Thelma Gertrude (Sandland) Carpenter was born in the log homestead house built by her father near Grygla, Minnesota. Her Norwegian immigrant parents were Saamund and Anne Sandland. She spoke Norwegian as a child. She graduated from Thief River Falls (MN) High School and later attended secretarial school in Minneapolis, MN. In both places she worked as a housemaid in exchange for room and board.
While in secretarial school she met Dorothy Wales, who became her lifelong friend. Dorothy arranged a picnic for Thelma to meet Lionel (Bud) Carpenter and the rest, as they say, is history. They married on November 30, 1940 and lived in the Twin Cities until Bud was called into the U.S. Navy during World War II. Thelma, along with young son Richard, joined him at his duty station in St. Augustine, FL in 1944-45.
When the war ended, Thelma and Bud settled in and near Minneapolis, MN, where their second son Robert was born. In 1959 they drove the Alaskan Highway to move to Anchorage, where they built their own house. They resided there until retirement in 1980 when they moved to Turlock, CA. They were married nearly 71 years when Bud died in 2011.
Thelma was a full-time homemaker and, in addition, found time to work at Donaldson’s Department Store in Minneapolis, First National Bank Alaska, and City of Anchorage. Her home was always open to family and friends. Out of town family would sometimes come for the summer.
During her retirement years in Turlock she loved to entertain both family and friends. She was devoted to her husband, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren whom she loved very much. She was proud of her Norwegian heritage and demonstrated it by making lefse and yule kage for everyone at Christmas. She and Bud enjoyed eating lutefisk for Christmas Eve dinner.
She excelled at sewing, gardening, baking, interior decorating, making photo albums, and shopping. For many years she volunteered her time at Emanuel Medical Center.
While residing in Turlock she faithfully attended Monte Vista Chapel and Connecting Point Church of the Nazarene. Hers was a steady and solid faith in Jesus Christ.
Thelma lived in her own home until a few months before her death. She passed peacefully into the welcoming arms of her Savior at Bel-Air Lodge in Turlock, CA. She was 94 years old. She was dearly loved and will be missed by all.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers: Kenneth, Henry, Arthur, and Simeon (who died in infancy). She is survived by her sons: Richard (Lynda) of Turlock, CA and Robert (Beryl) of Poulsbo, WA; grandchildren: Wesley, Brent, Stephanie, Daniel, and Brian; eight great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law: Verna Sandland, Doris Burkhart and Hazel Brown; and many beloved nephews and nieces.
Burial will be private at San Joaquin National Cemetery. A memorial service has not been scheduled.
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