December 29, 1933 – February 27, 2023
It is with sadness that I share the news of the death of my double cousin, Dorothy Froyum Everson. She died peacefully in her sleep, following a month of suffering from a case of shingles that got really complicated.
Dorothy was born at home on the farm in Roscoe Township in Goodhue County, Minnesota. I call her my double cousin because she and her two siblings, Arnold and Esther were cousins on both sides. Their mother was Raghnild (Ragna), my dad’s sister, and their father, Alfred Froyum, was my maternal grandmother’s brother. Alfred, a veteran of the Great War, died from a farm accident when Dorothy was just eight. I would speculate that, for the Froyum family, the following years must have been a financial struggle, considering that Alfred’s death happened long before farmers became part of the social security system. Still, it was never evident during the many family get-togethers at their farm home, usually marked by just about everybody in the house sitting at card tables scattered from kitchen to parlor, playing cutthroat games of Rook.
Dorothy was one of the first girls I ever had a crush on, even if I was just a 6-year-old, admiring Dorothy, who was about to start high school. She was pretty, really smart, and fun to be with. She raced through her years in the one-room country school, and started high school in Wanamingo at age 12, graduating as valedictorian at age 16, and then went on to St. Olaf College, graduating in 1954, the first in our generation to go to college. She was this bright, shining star of the extended Froyum family.
During Dorothy’s college years, Ragna had moved off the farm, taking a job as a cook at the hospital in Zumbrota. When I broke an ankle in football practice, as an 8th grader, I spent several days in the hospital and Ragna made sure I was well fed. It also happened that Esther had a baby in the hospital that same week.
Dorothy and Harold Everson, the preacher’s kid at Lands Lutheran Church, rural Zumbrota, met and fell in love while still in high school. They married in 1955 at Lands, just before Harold started at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. They had almost 68 years together in their long and happy marriage.
They first came to Montana when Harold was an intern at Lutheran churches in Willsall and White Sulphur Springs. After Harold’s graduation and ordination, they came back west, to Powell, Wyoming, then Casper, Wyoming, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and, finally, Billings, Montana in 1982. Harold retired from the Lutheran ministry in 1999. Through all those years, Dorothy was likely the model pastor’s spouse. In both Casper and Sioux Falls, Dorothy was involved with re-settling refugees from Asia, in the post-Vietnam war years. She and Harold also had opportunities to travel together here and abroad.
It was a joy and pleasure to occasionally get together with Harold and Dorothy, when in Billings.
Over recent years, I have outlived all my old coffee gang, and then my men’s bridge club. I note that with Dorothy’s death, I’m the last of my generation, of the many offspring of Peter Vang, Ragna Vang, and Henry Vang, the three siblings who immigrated from Norway and established homes and families in southeastern Minnesota. There were a couple other siblings who came to America but died without children.
Pete had five children, Clifford, Lewis, Mabel, Margaret, and Pauline. Ragna had two children from her first marriage, who, along with her husband, died of disease. With Alfred, she had three, Arnold, Esther, and Dorothy. Henry had Carl, my older brother, and the last kid of the generation, yours truly, and I’ll note I was the second in that generation to go to college, also at St. Olaf College.
All those people are now gone, and, appropriately, as the youngest, I’m the last survivor.
Besides Dorothy’s husband, Harold, she’s survived by three adult children, Kristin, Michael, and Mark.
In Harold’s message he refers to Dorothy’s end of life struggle, “But now she is at peace and in spite of a profound sense of loss, so am I. Easter is coming, with its sure and certain promise of life eternal.”
He notes that at Dorothy’s funeral, the congregation sang, “God be with you ‘til we meet again.”
An addition: Here’s a link to the YouTube video of Dorothy’s Memorial service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UPxkoR3Kmo
Thank you for this wonderful tribute to Dorothy. I have very positive memories of you as a young french horn player in the Zumbrota band. Am I correct about that? And thanks for reminding us that you were a double cousin to Dorothy.
Sue and I are retired and living in a condominium just across from Luther Seminary in St. Paul Just over a year ago, we sold our home in California where we had lived for 31 years and where both Sue and I taught at California Lutheran University.
All best wishes,
Hi, Joe. Writing this tribute to Dorothy brought back happy memories of your family, especially playing in the horn section with you when I got into the high school band. You were an excellent mentor. I’m still playing in the Butte Symphony, though after 70 years of blowing into a horn, I figure I’m nearing the end of that career. Keeping up my chops keeps getting harder. And you came back to Minnesota! That’s got to be a big change after so many years in California. Hope you’re enjoying the change. And, thanks for your comments! Paul
Paul: I really enjoyed your tribute to Dorothy. It brought back memories of her and I also learned some things I didn’t know. I especially enjoyed the pictures. I always enjoy reading your Writing Outdoors. Sylvia
Sylvia, thanks for your comments. It was a privilege to write some nice things about my special cousin.