Signa C. Nelson
Signa Christina Nelson passed away peacefully at Sanford Medical Center, Fargo, ND, on Friday, February 18, 2011, with her daughter, Elaine, at her side at the age of 100 years and 4 months.
Signa was born October 19, 1910, on the family farm in Rush Lake Township, Pierce County, to Anton (Bjerkehagen) and Martha (Solberg) Johnson.She attended the Rush Lake Country School and graduated from Wolford High School in 1930.She was a graduate of Minot State Teachers College.She taught school for 40 years in schools in Benson and Pierce County.Signa loved children.Teaching was in her BLOOD.She taught in country schools and would have to fire up the stove as she would say, “Those were the days,” when you had to walk to school.She enjoyed presenting her Christmas school programs and basket socials that the country schools were special to have.
Signa married Oscar B. Nelson on June 30, 1949, at Leeds, ND.Oscar passed away January 19, 1999.Signa was raised on the family farm near Wolford, ND.She was especially fond of animals; horses, cows and even the pigs were special.The family dog was her best friend.She and the dog would go and get the cows.Signa, while on the farm, would milk 20 cows before getting ready for school.Then, of course, there were the times of cooking in the Cook-Car. Getting the meals ready, baking pies, like she said, “Those were the days.”She related the story of when her dad brought home an ornery cow that no one could get close enough to milk.She told her dad she could milk the cow.She sat and talked to the cow in a gentle voice and soon she was milking the cow to everyone’s astonishment.
She had been a member of Wolford Lutheran Church until her marriage.She then joined the Knox Lutheran Church.She was active in the Ladies Aid and teaching Sunday school.She and her husband, Oscar, gave the “GIFT” of faith to their daughter, Elaine.She was a current member of First Lutheran Church and the WELCA.In 1979, she and Oscar enjoyed living with Elaine at their apartment at Country Road.They enjoyed the special Birthday Club group.In 1992, they purchased their townhome which she really enjoyed.She enjoyed visits from former students and relatives and friends from far and near.
The last two years, she and Elaine have enjoyed their “apartment” at One Oak Place where they met new friends.She and Elaine enjoyed their many trips to and from Rugby and Fargo.She would recite poetry, talk about memories of teaching, recite Norwegian reading, never sleeping.On their last trip, they made a stop in Grand Forks to purchase new shoes.She said, “Time for a can of pop!”Precious memories, how they linger. She would also say on their travels, “Do you think I will make my 100th birthday?”She had a goal and she had two great birthday parties with several former students and relatives and friends that attended.
Signa was a “Golden Member” of 42 years of membership in Rugby Odin Sons of Norway 4-087.She held several offices and enjoyed presenting programs for youth and adult members.She formed the “Choir” for the 100th anniversary.She attended several Sons of Norway International and District Conventions.She made three trips to Norway to visit relatives.The last trip was her 90th birthday celebration.Signa was proud of her Norwegian heritage which she passed to her daughter, Elaine.Signa spoke the Norwegian language well.She did translating from Norsk to English.She, by memory, said in Norwegian a “PIECE” that she said when she was five years old. She knew that to the end of her life.
Signa was a life member of 61 years of American Legion Auxiliary.She held several offices.She was also a member of Past President Parley.She was a current member of Knox Community Cemetery Board.She served on the Benson County Social Service Board for several years.She was the last survivor of Rugby Modern Homemakers.
Signa wrote the “KNOX NEWS” for Benson County Farmers Press and Pierce County Tribune for 32 years. She retired at the age of 87.
She remembered, as a child, going with her parents to Devils Lake to see President Franklin Roosevelt.She loved to travel and YES even in airplanes.
She said she had been blessed in her life to have good health and good memory.One birthday after another and then it was the BIG ONE=100th.”Uffda,” she said.
Signa is survived by her daughter, Elaine, Rugby and Fargo, ND; niece, Gloria Shjerve, Mandan, ND; great-nephews, Rick and Greg Fox; great nieces, Janelle Johnson, Julie Fox, Tanya Lashman and Denise Allee; other relatives and friends.ALL of her former students were VERY Grand to her.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Oscar; her siblings, Minnie, Anna, John and Christ Johnson; niece, Janice Fox; nephews, Gary and Gordon Johnson; and other relatives and friends.
Memorials are preferred to Sons of Norway Foundation of Minneapolis or North Dakota Veterans Cemetery at Mandan, ND.
Funeral Service:Sunday, February 27, 2011, at 2:00 p.m., at First Lutheran Church, Rugby, ND. Rev. Mike Pretzer and Rev. Sharon Baker will officiate. Eulogists will be Jerry Sorum and Carol Juven. Music will be provided by Eldon Borgen, Arlene Johnson, Lyla Roerick, and Bonnie Johnson, prelude hymns, Nancy Bollingberg, soloist, Douglas Holt, soloist, and Eric Bollingberg, organist. Casketbearers will be Virgil Anderson, Sid Bingaman, Hartley Hageness, Douglas Holt, Loren Marchus, Larry Pieterick, Glen Rude, and Jerry Sorum. Honorary pallbearers will be John Anderson, Charlotte Bagwell, Otto Bervik, Nadine Blessner, Jeanette Boates, Mark Butz, Wilhelm Erickson, Lois Evenson, Marvin Evenson, Harlow Hageness, Barb Juven, Carol Juven, Kent Larson, Maci Larson, Joni Moen, Marilyn Nehring, William Parker, Dan Rude, Lowell Silseth, Eunice Sitter, Janis Sorum, and Colleen Swenson.
Visitation:Sunday, February 27, 2011 from 12:30-2:00 p.m., at the church in Rugby.
Burial:Wednesday, March 2 at 1:00 p.m. in the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan, ND.
Please feel free to sign the on-line guestbook at www.hansonrunsvold.com.
Arrangements by Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home, Fargo.
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