane and James Darren in infancy and stillborn daughter Jill Marie. Son-in-law: Duran Olson and Jay’s Special Friend: Theron Pearson.Siblings: Anna (Evert) Westberg, Cora (Bill) Massof, Esther (Smitty & Joe) Schmitz Weidholz, Elmer Dahl, Arvin Dahl, Orlan Dahl, and Mavis (Norman) Roppe. In-laws Palmer & Gail Lian and Brother-in-law Gary Lian. Nieces: Lynn Marie Dahl, Bonnie Stevens and Julie Schmitz. Nephews: Darrell Westberg, Duane Westberg, and Robert Schmitz. 
Janet Lian, 83, of Grygla,  passed away peacefully and gracefully on Sunday, March 10, 2024 at her home surrounded by her loving family.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM with a 6:30 PM prayer service on Thursday, March 14, 2024 at Grace Lutheran Church in Grygla. The funeral service to celebrate Janet’s life will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, March 15, 2024 at Grace Lutheran Church with Rev. Marilyn Grafstrom officiating. Burial will be held at St. Petri Cemetery, rural Grygla.
Condolences may be sent at

Richards Publishing

P.O. Box 159
239 2nd Ave
Gonvick, MN 56644
Telephone: (218) 487-5225


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