Stephanie Joy Fernholz

Macken Funeral Home Memorial Photo
Date of Birth:
Saturday, March 31, 1956
Date of Death:
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
62 years old


Date: Tuesday May 15, 2018
Time: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Location: River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home [ view map ]

Memorial Service

Date: Wednesday May 16, 2018
Time: 11:00 am

Location: River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home [ view map ]

Macken Funeral Home Memorial Photo
Date of Birth:
Saturday, March 31, 1956
Date of Death:
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
62 years old
Macken Funeral Home Memorial Photo
Date of Birth:
Saturday, March 31, 1956
Date of Death:
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
62 years old

Stephanie Joy Fernholz

Stephanie Joy Fernholz (62) was born March 31, 1956 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Rev. Ernest and  Margaret (Eid) Haygeman.  The family moved to Garretson, SD then Aberdeen SD and eventually Madison, MN where she met her husband Steve and graduated high school in 1974.

After high school she attended one year at Golden Valley Lutheran College in Golden Valley, MN.  In 1975, she married Steve Fernholz and moved to Newcastle, NE where she attended St. Joseph Mercy School of Nursing in Sioux City, Iowa.  Stephanie graduated in 1977 with great distinction finishing top of her class receiving her RN degree.

In the fall of 1978, Steve and Stephanie moved to Blue Earth, MN where Steve taught and coached at Blue Earth Area Schools.  Stephanie touched many lives in the 40 years she spent in nursing.  She began her career as an OB Nurse at United Hospital, then spent time as an Emergency Room Nurse, before finding her professional calling as a Hospice Nurse in 2009.  Stephanie was currently employed at Seasons Hospice in Rochester, where she took ultimate pride in providing the best end of life care and support to patients and their families.

Stephanie was also active in Christian Women’s Club, often traveling distances to deliver speeches about the loss of her 2nd child (Jessica Marie) in hopes of providing comfort to others experiencing grief.    She spoke of her strong belief in God and her faith which helped her through her loss.

Although Stephanie’s professional career was admirable, it was the mark that she left on those fortunate enough to know her personally that is truly noteworthy.  She dedicated her personal life to providing words of comfort, celebration and joy to her friends and family that she loved and protected fiercely.   She was always armed with a big smile, story, or a photo of her grandkids to share with anyone willing to listen.

Stephanie is survived by her husband, Steve; sons, Chris (Molly) Oronoco, MN, and Jacob Winona, MN; daughter, Katie (Bern) O’Brien, Rochester MN;  two brothers, Daniel (Nancy Emeral Haygeman)- Billingham, WA and John Haygeman of Seattle, WA; two sisters, Sonja (Tom) Whitford Anchorage, Ak, and Kris (Will) Kurtz Winnipeg, Manitoba; and five grandchildren, Abby Schimek (18), Jack Eustice (12), Brynn Fernholz (8), Charlie O’Brien (6), and Nora Fernholz (4).

She was preceded in death by her parents, numerous aunts and uncles, and her daughter Jessica Marie Fernholz.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Seasons Hospice in Rochester, MN.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am Wednesday, May 16 in the River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home with Pastor Ron Prasek officiating. Visitation will be from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm Tuesday, May 15 at the funeral home.


The family of Stephanie Joy Fernholz has received the following condolences.

I am so sorry to hear that Stephanie passed away so suddenly.  We are praying for your family!  Evangeline Skilbred/formerly of Pierpont SD. 


My deepest condolences to Steve and family. What an amazingly blessed lady. I will cherish the friendship we shared forever. Stephanie was so much to many! Hugs and Prayers .

Peggy and Wayne

Dear Steve and family,

We were saddened to hear of Stephanie untimely passing.  She was truly a saint.  After all these years we still fondly remember the 2 years we shared with you in Newcastle.  What a blessing it was to know you then.  Such innocent and happy times we all shared.  God bless you and your entire family.


Tom & Cyndi Steigers

I got to work with Steph at the Marie Steiner Melting Hospice Home. It was a privilege. There was a time when I was really struggling with a coworker and she helped me to see things from her perspective. Then she gave me one of her all-encompassing hugs and it was better. The world is a better place because Stephanie was here. Thank you Lord for Steph. I am so sorry. She left a huge hole. 

So sorry to hear of the tragedy of Stephanie's untimely death.  Remembrances of high school days when Stephanie had designed and sewed her prom dress but was panicked when she didn't have time to hem it.   Glad she brought the dress over to get finished in time.  I remember it clearly, but that was long ago and she had become a valued  nurse, mother, and grandmother since.  Condolences to Steve and family.   


Carmen and Sally Fernholz

Dear Fernholz family,

Sending warm thoughts your way as I reflect on the positive influence Stephanie had in my life.  She was always smiling and had a wonderful twinkle in her eyes.  She was always ready to listen and shared wise words of wisdom when I needed to hear them most.  My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

With Deepest Sympathy

Kay Van Kley .... now Beigh

Dear Steve, Chris, Kate, Jacob, and families,

We are so terribly sorry for your loss.  She meant so much to so many people, and her sudden passing is a loss that we all share with you.  We all enjoyed and savored her bright spirit, her always-ready smile, and her unconditional warmth and love.  Linda and I were so very appreciative when you and your family opened your home to our youngest son when we moved to BE.  (He still considers Steve and Stephanie his second set of parents, and Chris is another brother).  Stephanie opened her arms again to us when Linda's dad stayed for a while at the hospice in Rochester.  What a wonderful comfort we felt, knowing that she would be there to provide a familiar, warm connection for him!  She was truly a blessing.

May God provide each of you with His peace and love during this difficult time.

Don and Linda Helmstetter

Sad for your loss. Eric

Steve, So sorry for you loss. Our thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Del and Lynda Stankey , Danforth Path neighbors

Stephanie is a pleasure, a joy, and a smile we all got to share. We were all blessed with her.
Steve and Family, I'm grateful you were blessed the most and loved by her the most.
Not only was she your wife and your mother, she was your friend, more so than to all of us.
I hope you feel her love and her friendship always.

Katie and Family,

We are so sorry for your loss.  Thinking of you and saying prayers for strength and peace during this time. 

Love you!

Staci, Chris, Cameron, Olivia, and Mallory Willis

I send God's love and blessings to you. I will remember Stephanie for her laugh and love for people!

I went to high school with Daniel at Garretson, SD.  I want to say how very sorry I am to hear of her fatal accident!  It sounds like she was a very loving and kind person who will be deeply missed.  Daniel and the entire family have my thoughts and prayers.  May God give you His peace and strength.  Judy

I was truly at a loss for words when i heard the news.  I had the privilege of spending time with Stephanie and working with her at Heartland.  In our short time together we had many great talks about faith, wrestling, and trust.  I am so blessed to have spent time with her.  My heart and prayers go out to you all.

Dear Steve and family,

Our condolences to all of you during this difficult time.

Eagle Lake will not be the same without Stephanie.  

Sincerely, Jim, Linda, Britney and Family, Joe and Erma.

to the family of Stephanie, Stephanie was my nurse when I gave birth to my oldest son back in 2000 at the UHD in Blue Earth. Chris and Steve Fernholtz I will be praying for your family.

Steve & family,

How devastating a loss for you and your family.  We can't imagine what you are going through.  Having reconnected with Stephanie via Facebook it was obvious that she was a very kind and compassionate woman who cared deeply about the things that really matter in this world.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.  Larry & Cheryl Bornhorst

How saddened we are to hear of Stephanie's death especially at this Mother's Day time.  Our hearts fill with love and prayers for you at such a difficult time.  In the midst of the sorrow her bright beautiful smile will never pass.  She leaves it for all of us along with the memories of her great goodness and love for so many people that she touched with her compassionate heart of a mother, wife, nurse, friend and part of our family.  Steve, please know how much our spirits are with you.  We are asking for prayers also from our 1200 sisters throughout our provinces.  Please let us help carry your grief in our love and prayers.

Your cousins,

Kay and Annette

So sorry to hear about your sister. I hope you and your family know there are a lot of people who have you in their prayers.  You and your family are in my prayers, for sure. 

So sorry for your loss. Words cannot take away your pain, but know that you are in prayers. 

I don’t think I ever saw her without that contagious smile of hers. She was a great lady. Hold tight to the memories. 


Dear Steve and family,

Our thoughts and prayers will remain with your family.  Stephanie was a faithful friend to many and was able to connect on such a personal level that others felt blessed by her presence.  Her devotion to her patients and pride in her family were always evident and she truly did spread joy wherever she happened to be.  Thank you so much for sharing her with us over the years.  

With our deepest sympathy,

Denny and Sue Zitnak  


In behalf of the Eagle Lake Lakeshore Association, condolences go out to you and your family.  May God be with you and your family during this difficult time.

 Our Sincere sympathies to the Family of Stephanie.  I had the honor of working with Stephanie in Christian Womens Group many years ago.  Such grace she emulated.  She left a big impression on me.  May God Bless all of you as you keep her memories in your hears.  Thinking of all of you during this time.  Hugs and Prayers.  Mark and Sue Hauskins Blue Earth 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to you at this most difficult time. Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. Richard and Carla Heuer 

To the family and friends of Stephanie fernholz im sorry for your loss may god be with u during this time. Amen

As a fellow RN, I worked many shifts with Stephanie.  She was unfailingly kind to her patients, as well as being an excellent nurse. Our family, including Jonas, would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences. She was a wonderful woman. Ann Ekse

I had the pleasure of working with Stephanie last Saturday evening and many other shifts prior to that. She was a breath of fresh air, so positive and kind. I cannot even imagine how you must feel right now but I do know that Stephanie was so proud of her family. I am so sorry for your loss. 

Susie Gillard


hi Steve I am so sorry that steph had to go my heart hurts so much. I will miss steph so much I will miss her smile. It just seems like it's all a dream. I am so sad that she's gone. I feel sad for you and your family. Steve can you have the service on her Facebook. I'd like to hear the service. Kristin Frye 

My heart is sad at the loss of this wonderful friend and co worker! Stephanie was such a caring and sweet person and a very talented nurse. I had the honor of working with this lady at the hospice house this last year. She always came to work with a smile on her face and greeted everyone and asked how we were doing?  When I was having a hard day I admired her quick wit in making a person feel special to be part of the hospice team. Thanks for sharing this special friend and co worker with us. She was very respected and loved by her patients and co workers! I will miss you Stephanie but I will never forget the kindness you shared with all of us ! You are a Angel flying high above us! God Bless you and be with your family and all your friends! Take care until we meet again some day! Your friend and co worker Tracey Schleeter

I had the pleasure of working with Steph at Season's the past year. She was a kind, dedicated, gentle soul. Always had an encouraging word for her co-workers. I will miss her. May God give her family peace knowing she is in a special place in heaven.


My sincere sympathy to you and your family, Steve. Although I never knew Stephanie, I know how loved she was to you and the family.  In reading her obituary, I can see how she lived her life to help others.   I hope the love and care she gave others gives them memories they can share with you, and give you comfort at this difficult time

sincerely,  Annette Ward ( Winnegago Elem). 

My deepest condolences. I'm so very sorry to hear of this tragic loss of such a wonderful woman. We will be keeping you all in our prayers. 

- Kalpana, Mark, and Ted Devaraj 

My deepest condolences. I'm so very sorry to hear of this tragic loss of such a wonderful woman. We will be keeping you all in our prayers. 

- Kalpana, Mark, and Ted Devaraj 

Prayers to you Steve and families. Words can't express our sympathy at this time.

To the family of Stephanie:

I had the pleasure to work with Stephanie for five years, nursing in rural MN.

Losing family, friends & co-workers is difficult even though we know loss is within the circle of life. Unexpected, tragic loss is even more difficult to absorb & understand. 

Sympathy, thoughts & prayers to all.

Steve and family:  Stephanie was a friend to all.  I knew her most while in high school, but over the years we connected, talked, laughed, went out to eat and visited.  I loved her energy, her brilliant smile and strong hugs.  She is greatly missed.  You are all in my prayers as you work through this time of sadness and loss.

My heartfelt condolences to family and loved ones of Stephanie.  All who knew Stephanie loved her, that infectious smile and loving personality, was just so warm. I came to know the Haygeman family while serving as Pastor Haygeman's Parish Secretary in Madison. Stephanie was a babysitter for my children many times and she was the best!! Though years have separated us Stephanie has remained close to my heart.  She has touched many in her life and will be greatly missed.  My Sympathy to Steve, children, grandchildren, sisters, brothers, extended family and friends. 

We are sending our thoughts  and prayers during this difficult time!!!!!! My heart is hurting for what you guys are going through! - Melissa and Rob mickow (Arianna and Emmalyn) 

We are sending our thoughts  and prayers during this difficult time!!!!!! My heart is hurting for what you guys are going through! - Melissa and Rob mickow (Arianna and Emmalyn) 

So sorry about this....Love and Blessings to the families involved....she was so loved and will be missed by many!

Thoughts and prayers to you and your family at this darkest hour with the tragic passing of your sister. May you find comfort knowing she is with the Lord and her heavenly family. My deepest sympathy. 

Sondra (Wick) Stead