Funeral services for Ellen Mischke of Morris will be held Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 11 a.m. at Kongsvinger Lutheran Church, rural Donnelly. Reverend Judy Gelinske will be officiating. Visitation will be held Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:30 at the Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris and for one hour prior to services at the church on Saturday. Burial will be at the church cemetery.
Ellen Gelina Maria Larsen was born June 29, 1909, to Lars and Gina (Medhus) Larsen, on her father's homestead in rural Clearwater County near Bagley. She was baptized into the Christian faith at St. Petri Lutheran Church in rural Bagley. At a young age, her family moved to her grandfather, Eric Medhus' farm in Cottonwood County near Westbrook. She attended elementary school at rural District 68 and graduated with honor from Westbrook High School. Her father enrolled her in the Minneapolis Business College, where she completed secretarial and bookkeeping courses. Upon graduation, she worked for Sears Roebuck Company in Minneapolis. After a year or so, she returned to Westbrook to work in several grocery and mercantile stores.
In 1933 she met Alvin "Hap" Mischke at the Comnick barn dance. He called her "kid" and asked her to dance. They were married on Feb. 22, 1938 at St. Olaf Church, Ann Township, Cottonwood County, by Rev. O. J. Govig. Reverend Govig was Ellen's confirmation pastor at St. Olaf, 15 years earlier. She and her sister, Orina, earned $10 each from their grandfather, Eric Medhus, for taking their confirmation instruction in Norwegian, the last in St Olaf congregation to do so.
Ellen and Alvin had three children, Gary Allen, Algene Avis and Ronald Lee. Except for a brief interlude when they lived in the village of Westbrook, they farmed in rural Westbrook while raising their children. When they moved to Westbrook in 1966, Ellen and Alvin worked at Schmidt Memorial Hospital. Ellen worked in the hospital laundry until she retired at age 85. In 1995, Ellen and Alvin moved to Morris, to be near their daughter, Algene. Ellen lived at the West Central Lutheran Homes in Morris until 2006. She entered West Wind Village in Morris in 2006, where she lived until her death, Feb. 24, 2009. She reached the age of 99 years, 7 months and 26 days.
Ellen was an active member of St. Olaf Lutheran Church; Immanuel Lutheran Church of Rosehill Township; Grace Lutheran Church, Westbrook; and Kongsvinger Lutheran Church, Donnelly. She taught pre-school Sunday school for many years, was active in ALCW, and worked many years as a church quilter. She and Alvin served as 4-H club leaders in Westbrook and Rosehill Townships in Cottonwood County.
Ellen enjoyed her time in her garden and her kitchen. She kept her hands busy with needlework, knitting and quilting, and her mind busy with puzzles and daily study of the Scriptures. Ellen wrote poetry and stories about her life, but she wrote for herself and seldom shared her writings until very late in her life. Ellen was proud of her Norwegian heritage. She collected mementos from Norway and maintained a genealogy of her Norwegian ancestors.
Ellen is survived by her son, Gary (Shirley) Mischke, Larkspur, Colo.; her daughter, Algene (Donald) Larson, Donnelly and her son, Ronald (Connie) Mischke, Omaha, Neb.; her seven grandchildren, Angela Taulman, Kristine Larson, Joel Mischke, Steven Larson, Jennifer Mischke, MaryBeth Mischke, and Elke Mischke; six great-grandchildren, Ronald, Anne, Roger, Madelynn, Daniel, and Dustin; and step great-granddaughters, Ashley and Hannah. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law, Natalie Larsen, Farmington, and Marlys Mischke, Sherburn; her brother-in-law, Ralph Meyer, Windom, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Alvin (1995); her parents Lars and Gina; her sisters Ellen, Orina, Myrtle, and Olava; her brother, Erick; and her great-grandson, Benjamin.
Active and honorary casket bearers are Ellen's grandchildren and their significant others: Angela Taulman, Clay Taulman, Kristine Larson, Joel Mischke, Erica Mischke, Steven Larson, Audrey McNally, Jennifer Mischke, MaryBeth Mischke, Jef McKenzie and Elke Mischke. Rita Lambert will serve as organist for the service, with Ken Hodgson serving as soloist. Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris is in charge of the arrangements.