Florence Rosa Stocking (Pruessner), 88, formerly of Cambridge, passed away peacefully on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, at Prairie Senior Cottages of Isanti.
She was born March 3, 1933, at home in the country near Charles City, Iowa, to Fred and Rosa Pruessner. She grew up on the family farm near Rudd, Iowa, the older sister to her much younger brothers, and graduated from Rudd High School in a class of 14 students. After acquiring her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, she taught 1st grade at Wooddale Elementary School in Edina. In later years, after her children were older, she worked as a substitute teacher in the Cambridge-Isanti school district.
In 1960, Florence was united in marriage to John Stocking at the Little Brown Church in the Vale in Nashua, Iowa. They moved to Cambridge, where they raised their four children, Terri, Scott, Tracy and Jennifer. They initially lived in housing on the grounds of Cambridge State Hospital, where John worked as an administrator. They then moved to a home on Paul’s Lake.
Eventually they built a house on an acreage in Springvale Township, where Florence and John lived for more than 40 years, enjoying the wildlife and solitude of living out in the country. They devoted many hours to landscaping their large yard, with John managing the trees and shrubs and Florence planting and maintaining the flowers.
Florence loved children and had the heart and soul of a teacher, which influenced both her career path and her parenting. Pupils from her early teaching days at Wooddale recall gaining a love for reading under her instruction, which she also instilled in her own children. As a parent and grandparent, Florence will be remembered for her endlessly patient but firm demeanor, guiding by example and expectation rather than rules or punishment. Disappointing her was a fate worse than any discipline that could be doled out. The grandchildren knew there was no mess or request or problem that could shake Oma’s equilibrium.
Florence had a gift for being fully present and attentive to whomever she happened to be with. She was a thoughtful listener with whom it was easy to converse for hours, sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. Her smile, sense of humor, and quick laugh put people at ease. Living out in the country did not prevent her from socializing with a wide variety of friends, including the women from her bridge club, her church circle, and her neighborhood bible study.
Having grown up during the Great Depression and later the economic sacrifice during World War II, Florence valued thriftiness. She was notorious for saving and repurposing and stretching resources. Her love for sewing provided a creative outlet that capitalized on her frugality. Her projects ranged from matching dresses for her young daughters to wedding dresses for them when they were older, from swimsuits and leotards to winter parkas and stuffed animals. The house was filled with curtains and bedspreads and decorations she created. She outfitted her grandchildren with pajamas and Halloween costumes.
Florence was a selfless servant who freely gave of her time and talent. This was especially evident at Cambridge Lutheran Church over the several decades that she was a member. She taught Sunday school, most frequently to 8th-graders. She also served on the church council and the hospitality committee and faithfully tallied the offering every Monday morning with the “counting ladies” for many years.
In the later years, as her health and John’s declined, Florence moved first to Riverwood Village and then to Woodbury to live with her daughter Tracy. She eventually moved to Prairie Senior Cottages, where she was lovingly cared for with support from St. Croix Hospice.
She was preceded in death by her parents and husband John. She is survived by her four children: son Scott (Tacy) Stocking of Minneapolis, daughters Terri Holm of Stanchfield, Tracy (Jeff) Blodgett of Woodbury, and Jennifer Stocking (Francis Desiderio) of Statesboro, Ga.; 10 grandchildren: Dan Holm (Riley Fischer), Lizzie (Mike) Strachota, Kysa (Stephen) Monette, Maddy Stocking, Anika Stocking (Michael Stone), Caleb Blodgett (Isabelle Welp), Maren Blodgett, Chase Blodgett, John Desiderio and Chris Desiderio; brothers Richard (Virginia) Pruessner of Mason City, Iowa, and Robert (Sharon) Pruessner of Bondurant, Iowa; and many other relatives.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, May 16, 2022, at Cambridge Lutheran Church. Visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment in the church cemetery. Memorials may be given to Cambridge Lutheran Church or New Pathways (newpathwaysmn.com). Condolences at www.carlsonlillemoen.com. Arrangements by Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge.