Alpha Girtman

Alpha Girtman left this world to enter her Father’s glory on Oct. 3, 2018, at Dove Healthcare, Osseo.
Alpha (Carlson) Girtman was born Aug. 1, 1923, into the family of Carl “Charlie” Carlson and his wife Astrid Esther (Hanson), in their country home in Chimney Rock near Independence. She was the sister of Owen Kermit, Amos Hiram (Dorothy) and Clarice Luella (Clifford) Nicholls. She attended the rural Insteness School her eight years of elementary education. She attended Whitehall High School for two years, then completed her education at the Independence High School in 1941.
Following her marriage to Broadus “Pete” Girtman on March 3, 1942, she spent almost two years as an Army wife while Pete was stationed at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. When he was sent overseas to the European Theatre of war in December 1943, Alpha came back to Wisconsin with daughter Ellen, and enrolled in teachers college at Eau Claire on D-Day in June 1944, being educated in teaching in the rural schools. She taught in these rural schools: Huskelhus, Caswell, Bruce Valley, Brick-Chimney Rock and Big Creek. She later taught in Stillson School, Chippewa Falls, before returning to UW-Eau Claire in 1964 to complete her Bachelor of Science degree. She often kiddingly stated, “It took me 20 years to get through college.” She also acquired one year of advanced study beyond her degree. She taught 21 years in Mondovi Junior High before retiring in 1985, completing 32 years of teaching. She said she taught over 3,100 students in her career.
When Pete returned from Europe in 1945 they lived near Strum but later moved to Pete’s place of employment in Detroit for the next eight years. Returning to Wisconsin in 1953, they farmed in Chimney Rock while she taught in rural schools and attending college courses to further her education.
Alpha was much involved in 4-H work, being leader of the Chimney Rock Northern Lights and Strum Strivers, as well as project leaders for members of all ages. She was a participant in leadership for 45 years. Her church organizations were important to her, also serving at every office at some time. She was baptized and confirmed in the Chimney Rock Lutheran Church and continued to serve in any way possible.
She was active in the American Legion Auxiliary, serving as county president and officer in the Eleva Unit. Alpha was also involved in the VFW Auxiliary, Retired Teacher’s Association, AARP and County Agency on Aging, representing Strum, as well as volunteering in the senior lunch program and also at the Strum nursing home.
Alpha is survived by five children, Ellen H. Holstad of Osseo, Carl “Chuck” O. (Deborah Deutscher) Girtman of Strum, David A. (Marsha) Girtman of Strum, John R. (Deborah) Girtman of Prior Lake, Minn. and Sara (Tom) Kensmoe of Strum; sister, Clarice Nicholls of Prescott, Ariz.; 12 grandchildren, Jerilyn, Julie, Jill, Ryan, Derek, Ona, Alexis, Leah, Adam, Tyler, Erin and Kate; 14 great-grandchildren, Amber, Bailey, Danielle, Jennifer, Jessica, Ava, Emerson, Hannah, Jack, Madison, Noah, Aida, Lydia and Adeline; great-great-granddaughter, Bria; other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband Pete on Dec. 24, 1977; two brothers, Hiram and Owen Carlson; granddaughter, Rachel Holstad; brother-in-law, Clifford Nicholls; sister-in-law, Dorothy Carlson.
Funeral services were held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8, at Chimney Rock Lutheran Church, rural Strum, with Rev. Lowell Bolstad officiating. Burial was in the Chimney Rock Cemetery. Visitation was held from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the church and one hour prior to the services on Monday.
Memorials may be given to Chimney Rock Lutheran Church.
Online condolences may be offered at


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