Aug. 26, 2020

Marianne Elizabeth Ness, 88, passed peacefully into the Lord’s presence Aug. 26 after a six-month challenge with leukemia. A funeral service will be 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Highland Community Church in Cokato with the Rev. Dave Mitchell officiating. Interment will be at the Dassel Community Cemetery following the service. Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Friday at Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel and one hour prior to the service Saturday at Highland Community Church. In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to Highland Community Church and the Dassel Food Shelf. If you wish to attend the service, mask and social distancing are required. For those who are unable to attend the service, it will be streamed at

Marianne Elizabeth Ness was born Feb. 20, 1932, in the small town of Parkville, (near Virginia) to Jalmer and Hulda (Mursu) Johnson, the fifth of six siblings. She was baptized and confirmed in the Finnish Apostolic Church. She graduated as salutatorian from Mountain Iron High School in 1950. She went to junior college in Virginia, then graduated from Bemidji State Teachers College in 1954 with a degree in elementary education. It was in Bemidji that Robert “Bob” Ness saw her and said, “This is the girl I’m going to marry,” and they celebrated 64 years of marriage July 7. In the short years that followed their marriage, she was blessed with sons Kenneth, John and Eric, along with daughter Rebecca.

Marianne touched the lives of so many people in every community where she made her home. She also enjoyed traveling across the globe with Bob as she marveled at God’s creation of places and people. Marianne referred to her believer’s baptism Feb. 2, 1969, at the First Baptist Church in Cokato as “the best day of my life.” Her intimate walk with Jesus and growing faith was seen as she taught Sunday School, VBS, led women’s Bible studies, served as a deaconess, and ministered to many in nursing homes and hospitals. Her volunteering continued into Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts and substitute teaching.

God’s gift of hospitality meant that no matter the day or time, guests were always welcome for a meal, or a cup of coffee with her famous pies and treats. One of her favorite things was cooking goodies with each of her grandkids, especially at Christmas, making special favorites and traditional foods for family gatherings.

She was known as Grandma, Nana, and “Gigi” to her 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren who adored her, and much was the joy they brought into her life. There was nothing she loved more than to share life’s moments with her family. Her love of music and scripture was heard throughout her days. Her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren learned many songs, poems and whimsical sayings that demonstrated her love of God and sense of humor.

She is survived by her devoted husband, Bob; sons, Ken (Karen), Dassel , John (Sheri), Minneapolis, Eric(Julie) Ramsey; daughter Becky (Steve) Hoogenakker, St. Michael; grandchildren, Stephanie and Adam Sarff, Kevin and Jennah Ness, Dan and Karla Ness, Tyler and Christa Thielsen, Anissa and Roope Reko, Kara and DJ Deeth, Caleb Ness, Luke Ness, Linnea Ness, Ben Ness; great-grandchildren, Noah, Emma, Whitney, and Jared Sarff, James, Jude, Caroline, Asher and Julia Ness, Jocelyn and Soren Thielsen.; siblings, Ed (Norine) Johnson of Alabama, Eldora Martin of Albertville, Ruth Christensen of Evansville, Richard (Barbara) Johnson of Longview, Texas.

Marianne was preceded in death by her parents; sister Eleanor (and husband Alfred) Lahti; brothers-in-law, Claire Christensen and George Martin; and son-in-law Brad Thielsen.