Jeanette Kjorstad, 91, of Williston, died Wednesday, June 25, 2014, at the Bethel Lutheran Home in Williston.
Our mother, Jeanette Durham Kjorstad, was born in Springbrook on April 14, 1923, to Oscar and Elsie Petty Durham.
It’s easy and right and respectful to capture Jeanette’s life as that of a mother of eight, grandmother and great-grandmother to 55 (yes 55!) happy children, a loving and supportive wife to a good man, and a true friend to the church and so many within the community. These are all good things, the kind of things one can look back on and feel that they have lived a true, worshipful, fulfilling and impactful life.
But there is so much more to Jeanette’s life that should be recalled, experiences that highlight a spirit to be celebrated by those who knew and loved her. As a young girl, Jeanette started school in Pherrin Township in 1929 walking with her brother, Bud, a mile to the Pleasant View School, a classic one-room schoolhouse for eight grades. She became a bit of an amateur photographer, following after her sister Dorothy and using a box camera given to her at her high school graduation. Years later, she became the rare young woman in her time pursuing post high school education, attending Minot State in 1941 under the National Youth Administration program established under the New Deal. Jeanette as a young woman also had an adventurous spirit, traveling to Washington State in 1943, working in Bremerton and eventually the shipyards in Vancouver.
Even an adventurous spirit longs for home, and Jeanette returned to Williston, taking a job in the Farmers Union Creamery. She met Lynn Kjorstad, the brother of her friend Nina, and after a short courtship she and Lynn were married in Seattle on Dec. 31, 1946. They raised a family of seven girls and one boy.
Over a 60-year marriage, her husband, Lynn, provided the unconditional laugh, the smile and hug you knew you’d get, maybe even if you knew you didn’t deserve it. What Jeanette provided could be even more profound something you had to earn and that can best be described as that smile, a smile she would give you acknowledging that in some way you had truly shown yourself as honest, understanding and compassionate.
Our Mom was known for her baking and creative cooking skills. Her specialties were homemade angel food cakes and sour cream cookies. She partnered with Lynn in making lefse and doughnuts, which her grandchildren remember with great fondness. She so enjoyed God’s creations in searching for crocuses, Juneberries and chokecherries, allowing her to can fruit, fruit butter and jellies. She was even known among family for her homemade natural remedies involving all things natural including onions, potatoes, orange juice and other ingredients.
One of Jeanette’s most enduring legacies can be seen in each and every one of her children a sincere desire to engage people she met in conversation not just pleasantries, but a true desire to establish a connection. There are thousands of people, all over the world, who have been charmed and heartened by the honest friendliness of the simple conversation inspired by Jeanette, and continued to this day through her children.
We will miss our mom, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. The calm and confidence, the consistent guidance she would provide, the home she would make they all live on in her family, but will never shine as bright with her passing.
Jeanette is survived by: her eight children, Susan (Glenn) Jorgenson, Kathy (Art) Smith, Lynn (Eileen) Kjorstad, Jean (Bill) Sheldon, Gay (Bruce) Seelig, Lois (Loran) Rixen, Barbara (Russel) Johnson, and Peggy (John) Kaatz, along with her 26 grandchildren, and 29 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by: her husband, Lynn; her parents; and siblings, Gerald Durham and Dorothy Durham.
The family wishes to thank the wonderful and caring staff of Bethel Home.
Funeral services will be held: Monday, June 30, at 11 a.m. at Faith United Methodist Church in Williston. Pastor Mark Britton will officiate.
Burial will follow at: Riverview Cemetery in Williston.
A family service, open to the public: will be held Sunday, June 29, at 7 p.m. at Bethel Lutheran Home in Williston with Pastor Betty Czubay officiating.
Friends may call: at the Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home on Sunday, from 3 to 7 p.m., and Monday an hour prior to services at the church.
Fulkerson Funeral Home of Williston is assisting the family with arrangements. Friends may sign the on-line register book and give their condolences at (www.fulkersons.com).