Allen Sem

Allen H. Sem, 86, of Williston, most recently of Minot, died Friday morning, Feb. 15, 2013, at a foster care facility in Minot. His funeral services will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at the Cornerstone FBC in Williston, with the Rev. Sheldon Sorenson officiating. Interment will follow the service at Riverview Cemetery in Williston. Friends are encouraged to share memories of Allen and condolences with the family online at (

Allen Howard Sem was born Nov. 19, 1926, in Powers Lake, N.D., to William and Ruth Sem. He was the oldest of four children. He was raised on the family farm south of Powers Lake and attended rural schools and graduated from Powers Lake High School in 1945.

In 1952 Allen attended a Great Northern Railroad school in Seattle, Wash. He worked for Great Northern Railroad in several North Dakota towns and cities as a depot agent.

It was while working as an agent in Zahl, N.D., that he met his wife, Berdena Melby. On May 1, 1955, they married and were later blessed with four children. His career carried him through Burlington Northern Railroad and Amtrak. He retired in Williston after 36 years of service.

Allen enjoyed woodworking as a hobby and had even built a shop where he would spend many hours during his retirement. He enjoyed time with his grandchildren, especially during their summer visits. He was a member of the Cornerstone FBC in Williston. He and Berdena were very active members in various ministries. They spent 25 years of retirement in Williston before moving to Minot in 2010 for health reasons.

Allen is survived by: his wife, Berdena Sem, of Minot; children, Keith (Marla) Sem, Shirley (Leo) Holt, Sharon (Bruce) Ruppert, all of Minot, and Les (Karla) Sem, of Madelia, Minn.; grandchildren, Jason (Jessica) Sem, Melissa Brown, Lucas Ruppert, Derek Holt, Kara (Rob) Kjelshus, Steven Sem, Shaila (Tyler) Harris, and Natalie (Erik) Martinson; five great-grandchildren; brother, Harlis Sem, of Powers Lake; sister, Caroline Hermanson, of Vancouver, Wash.; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Phalen Sem; brothers-in-law, Byeloth Hermanson and Harvey Melby; and sisters-in-law, Dagne Sem and Darlyne Sem.

Memorials: The family is encouraging memorials to Cornerstone FBC building fund, 1320 19th Avenue West, Williston, ND 58801, or to the Trinity Hospice Program, 1015 South Broadway, Suite 306, Minot, ND 58701.

Friends may call at the Fulkerson Funeral Home in Williston today, Feb. 19, from noon until 5 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., and Wednesday, one hour before services, at the church.