A wise, generous and forward-thinking soul with the confidence and determination to make a comfortable and successful life, Bernelda Charlotte Greden has left a remarkable impression on the lives of her family and friends. She was a loving wife, a caring mother, and a cherished grandmother and friend to so many. We are so sad to say goodbye to such a good spirit.
The year was 1926, and the decade was still very much in full swing with the notable title, "The Roaring Twenties." Life was good, and there was plenty of work for the country. Henry Ford announced the 40 hour work week for The Ford Motor Company's factory workers. And with so many cars in production, it was imperative that the year also completed the famous Route 66 - taking travelers from Chicago, Illinois all the way out west to Los Angeles, California by automobile! The weather was also quite active during this particular year in history. President Calvin Coolidge faced helping his country rebuild after storms of disastrous proportions. As if the Great Miami Hurricane with its category 4 destruction was not enough, the country experienced 27 tornadoes in one season. Thank goodness for the creation of Winnie the Pooh as a comfort to so many children during these and other storms throughout the year and for many still to come.
In this same year, with less than a month before the Christmas holiday, Edward and Lydia (Neumann) Mussell were preparing for their precious gift of life. In Winona, on December 1, 1926, their sweet baby girl was born. They named her Bernelda Charlotte, and she would be their only child. Her parents raised her in a German-speaking home, so they sent her to school at Bethany for the purpose of learning English as well. Though she was the only child, her parents were adamant that she not become spoiled; however, this did not keep her from becoming strong-willed. As a young girl, she asked her father for a horse, but her father refused to buy one for her. Instead, he said, "You can have a bike." Her reply was simple: "If I can't have a horse, I don't want a bike." And so it was, she wore roller skates as a compromise. She spent many hours skating at Gaymor in Altura where she honed in on her perfected talent of backward skating which she could do better than most could skate forward! The years in which she grew up proved to be a challenging time financially for her family and many others. Her frugality was learned early on - upon receiving a coveted stick of chewing gum, she made it last by storing it in the cupboard for enjoyment at a later time.
Once Bernelda became a young woman, she was ready to experience love. Her first date with Leonard Greden was oddly romantic even though it was spent in a dump truck Len was driving at the time. Her beautiful thick black hair entwined with Len's heart that day, and it was evident that the two were in love; however, it was not that easy. Bernelda was a Lutheran and Len was a Catholic which was considered to be quite a taboo arrangement of love during the time. The determined, happy couple stole away to Decorah, Iowa where they exchanged wedding vows on September 2, 1947.
The newlyweds faced some difficult times even after marriage in respect to their joined union amidst religious differences. Together, and fiercely in love, they endured the challenges and made it work. It helped that Bernelda was a hard-worker and steadfast in her desire to get a job done. The couple moved in with the Greden Family and helped with the family farm at Oak Ridge. This is where Bernelda spent the rest of her 90 years of life. She embraced farm life actively participating in milking the cows and doing all sorts of chores. There was never a shortage of work because the house always had hired hands living in the home creating laundry and the need for prepared meals after long days of working outside. They never had the house to themselves; the hired man bedroom slept three, and Bernelda always made sure they were in clean clothes with fueled bodies. She also took care of the farm finances and books becoming a driving force in the farm's success throughout the years.
Bernelda and Len were a strong team. They enjoyed spending their time together fishing and hunting. Len usually caught the fish, but Bernelda always cleaned them - thousands of them! Some of the best days of her life were the days she spent out on the river at Bass Camp. Another particularly memorable day was the one in which she made the local paper with her incredible hunting shot. The "One Shot Annie" buck is still on the wall. It was said that she landed on the seat of her pants in the field because of the shotgun coil.
Eventually, Bernelda and Len were ready to experience another exciting time in their lives - parenthood. Together they celebrated the birth of two children, Judy and Larry. They also joyfully welcomed Patricia into their family as a young child. The three children made their family complete; in fact, medical issues kept them from having more children despite their potential desire to expand the love in their family.
Bernelda was the most caring and compassionate mother for which a child could ask. She would spend hours tutoring her children for various school assignments or extracurriculars. She would readily have warm breakfasts ready at sunrise if the day required it. Her cooking abilities were unforgettable, and she was capable of feeding a threshing crew with the best of them! She never spoiled her children, but she lovingly showed them the value of hard work. It was not unusual for her children to help milk the cows when they were old enough to handle the responsibility.
When Bernelda was not tending to her family, her home, or the farm, she always found something to do. For a time, she worked as a bookkeeper at the Altura Creamery. She loved tending to her garden and found solace spiritually while doing so. She also satisfied her spiritual side as a member of the Jehovah Evangelical Lutheran Church in Altura. Bernelda also religiously kept a personal journal which she leaves behind as a personal history of her life for her loved ones. During times of solitude or relaxation, she would cheer on her beloved Twins team for she was an avid fan. She also enjoyed watching "Everybody Loves Raymond" for a few chuckles.
Amidst all the living Bernelda enjoyed, her greatest pride was found in her family. She wrote an introduction for Larry's book which stated, "Our family is a circle of strength and Love. With every birth and union, the circle grows. Every joy shared, adds more Love. Every crisis faced together makes the circle STRONGER." Bernelda was a woman who embraced confidence in her opinions, and she was never one to shy away from sharing them.
As life continued its perpetual forward motion, Bernelda was forced to say goodbye to her beloved husband. Leonard passed away in 1993, and with the support and love of her family, Bernelda was able to find the goodness in life once again. One of the brightest spots in her late adult life was the blessing of 8 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. She joyfully celebrated each and every one of them, and they all created a place of sparkle in her heart. She loved being a grandmother and embraced the honor.
Bernelda's 90 years of life with us has come to a closure. On Monday, May 15th, Bernelda Charlotte Greden went home to heaven in the arms of her Savior. She leaves behind an amazing family legacy which we will never forget. We will look to one another for comfort as we share all the memories she helped us create, and we will miss her dearly.
Survivors include her three children, Judy (Steve) Ellinghuysen and Larry (Nancy) Greden both of Altura and Patricia Zeller of Wanamingo; grandchildren, Karie (Peter) Svien, Brent (Polly) Greden, Ross (Victoria) Greden, Cami (Keith) McElmury, Scott (Sue) Ellinghuysen, Jill (Mike) Kobler, John (Jeanna) Ellinghuysen and Sarah Ellinghuysen; great-grandchildren, Gracie & Shelby Svien, Luke (Molly) Greden, Adam (Sidney) Greden, Cole Greden, Ethan, Josephine, Lydia and Megan Greden, Calli & Dawson Brouwer, Alyssa, Alexa and Samantha Ellinghuysen, Evan, Ellie, Addy Kobler, Collin, Mason, Katie and Clayton Ellinghuysen.
Funeral Services will be 11 a.m. Thursday at Jehovah Evangelical Lutheran Church in Altura with the Reverends Michael A. Lindemann and Paul Kuckhahn officiating. Burial will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery at Oak Ridge. Friends may call at the church from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday and on hour before services Thursday.
Please share a memory of Bernelda online and view her video tribute when it becomes available at www.hofffuneral.com. Hoff Funeral Service of Lewiston is assisting the family with arrangements. Pallbearers are; Scott and Collin Ellinghuysen, Ross, Adam, Cole, Luke and Ethan Greden.
Memorials are preferred to St. John's and Silo Lutheran Schools in Lewiston.
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