Floris Juanita Holderness, 92, Hayfield
Floris Juanita Holderness, formerly Floris Henslin, passed away peacefully in her Hayfield home on July 12, 2020 at the age of 92.
Floris (Flo) Voorhees was born on March 22, 1928 in Clayton Township. She was welcomed by her parents, Florence and Edward Voorhees, and her grandmother Ida Peterson, who, as a trained midwife, had the honor of delivering her first grandchild.
Flo’s siblings, Joyce and Keith, joined the family to become her favorite playmates and “partners in crime.” Flo’s teenage years were shaped by World War II, which began when she was 13 years old. After hearing about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on her grandparents’ radio, Flo started dreaming about serving others as a nurse.
She graduated from Elkton High School in 1946 and enrolled at Kahler Hospital’s School of Nursing. There she learned many of the skills that would shape her career, as well as making lifelong friends.
One of those friends accompanied her on a hitchhiking adventure out of Rochester on a spring day in 1949. After a few amusing mishaps, they ended up near Dodge Center where Flo met Warren (Top) Henslin and they began a two year courtship. After completing her nursing training in 1949, Flo started her career at the Minneapolis Maternity Hospital.
Never destined to be a city girl, Flo returned to farm life when she married Top on Jan. 14,1951 at the United Brethren Church in Rochester. The couple built their home and their life from the bottom up, laying a foundation of cooperation while living for several months in just the basement of their little house.
They joined Pleasant Corners United Methodist Church, where Flo was a devoted lifelong member. They welcomed their first son, Steven Edward, in 1953 and their second son, Allan David, in 1954.
Flo enjoyed helping on the farm, especially running the combine during the corn harvest. She always said that she’d rather be working outside than inside. During the years when they raised their boys, Flo also worked part time as a nurse for Dr. Hartung in Claremont, which allowed the family to begin one of their greatest adventures - flying.
Flo and Top purchased a small plane in 1962, after they had both earned their pilot’s licenses. They joined the International Flying Farmers and began travelling the country and making more lifelong friends. One of those friendships led them to Arizona where Flo fell in love with the desert. For several years, the family migrated to Arizona for the winter when farming was slow.
Flo worked as a nurse; Top worked as a welder, and they enjoyed trips to the sand dunes with their boys on the weekends.
Sadly, Top passed away from cancer in January 1979, just months after the couple welcomed their first granddaughter. Flo spent a few years helping her older son continue the family farming tradition before returning to nursing, first at Boswell Hospital in Sun City, AZ and then at Assisi Heights in Rochester where she managed the evening shift until her retirement in 1996.
In her third act, Flo was blessed to find love again with Eugene Holderness. They married on Aug. 30,1998 and enjoyed living together on the farm and traveling to Arizona in the winters for seven years until an unfortunate accident took Gene from her.
Flo entered a second stage of widowhood, finding joy in her many friendships and her growing brood of great grandchildren. In her final years, Flo moved off the farm to seek community, first at Prairie Meadows in Kasson and then at Crest View Villa in Hayfield. She made many friends at both places, including staff members who enjoyed her tendency to stay up late chatting with them.
She was known in both communities for her talents on the piano, accompanying services until just a few months before her death.
Flo will be remembered for her wit, her persistence and for always being true to herself. She was a night owl who loved good stories - telling them, reading them and watching them unfold onstage. She deeply valued time spent with her friends and family members, and she beamed with joy when her great grandchildren were around. She loved summer but could tolerate winter as long as she had a puzzle or an interesting book at hand, a little chocolate nearby and a cat on her lap.
Flo is survived by her sons, Steven (Libby) Henslin and Allan (Linda) Henslin, her six grandchildren: Jennifer (Jacob) Ryg, Andrew (Crystal) Henslin, Melynda (Chris) Jackson, Rebecca (Jason) Bakkedahl, Matthew (Luda) Henslin and Peter (Jenni) Henslin, and her thirteen great grandchildren.
She is also survived by her sister, Joyce (Elmer) Kienitz, her sister-in-law, Dorine Voorhees, and many cherished nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Warren Henslin and Gene Holderness, her parents, Florence and Edward Voorhees, her brother, Keith Voorhees and an infant great-grandson, Noah Bakkedahl.
Due to COVID19 concerns, Flo’s immediate family held a small, private service in her honor. A public celebration of her life will be held when larger gatherings are deemed safe. The private service will be available for viewing beginning Monday, July 20, on Pleasant Corners UMC Facebook page. You do not need a Facebook account to view it. The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff of Crest View Villa, the Mayo Clinic Hospice Team and Czaplewski Family Funeral Homes for supporting Flo’s transition.