John L. “Tolly” Tollefson – Detroit Lakes Tribune

Services for John L. Tollefson “Tolly”, 79, of Norfolk, Nebraska, will be held Tuesday, January 31 at 11:00 am at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Norfolk, with the Reverend Paul Hirsch officiating. Visitation takes place one hour before the service in the church. Burial will take place in the New Lutheran Cemetery. Military honors conducted by the United States Navy Honor Guard, American Legion Post 16 and VFW Post 1644. Home for Funerals is responsible for the preparations.

Mr. Tollefson died on Thursday January 26, 2023 at Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk.

John was born on July 30, 1943 in Rochester, Iowa to Glenn and Antoinette (Poststelle) Tollefson. He grew up in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, where he attended school and graduated from high school in 1961. In 1963 his love of travel led him to the Navy, where he served for over 22 years, much of that time spent on submarines. In the Navy he traveled to many places such as San Diego, Maryland, Idaho, Rhode Island, Guam and Scotland.

John attended UNL when he met the love of his life, Carolyn Kayl. They married on August 23, 1969 in St. Paul’s, Norfolk, and lived together in Lincoln for a short time before moving to Hawaii, where their eldest son, Eric, was born. After briefly living in the San Francisco Bay Area, he took an extended sabbatical where they explored the country. They visited his family here in Nebraska and in his native state of Minnesota before moving to Massachusetts where their son Jason was born.

On August 31, 1986, John retired from the Navy and the Tollefsons moved to Norfolk to be closer to family. He joined the United States Postal Service in 1989 and enjoyed his work as a ground transporter in Creighton, Nebraska until his retirement in 2008. After his retirement, he continued to volunteer and assist in various assignments as a member of the Nebraska Association of Rural Postmen.

John greatly enjoyed spending time with family and friends. His dry sense of humor and witticisms always made people laugh and endeared him to many. He loved jeopardy, trivia, crosswords, and sudoku. He enjoyed playing golf and shuffleboard when he could and was a huge Husker fan.

Carolyn and John shared a passion for travel and their many adventures have taken them to Hawaii, California, Massachusetts and throughout the United States to name a few.

He is survived by his son Jason Tollefson, granddaughter Brooke Kube, great-granddaughter Everly Kube, daughter-in-law Kristine Elliott, and sister-in-law Joanne Thietje.

He was preceded in death by his wife Carolyn, son Eric, a brother and sister.

Memorials can be addressed to St. Paul’s Lutheran School or the American Legion.

Condolences can be offered to the family online at