Pauline Alice Ailts, 84, of Luverne, died Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, at the Sanford Luverne Hospice Cottage.
She was born Nov. 15, 1938, in Midland Township, near Little Rock, Iowa, to John and Aafka (Martens) Ohling. Pauline was baptized on Jan. 1, 1939, at the Bethel Reformed Church in rural Ellsworth. She attended country school in Midland Township and graduated from Little Rock High School in 1956.
After graduation, Pauline moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she worked at the Sioux Valley Hospital as a nurse’s aide. She then went to work at the Sioux Falls Stockyards as a secretary. She later worked as a bank teller at a bank in Sioux Falls.
Pauline married Harley Ailts on Nov. 28, 1958, at the Bethel Reformed Church in rural Ellsworth. The first year of their marriage, the couple lived at Anamosa, Iowa. In 1959 they moved to Ellsworth. The family moved to Luverne in the summer of 1962.
Pauline’s life was a beautiful story of love and adventure. For 45 years she took the wheel as a school bus driver, bringing joy to countless kids in Luverne Public Schools until her well-deserved retirement in 2018. Her grandkids were the stars in her sky, and she, along with her husband, Harley, was their number one fan, rarely missing a game and even giving her granddaughters the treat of bus rides to and from their games. With 17 grandkids in her later years, she kept up with their lives through snapchat. But her interests span far and wide, from shopping trips to card games, from helping Harley with his woodworking to attending numerous craft shows, and from tending to her garden to cooking in her kitchen. Camping, square dancing, snowmobiling, researching her family heritage, listening to politics, and wintering in Arizona filled her days with excitement and joy.
She was also a beloved member of the American Reformed Church, Luverne, for 65 years. Pauline’s legacy encourages us to embrace life with the same enthusiasm and grit as she did. Though she may be physically gone, we are confident her eternity in heaven has just begun.
Pauline is survived by her son, Kevin (Crystal) Ailts, Luverne; two daughters, Kandace (Mike) Rust, Magnolia, and Karla (Tom) Owen, Winnebago; seven grandchildren, Sarah (Christopher) Nuffer, Katie (Matthew) Van Grootheest, Lindsay (Ryan) Lonneman, Erika (Jesse) Brake, Lexi (Tony) Lynn, Kathie (RJ) Linder and Bob (Karrie) Owen; 17 great-grandkids, Afton, Aubrey, Kallista, Huntley, Axel, Gracelyn, Kaleb, Eastyn, McKinley, Korbin, Hudsyn, Koyer, Gavin, Olivia, Preslie, Haddie and Cormac; two brothers, Egbert Ohling, Rock Rapids, Iowa, and Paul (Eleanor) Ohling, George, Iowa; and a sister, Gerda DeBoer-Jannsen, Luverne.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Harley, on April 29, 2010; and a sister, Hilke Garrels.
Visitation was 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Dingmann Funeral Home in Luverne and one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday, Oct. 13. Funeral was at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the American Reformed Church in Luverne, officiated by Pastor Mike Altena. Burial was in the Maplewood Cemetery in Luverne.