Ragna Christine Ellingson
Born: April 09, 1920 in Milton, North Dakota, USA
Died: July 15, 2014 in Palm Desert, California, USA
Ragna Ellingson, age 94, of Los Angeles and Palm Springs, CA passed away July 15th in Palm Springs. Ragna, a long time Fargo resident, had made her home in Southern California the last 5 years.
Ragna Christine Haslekaas was born April 9th, 1920 on the family farm near Milton, ND. She was the oldest child of Hans and Annie Haslekaas, both immigrants from Telemark, Norway. Ragna grew up speaking only Norwegian at home and prior to starting school learned English from the hired man who could not speak Norwegian. She attended boarding high school in Park River and graduated from Mayville State Teachers College. Upon graduation she taught typing at Park River High School and later worked as a secretary for the County Agent in Moorhead.
A lifelong close connection with Norway was formed when Ragna was 10. Her mother died unexpectedly and Ragna’s older cousin, Ragnhild Lokka, traveled from Norway to assist Hans with his young family for a few years. Ragna became very close to Ragnhild and as soon as travel was feasible after WWII, at the age of 28, Ragna sailed the Queen Mary to tour Europe and visit Ragnild. She spent a year living in Norway, traveling throughout the country getting to know all of her relatives very well. It was the first of many enjoyable trips to Norway for Ragna.
Ragna married Curtis Ellingson in 1952 in Fargo. They spent their first year together in Los Angeles but returned to Fargo to raise their family in 1953. Curtis was employed by St Lukes Hospital as the in-house cabinet maker and carpenter. Ragna was a wonderful Mother and homemaker and kept active with membership at Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Fargo, The Daughters of the Pioneers and Sons of Norway Kringen Club. Ragna was the proud recipient of the Pillar Guri award from the Sons of Norway Kringen lodge for outstanding and dedicated service to the club. She was also busy as a Camp Fire Girls leader, Church Circle and Quilting group member, Election Poll Judge and a volunteer with Seniors Meals on Wheels. Ragna and Curt, along with their children, enjoyed traveling to visit friends and family and looked forward to summer weekends at their hobby farm on Lake LaBelle, near Lake Park, MN.
Ragna is survived by her 4 children – LaRae Ellingson (Jim) Hovland, Edina, MN; Gladys (Roger) Durensky, Barnesville, MN; Edward Ellingson (Larry Redmond), Minneapolis, MN and Ruth Ellingson (Paul) Mosser of Los Angeles, CA: her two sisters Agnes Haslekaas, Los Angeles, CA and LaJune (Jimmy) dePortales, Villa Park, CA and sister-in-law Britt Haslekaas, Grand Forks, ND. She is also survived by 4 grandchildren Angie (Rusty) Freeman, Edina, MN , Erika (Paul) Bachelor, Sioux Falls, SD, Christopher (Lisa) Durensky, Fargo; David Durensky of Moorhead, MN and 9 great-grandchildren. She was preceeded in death by her husband Curtis and her brother Harlan.
While Ragna loved North Dakota the winters became just too rough for her, so 5 years ago she moved to Los Angeles to live with her daughter Ruth, son-in-law Paul and Ragna’s new loyal companion - their poodle Lucy. She loved her life in California but always considered herself a “North Dakotan”. Ragna celebrated her 94th birthday in Palm Springs with family and friends last April and was most delighted with the many cards and letters she received from her dear friends and family “back home in North Dakota”.
Ragna took no greater pleasure than to “visit” with someone – whether an old friend or relative or a stranger she just met – she felt that everyone had something interesting to say if you would just ask them a few questions and then lean in and listen. Ragna’s family would like to thank all her loyal friends that over the years shared a piece of themselves with her, that gave her life such meaning.
Los Angeles friends and family celebrated Ragna's life at an Open House at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Ruth and Paul, on Saturday, July 19th. Funeral services will be held Friday, August 8th at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fargo at 1PM with a luncheon to follow. She will be buried next to her husband at Riverside Cemetary in Moorhead. Memorials preferred to Bethlehem Lutheran Church or Angel’s Heart Dog Rescue.