Cover photo for Erna Vivian Paulsen's Obituary
Erna Vivian Paulsen Profile Photo

Erna Vivian Paulsen

d. March 26, 2013

August 22, 1918 ~ March 26, 2013


Monday, April 1, 2013

1:00-9:00 PM

Burmiester-Johannsen Funeral Home

Harlan, Iowa

The family will be present to greet friends from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Funeral Home.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

11:00 AM

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Harlan, Iowa

Burial will be in Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa


1 Daughter – Gretchen (Harold) Kelley of Des Moines, IA

1 Sister – Irene Hansen of Harlan, IA

3 Granddaughters – Jill (Mike) Wadsley of Grand Island, NE

Amy (Scott) Lovett of Garden Grove, IA

Beth (Scott) Crumm of Kearney, NE

6 Great-grandchildren – Jacob, Erika, Nicole, Lauren, Ryan, and Emma

Other Relatives & Friends

Erna Vivian Paulsen, the daughter of Carl W. and Tenta (Christensen) Haferbier, was born on August 22, 1918, in Sanborn, Minnesota. Her family moved to Iowa when Erna was seven years old. She was raised on a farm near Defiance, Iowa, and in 1936, her parents moved to a farm near Harlan, Iowa. On February 8, 1940, Erna married Richard “Dick” Paulsen in Maryville, Missouri. The couple made their home in Harlan. Erna did house cleaning for many years, and was also employed as a school cook at the Harlan Jr. High School. Following Dick’s death, on September 24, 1977, Erna remained in her own home. She became resident of the Avoca Nursing and Rehab Center in Avoca, Iowa, in 2008.

Erna was a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harlan, Iowa. She enjoyed doing counted cross stitch and making quilts. She was also an accomplished seamstress who made many of her own clothes. Erna liked to cook for family and friends, and she was especially devoted to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Erna V. Paulsen died on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, at the Avoca Nursing and Rehab Center in Avoca, Iowa, at the age of 94 years, 7 months, and 4 days.

Erna was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Richard “Dick” Paulsen; and one sister, Etta Hulsebus. She is survived by one daughter, Gretchen (Harold) Kelley of Des Moines, Iowa; one sister, Irene Hansen of Harlan, Iowa; three granddaughters, Jill (Mike) Wadsley of Grand Island, Nebraska, Amy (Scott) Lovett of Garden Grove, Iowa, and Beth (Scott) Crumm of Kearney, Nebraska; six great-grandchildren, Jacob, Erika, Nicole, Lauren, Ryan, and Emma; and other relatives and friends.

The funeral service was held on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Pastor Steve Chellew officiating. Marge Ahrenholtz served as the organist, and Diane Kastens was the soloist. Casket bearers were Erna’s loving family. Burial was in the Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at
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