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Dolores Harlson, 86

Dolores Marie (Santo) Harlson, age 86, of Pepin, Wis., began her journey home on Sept. 24, from Pepin Manor Care Center, where she had lived since Jan. 2010.

Dolores was born on Sept. 17, 1927, in Browns Valley, Minn., to Raymond and Reine (Gilbert) Santo. She attended high school at a convent in Little Falls, Minn., but graduated from Augusta High. Her marriage to Fred S. Emert in Fairchild, Wis., in 1946, presented them with seven children over the span of their life together. While Dolores lived most of her young adult life in California, in 1969, she moved to a dairy farm in Pepin with her husband, Emery Van Zanten and three youngest children.

In July 1972, she graduated from the Red Wing School of Practical Nursing and became board certified as an LPN. During her nursing career she enjoyed working in several different areas of health care but there was none she enjoyed more than her lifework in geriatrics, especially at Pepin Manor, from where she retired and eventually became a resident. Dolores enjoyed knitting and sharing the fruits of that labor with many, especially to help with fund raisers for good causes. She remained a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls and frequently donated to the Catholic Charities.

Dolores is survived by six of her children, Tim Emert (San Francisco, Calif.), Craig (Val) Emert (Riverside, Calif.), Kirk (Darlene) Emert (Mesa, Ariz.), Kevin (Diane) Emert (Eau Claire, Wis.), Karen (Gus) Kirn (St. Bonifacius, Minn.) and Robert (Debbie) Van Zanten (Riverside, Calif.); 14 grandchildren, Kelly Burke, TJ Emert, Isreal Mealy, Eric Stein, Jason Van Zanten, Niccole Emert, Jessica Maurer, Scott and Sean Stein, Robbie Knott, Brandon and Bailey Van Zanten, and Jeff and Jason Matthyssen; several great-grandchildren; and siblings Patricia Kulpaka (Surprise, Ariz.) and Jim (Chloi) Santo (Stockton, Calif.).

Preceding Dolores in death is husband, Arland O. Harlson; son, Fred V. Emert; mother and father Reine and Raymond Santo; grandson Billy Emert; brothers Bernard, Vincent, Don, and Bob Santo; and daughter-in-law Peggy Van Zanten.

To honor her wishes, Dolores will be cremated with graveside services to follow; date yet to be determined. Her final resting place will be the Oakwood Cemetery in Pepin, Wis. next to her late husband, Arland Harlson. If you wish to make a memorial contribution in her name, please consider the Alzheimer's Association at (

Dolores' family wishes to extend a heartfelt Thank You to all of the caring staff at Pepin Manor. Their warm hearts and soft touch provided comfort and dignity during our mother's last years.