Cover photo for Erna Salmonsen's Obituary
Erna Salmonsen Profile Photo
1937 Erna 2020

Erna Salmonsen

May 19, 1937 — August 24, 2020

As a result of current restrictions on gatherings, we are providing HeartStrings, our online sympathy message where you can upload a photo and write a note or share a memory that will be printed and given to the family. Please click here to send your support.

Erna Salmonsen, age 83 of Hastings, passed away on August 24, 2020.

Erna Magdalena Salmonsen was born on May 19, 1937 in White, South Dakota to Ernst and Elli Garbers, one of eight children. In her early years, Erna had accepted the Lord as her Savior and willingly shared with others her testimony of faith in him throughout her life.  Erna attended Lake Benton Hilltop Fifty School. In February of 1964, she was married to Alan Salmonsen, after returning to Lake Benton from living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for a short while.

Erna was known for her passionate work ethic. She held many different jobs throughout the years, including working in two different egg factories, one in Pipestone, MN and one out in California. Erna was a bookkeeper for many Standard Oil Stations at one time. She also owned the largest towing company in a five-state region for AAA. Erna was proud to be the owner and operator of Grand and Smith Mobile from 1983-1999. Erna officially retired in 1999 but continued working as she helped start WDS Landscaping with her sons. She worked alongside her sons from 1999-2020.  Even though Erna was a dedicated worker, she always had time for her family. Playing jokes on her friends and family was one of her favorite pastimes. She also enjoyed playing cards and farming.

Erna is preceded in death by her husband Alan; her parents; brothers Arnold, Erwin, and Marvin Garbers; sisters Lydia Van Dyke, Viola Hokins, and infant sister Elfrida Garbers; and sisters-in-law Rose, Esther, and Millie Garbers.  She is survived by her sons Westley (Ko) and David; grandchildren Holly, Christina, Lali, Molly, Holly, Ashley, and Jacob; 4 great-grandchildren; brother Herbert Garbers; brother-in-law John Van Dyke; sisters-in-law Glenda Garbers and Linda Garbers.

Funeral service will be 11 am, Monday, August 31, 2020 at Lighthouse Baptist Church, 9979 80th Street S., Cottage Grove with visitation one hour prior.  Weather permitting, the service will be held outside.  Interment will follow at the Cottage Grove Cemetery.

While maintaining social distancing guidelines, we are now able to accommodate gatherings while abiding to a 50% capacity at the facility. The use of face masks by attendees is required at indoor events, and we will continue taking the necessary steps to keep your families safe. Expressions of sympathy during this time can be left on the condolences page available on the obituary portion on our website. We also encourage you to view the video tribute once it becomes available or complete the HeartStrings online sympathy page with the link above.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Erna Salmonsen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, August 31, 2020

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Monday, August 31, 2020

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


10999 70th Street South

Cottage Grove, MN 55016

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