Cover photo for Lillian Basarich's Obituary
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1929 Lillian 2022

Lillian Basarich

July 9, 1929 — October 13, 2022


Lillian S. Basarich, 93, peacefully passed away October 13 in Hibbing with her daughter Susan by her
side. Born in the family farm’s log home in Linden Grove, Minn., to John Karl and Hulda Sandberg, Lillian grew
up in Nashwauk where she considered all to be her Nashwauk relatives.
Lillian worked for Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in Hibbing, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis and
Northfield, Minn., and Pacific Bell in Long Beach, California.
In later years, she worked at Hibbing General Hospital/Central Mesabi Medical Center.
Lillian was a devoted volunteer, Sunday School teacher, and Circle member at Our Saviors Lutheran
Church, where she was a faithful member for more than 60 years, always preferring to sit in “her pew.”
Lillian was united in marriage to George S. Basarich in 1962.
Together they built a life that was generous to all. Their home was a gathering place for her daughters’
friends, and later for all friends of her grandson, Patrick.
Lillian was a fan of Hibbing High School hockey, the Minnesota Vikings (especially Cris Carter), and the
Hibbing High School boys swim team, never missing Patrick’s swim meets while proudly wearing her
“Swim Grandma” shirt.
Always up for an adventure, she enjoyed Sunday drives; trips to the Dairy Queen; riding the merry-go-
round at the Kitzville park with granddaughter Emerson; car rides to look at Christmas lights with her
daughters, grandchildren, and dogs; annual summer trips with Susan and Patrick via trains, planes and
automobiles; and a cruise to the Bahamas with daughter Debra where she won the hearts of all of the
ship’s crew.
Lillian was known for her strong faith, her Finnish SISU and determined and spirited nature, and her
generosity, as well as her love of Zip-lock baggies, desserts, late night movies, music, time spent at Swan
Lake, the first dandelion of the Spring, and shoveling snow.
Lillian is survived by her daughters Susan Degnan and Debra (Dave) Cownie; grandchildren Patrick
Degnan and Emerson Cownie; numerous nieces and nephews; a multitude of friends of all ages; and her
kitty, Muffy.
She was preceded in death by her husband George in 2001; her parents John Karl and Hulda Sandberg;
sisters Martha Jensen, Bernice Elsey, and Virginia Armstrong; brothers Arthur, Albert, and Arnold
(Blondie) Sandberg; and nephews Jack Armstrong and Bill Sandberg; along with many much-loved dogs.
A loving mom, MooMoo (grandma), aunt, and friend, we loved her dearly and are heartbroken she’s
gone from our daily lives. A dedicated spouse to her beloved George, it brings us great comfort to know
they are now reunited.
Her family would like to express heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Jon Rudberg for his many years of
compassionate care; Shannon and LeLyn Lustila at Lustila’s Alternative Senior Living in Hibbing for their
exceptional care and for welcoming Lillian into their home, along with Tina Cohen; Hannah Schauer and
the team at Fairview Range Hospice for the care Lillian received over the past several months.
A private family service was held at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis with interment at Fort
Snelling National Cemetery.

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