Lena Dora Wilson Lunnum
The Lord breathed the breath of life and Lena Wilson was born on March 19, 1922, at Gann Valley, Buffalo County, So. Dakota, the youngest of nine children born to her parents Charles Phillip Wilson and Anna Christina Sick Wilson who lived on their farm south of Gann Valley. Lena passed away after a short illness on September 9, 2010.
Lena received her elementary education at a nearby rural school where she excelled in spelling and speaking contests. In her family history she wrote: “I was a YCL delegate to the state capitol in one of those years and the honor and pleasure still returns as sunshine in my memory.” Lena was a graduate from Gann Valley High School. She and Brother Bill drove those six miles in a model T Ford.
In 1938, her mother Anna rented an apartment in Brookings where she served as cook and housemother for Bill and two family friends enrolled at the college and Lena who finished her last year at Brookings High School. Lena continued her education for teaching at Eastern State Teacher’s College at Madison; Western State Teacher’s College at Spearfish and later at Bellingham, WA. She did graduate work at Seattle Pacific University where she received her Masters Degree in Education and Counseling in 1970. Her father would have been extremely proud of her accomplishments in her education and teaching career.
Her friendship with Elizabeth Stolen brought major changes into her life. In 1946, she came to the beautiful Evergreen State with Elizabeth and the Stolen family. Soon Lena and Elizabeth found teaching positions. When Elizabeth married Hal Fjarlie, they introduced Lena to Hal’s cousin, Arnold Lunnum. Wedding bells rang for Lena and Arnold on June 3, 1948, at Ballard Lutheran Free Church, Seattle, WA.
In 1956, they chose to seek the adoption of a child to make their family more complete. They named their week old son, Duane. Lena wrote in her family history: “Undoubtedly that was the greatest joy ever experienced in our memory. The gift of a real live miraculously perfect baby boy!” As a family they took a memorable journey back to Norway to visit many of Arnold’s cousins. They also drove to Schleswig, to the city of Rendsburg, Germany to visit the birth place of Lena’s mother, Anna Sick
In addition to travel, she enjoyed their winter months in Arizona, and her flower garden at their condo. Lena took pride in cooking and baking Norwegian and German specialties; her baked Salmon or Halibut dinners were memorable for all who were guests at the Lunnum home! Lena loved to share her gift of writing poetry on special occasions for her family at weddings, anniversaries, memorials and other family celebrations.
The Lutheran Church family became more vital in Lena’s life when she moved to Washington. The Lord adopted her with the water and the Word in an Adult Baptism, and she continued to affirm her faith in her quiet way. She was very grateful for extended family gained over the years at Trinity Lutheran at Lynnwood for forty years, and more recently at Our Saviors Lutheran, at Stanwood. She had high regard for her pastors and enjoyed her many friends in these church families and treasured their Christian support. When Lena and Arnold were living in Lynnwood, they were influential in the formation of Edmonds Sons of Norway.
Lena had a long career in education. She had taught in elementary schools in South Dakota, in Stanwood and Lynnwood, WA. Lena concluded her career as a school counselor for Gateway Elementary Dearborn Park and Beacon Hill. She retired on June 29, 1979.
Lena is survived by her son Duane and his wife, Margaret; two sisters in law, Marie Wilson, Yakima, WA; Darlene Wilson, Hettinger, N.D; many nieces, nephews, and a host of friends and colleagues.
She was preceded in death by her husband Arnold, her parents, and five brothers: Henry, Fred, Ira, Emil, and William; three sisters: Kate, Mary and Charlotte; six nephews: John Wilson, Dean Wilson, Bob Wilson, Don Wilson, Roger Gerth, and Merrill Gunderson.
We give thanks to the Lord for the life, service and ministry of Lena during her journey with us. A Memorial Service will be held 11:00AM, October 23, 2010 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 27201 99th Ave., NW, Stanwood, WA
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Stanwood/Camano Food Bank P.O. Box 1285 Stanwood, WA 98292. Arrangements by Gilbertson’s Funeral Home, Stanwood, WA.