Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Erick Julius Strand (12/15/1904--10/18/1984)
Fern Leona Penn Strand (9/1/1911--1/15/01)
Married 2/28/1931
Julius and Fern lived on a farm close to Svea, Minnesota. This was the same farm where Louis and Tilda Strand had lived and raised their six children. In 1967, Julius sold his small farm for $144 an acre. Their son David had a church in Edmonds, Washington and Julius and Fern really wanted to be near their two granddaughters. This was a time where small farmers were having a hard time since they did not have the money to invest in the large farm equipment that was used by those farmers who had hundreds of acres of farmland. This was a gutsy move for a man who was 62 years old and had always lived in one place. They bought a mobile home in Everett Washington and Julius worked as a custodian for the Edmonds School District in Edmonds, Washington. From there they moved to Portland Oregon where they were custodians for a church. Finally, they moved to Denver, Colorado, where they lived until they passed away.
Living on the farm had its difficulties. Winter weather in Minnesota was always a challenge and even more so one winter when their adopted daughter got a very serious ear infection and became delirious. They had to call upon Wally Johnson to bring down his tractor and plow the driveway so they could get out taking Susan to the hospital. Numerous times Julius would be out on the tractor working in the fields when he would spot a funnel cloud, come home, and get everyone in the cellar. Julius knew how devastating the tornado could be as he had seen his chicken house picked up and set on top of his garage. He had also seen a piece of straw driven into the telephone pole. Julius did not always have cattle on the farm but when he did, they presented challenges too. It always seem that whenever there was an important function to attend, the cows would get out and Julius had get them all back in the barn before the family could leave. Then there was the mad bull that stepped on Julius’s foot and did a number on his toenail. Julius was a farmer but not on Sundays. He was very active with the Blomkest Baptist Church holding numerous rolls such as a Deacon, or Sunday school teacher for the adult class. For a person who never went beyond 6th grade, he was an extremely bright and intelligent man.
Julius and Fern were never afraid of hard work. Throughout their years on the farms, they always picked up extra jobs as they could find them, as income from farming was never guaranteed. They were married in 1931 and knew full well the effects of the Great Depression. They were hoping to have a large family to help on the farm but that was not meant to be. Story is that Fern lost five babies at childbirth. Their son David was born in the middle and in 1949, they adopted a little girl from the Children’s Home Society in Minneapolis Minnesota. Julius worked on and on for Fred Norling building soybean bins on farms around the state. Most of the time, he would only be gone for a day but there were occasional overnight trips. Fern also worked very hard. Several of the jobs she had off the farms included, working at a nursing home, cleaning office buildings and working in a turkey plant. Oh did Fern ever love to cook and Sunday was her special day. She would stick that roast in the oven before the family headed off to church and if there were visitors in church that day, Fern would invite them to the house for a meal.
Julius was very close to his daughter. Dying of stomach cancer, he and Fern got on a plane and flew to Seattle from Denver to see his “little girl” one more time. That would be the last time they ever spent together as he died within the following month. Since Julius did not believe in cremation, his body was air shipped from Denver back to Minnesota for burial at the Evergreen Cemetery outside of Blomkest. Fern passed away in January of 2001 from complications following hospitalized for Alzheimer’s Disease.

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