She started playing the piano at home at age six. By the time she was in high school, she was playing piano for her home congregation, Salem Church, rural Paynesville.
She married Milton Liestman and they moved away for a few years. Soon after they returned in 1948, representatives from Grace United Methodist Church came to the Liestman residence. "They asked me to play piano for the choir," explained Myrtle, "and then after that they needed an organist."
To help Myrtle learn the organ, her former piano teacher came up from the Twin Cities for several weekends to offer advice.
In those days, Myrtle would play for the regular Sunday service, for the Sunday evening service, and for special services like funerals and weddings.
"There was nobody else, I guess," explained Myrtle.
In addition, Myrtle plays for services at the Good Samaritan Care Center and at the Koronis Manor as needed. She also volunteers to help with bingo at both places.
She also belongs to the local Rebekah Lodge, and has been their musician for many years. A number of times, she served as the musician for the Rebekah Assembly of Minnesota.
"That's like any other," explained Myrtle, now 83. "They don't have musicians, you see."
When Darleen Glenz joined Myrtle as the organist at Grace United Methodist, they split the duties. Now Darleen is the regular organist and Myrtle plays occasionally. Normally she plays about once a month now.
"Music has been my life," said Myrtle, "and that's where I've spent my extra time."
"I enjoy playing," she added.
For her volunteer work, Myrtle was recently given the Good Samaritan Award by the Good Samaritan Care Center.
Bob Lounsbury was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year by the Good Samaritan Care Center. He helps with woodcraft projects, with transportation, with bingo, and other activities as they arise.
Before selling their farm, Bob received a band saw for Christmas that got him started in his woodworking hobby. Since then, he has made four cedar chests for his granddaughters' graduations.
Other of his hobbies are gardening, yard care, and helping around the house. He also volunteers once a month for the Fare For All program and is active at Nordland Lutheran Church. He serves as head usher and on the Intern Committee.
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