Obituary for Carole Elaine (Nelson) De Frang

Carole Elaine (Nelson) De Frang, 82, passed away, surrounded by family, on February 25, 2024, in Grand Itasca Hospital in Grand Rapids, MN.

Carole was born on August 17, 1941 to Virgil and Lillian Nelson in Lambert Township. She was one of five children: late Vearl, late Lyle, Bonnie, and late Betty. She was confirmed in the Lutheran faith and graduated from Oklee High School in Minnesota. 

Carole met Douglas De Frang, fell in love, and they were married on February 23, 1960 in St. Ann, Missouri. Together with their children, David, Tami, Dean, Sandra and Wendy Sue they resided in various states during Douglas' time in the Navy. When Douglas retired in 1975, they made their home in McIntosh, Minnesota. Carole worked at Hartz Grocery and she enjoyed cooking, gardening, sewing, baking, and decorating cakes for her family. She made some beautiful birthday, confirmation, graduation, and wedding cakes! Countless memories were made here over the years raising her family.

After her retirement, Carole and Doug became volunteers for the National Forest Service and they were both esteemed campground hosts at Cass Lake Campground for many enjoyable years together.

In the winter months, they traveled to Why, Arizona where Carole worked in the main office at Coyote Howls RV Park. She made countless friends there over the years and enjoyed her time so much so that she continued to travel South for numerous winters after Doug passed in ‘94. While in Arizona, Carole enjoyed sitting around the campfires with friends and long rides throughout the desert. She also loved the potluck cookouts where she made “Turkey in a box” almost every year for Thanksgiving. At the Flea Market, she was known for her handmade gifts and wonderful choke cherry jelly, which always sold out! While traveling with her 5th wheel to and from Arizona every year was simply a way of life for her, anyone who met Carole and discovered she pulled that camper in her great big truck all by herself, year after year, was simply astounded. She really was an incredible woman. Last summer, at age 81, was her last drive back to Minnesota. Due to her health, she was not able to make another trip to Arizona last fall. 

While Carole called Coyote Howls RV Park home for half the year, her undeniable “home” truly was at the Cass Lake Loop Campground in Cass Lake, MN. Spending the summers camping with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and her beloved Dalmatians; Doc, Chip, and most recently Baxter, brought her tremendous joy. She was always ready for any adventure at the Lake. Some of her favorites included going on boat rides, visiting Cedar and Star Island, and pulling the grandkids for tubing. She really was the most feared driver, known for her relentless tube dumps and speed. She also enjoyed loon watching, picking berries to make canned jelly, and getting a fire going-no matter how hot the temperature was outside. She always knew how to make it just right and perfect for smores. Those who were fortunate enough to visit her at the Lake, can still picture her in her swimsuit with her visor and water shoes on, holding a Mello Yellow and a cigarette, making her way to go float in her water chair, get in the driver’s seat of the boat, or simply sit and enjoy the view of the water. Her memory will live on there forever.

Carole is survived by her daughters, Tami (Rick) Hanson, of Thief River Falls, MN, Wendy Sue De Frang, of Hibbing, MN, Susanne De Frang(daughter-in-law), of Fosston, MN, and Brian Holtan(honorary son), of Pengilly, MN. Her grandchildren, Jessica Hanson, Matthew De Frang , Nicholas (Kimbra) De Frang, Jeremy Hanson, Melissa De Frang, Lindsie De Frang, Jesse De Frang , Elizabeth (Brian) Ruffenach, Paige De Frang, and Tyler Holtan. Her great grandchildren, Parker Hanson, Hunter Skallet, Adam Hanson, Amanda Ostby, Kylee De Frang, Isaiah Ostby, Annabelle Hanson, Lexie De Frang, April Hanson, Kallie Ostby, Aubree Larson, Gabriella Hanson, Ella De Frang, Austin Hanson, Wyatt De Frang, and Koral De Frang.

Her great, great grandchildren, Everleigh Rasmussen and Willa Dean Ruffenach. 

She is preceded in death by her Parents, Virgil and Lillian Nelson, her husband, Douglas De Frang, her sister, Betty Janik, and her brothers, Vearl and Lyle Nelson. Her two sons, David and Dean De Frang, and her daughter, Sandra De Frang. Also, her granddaughter, Jonelle De Frang, two great granddaughters, Nova De Frang and Jovie De Frang, and great, great grandson, Everett Ostby.  

Funeral services will be held at a later time this Spring. She is to be buried next to Doug in Our Saviors Lutheran Cemetery in McIntosh. We will notify all friends and family once the date is set.

The entire family deeply appreciates your support during this difficult time and asks that you opt to plant a memorial tree in lieu of sending flowers- this can be done here on the Carlin Family Funeral Service website. We also encourage you to share memories of our dearest Carole as we hope to read them at her celebration of life this Spring. If you wish to contribute some memories and stories, please email with your favorite story, your name, and relationship to Carole.


Richards Publishing

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


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