In Memory of Mary Lou Carstensen

Mary  Lou Carstensen
Mary Lou Carstensen
Born: December 27, 1934
Died: January 23, 2018
Age: 83
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Mary Lou Carstensen
December 27, 1934 - January 23, 2018
From: Ida Grove, IA

Mary Lou Carstensen, age 83, of Ida Grove, Iowa, passed away on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at the Horn Memorial Hospital, of Ida Grove, Iowa.

A visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., on Friday, January 26, 2018, at the Christensen – Van Houten Funeral Home, of Ida Grove, Iowa. A Private Family Graveside will be held on Saturday, January 27, 2018, in the Ida Grove Cemetery, of Ida Grove, Iowa. Reverend Richard A. Salcido will officiate. The Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home of Ida Grove, Iowa is in charge of the funeral arrangements. Condolences may be sent online at

     Mary Lou Carstensen, the daughter of George and Mary (Meister) Todd, was born on December 27, 1934, on the family farm southeast of Washta, Iowa. Mary Lou was the youngest of seven children born to George and Mary. She attended country school not far from the family farm and continued her education at Cushing High School.

     In July of 1954, Mary Lou married Bill Wittorf and to this union five children were born: Bob, Connie, Helga, Kathy, and Karl. The couple would later part ways.

     On December 20, 1975, Mary Lou was united into marriage to Norman Lee Carstensen of Denison, Iowa, in the First United Methodist Church of Ida Grove, Iowa.  Norman welcomed Mary Lou’s five children and Mary Lou welcomed Norman’s five children and the couple made their forever home in Ida Grove, Iowa, where they have lived for the past 42 years.

      Mary Lou enjoyed tending to her garden and strawberry beds. She knew her way around the kitchen canning vegetables from her garden and baking delectable treats such as bread, bars, and mouthwatering sugar cookies. Later in life Mary Lou enjoyed daily strolls around town with Norman, playing games, putting puzzles together, and Sudoku. Mary Lou was a simple, hardworking, compassionate wife, mother, and grandmother who treasured every moment spent with her family and will be dearly missed.

       Mary Lou was preceded in death by her parents George and Mary Todd; siblings Louie Todd, Albert (Lorine) Todd, Marie (Raymond) Jepsen, Glenn (Arliss) Todd, Irene (Delbert) Kohn; stepson Allan Carstensen; and brother-in-law Pete Paulsen.

      Left to cherish her memory are her loving husband of 42 years Norman Lee Carstensen of Ida Grove, Iowa; children Bob (Fel) Wittorf of Wayzata, MN, Connie (James) Schumann of Plano, TX, Helga (John) Green of Des Moines, IA, Kathy Schwanz of Ida Grove, IA, and Karl (Sandy) Wittorf of Schleswig, IA; stepchildren Rick Carstensen of Arura, CO, Vicki Nigg of Des Moines, IA, Norman Carstensen, Jr. of Tacoma, WA, Sandy Russell of Des Moines, IA; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sister Betty Paulsen of Holstein, IA; many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.




Private Family Graveside:

Saturday, January 27, 2018
Ida Grove Cemetery
Ida Grove, Iowa


Rev. Richard A. Salcido


Honorary Pallbearers:

Alyssa Wittorf-Leppert
Whitney Kreutzer
Meggie Wittorf
Christopher Schumann
Kallie Schumann
Brent Green
Adam Schwanz
Kasey Schwanz
Kelsey Wittorf
Karli Wittorf


5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Friday, January, 26, 2018
Christensen - Van Houten
Funeral Home
Ida Grove, Iowa


Ida Grove Cemetery
Ida Grove, Iowa


Friday, February 2, 2018 at 9:51 AM
“Karl and Kathy and family, so sorry for the loss of your mother. Keeping you all in my prayers.”
- Valarie Wonder
Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 9:05 AM
“Our thoughts and prayers to all of you and your families from Keith and Lorie bennigsdorf”
- Keith and Lorie bennigsdorf
Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 2:31 PM
“Family of Mary Lou, Sending hugs, love and sympathy for the loss of your mother. My God help you get through these hard times. ”
- Shirley Ruser
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