Fern, the daughter of John and Hanna (Staggemeyer) Thiele was welcomed into this world with her twin brother, Fred, on July 22, 1929, in Caledonia, Minn. She grew up on the family farm in Eitzen, Minn. with her parents and five siblings. Following high school, Fern attended Winona State College and graduated with a two year elementary teaching degree. She met Robert “Bob” Westerhouse and they married on June 24, 1950. Fern began her teaching career in Caledonia. Bob and Fern moved to Faribault in 1955, where Bob served on the Minnesota State Highway Patrol. Fern and Bob were blessed with four sons, John, Scott, Dan and Paul, and she was a stay at home mom until Bob’s death in 1967. Upon Bob’s death, Fern returned to college and completed her four year elementary teaching degree at Mankato State University. She taught at Lincoln Elementary School in Faribault from 1967 until her retirement in 1992.
Fern was a true sports fan, starting with her boys. She was always in the stands at their basketball, football, hockey and track events and loved watching Vikings football, Twins baseball and Wild hockey on TV. A terrific cook, she hosted hundreds of “farm dinners” for her family, including the much appreciated Thursday night suppers. Fern spent her retirement years volunteering for various community organizations including District One Hospital, Faribault Area Senior Center, Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church and the American Legion Post 43. Fern was also recognized in 2005 as one of ten Daily News Unsung Heroes.
Fern is survived by her sons, Scott (Beth) Westerhouse, Faribault; Dan Westerhouse, Kilkenny, Minn. and Paul Westerhouse, Faribault; by her daughter-in-law, Nancy Westerhouse, Colorado; grandsons, Robert and Chris Westerhouse; great-grandchildren, Ryan Westerhouse and Samantha Westerhouse; sister-in-law Bev Thiele and several nieces and nephews; special friend Irene Eiler; special caregivers, Dee Bjork and Katie O’Gara and many good friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; son, John Westerhouse; siblings, Harriet Thiele, Betty Thiele, Joan Kordsiemon, Fred Thiele and Dean Thiele; sister-in-law Josephine Thiele and brother-in-law, Bill Kordsiemon.
Fern’s family wishes to thank the staff at Faribault Senior Living, Faribault Area Hospice and Dr. Phunt Phyo for the loving care they provided her.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at the Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church in Faribault, with the Rev. Dennis Tamke, Pastor officiating. Private interment will be held at the Maple Lawn Cemetery, Faribault.
Visitation will be held at the church on Thursday for one hour prior to services.
The family requests that memorial gifts be directed to the Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church, Faribault Area Hospice or the Faribault Public Schools in memory of Fern.
Funeral arrangements are being completed by the Parker Kohl Funeral Home & Crematory of Faribault.
For guestbook and further arrangements please visit www.ParkerKohlFuneralHome.com.