Documents Page # 8


Carl Fredrickson

Carl Fredrickson, 87, Concordia, died Thursday, Oct.22, 1992, at the St. Joseph Hospital in Concordia. Mr. Fredrickson was born May 14, 1906, at Concordia and was a lifelong resident of the area. He was a farmer and a member of the Concordia Baptist Church.

Survivors include his wife, Alma of the home; a daughter, Linda Morgan of Pacific Palisades, Calif.; two sons, Terry of Stillwater, Minn., and Jan R. of Quinter; a brother, Lane of Carson City, Nev. two sisters, Beatrice Butler of Glasco and Marie Donahoo of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Monday at the Baptist Church, Concordia, the Rev. James Autrey officiating. Burial will be in Pleasant Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the church. Visitation will be after 2 p.m. Sunday at the Chaput-Buoy Funeral Chapel, 325 W. Sixth, Concordia, Kansas, 66901.


Alma Fredrickson

Alma Fredrickson, 89, Concordia, died Saturday, Dec. 9, 2000, at Via Christi Regional Medical Center, Wichita. Mrs. Fredrickson was born Alma Buer on March 8, 1911, in Jamestown and was a lifetime resident of Republic and Cloud counties.

She was a homemaker and a member of the Baptist Church of Concordia and American Baptist Women. She was a former member of First Baptist Church of Belleville and served at both churches as a Sunday school teacher and superintendent and deaconess. She was also a 4-H leader and an Avon representative for several years. Her husband, Carl died in 1992.

Survivors include two sons, Terry of Stillwater, Minn., and Jan of Quinter; a daughter, Linda Morgan of Pacific Palisades, Calif.; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Baptist Church, Concordia, the Revs. James McVicar and Warren D. Freeborn Jr., officiating. Burial win be in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Concordia.

Memorials may be made to the church. Visitation win be after 1:00 p.m. Wednesday at Chaput-Buoy Funeral Chapel, 325 W Sixth, Concordia 66901, where the family win receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.


Tribute to Carl Fredrickson

Thank you all for coming today to help us celebrate Dad and his life. Join with us as we cry a little, laugh some, and give thanks for his release. His last harvest is in and God's farmer has gone home.

By the world's measure, Dad was a limited success. He was never prominent nor influential. Having watched his own Father lose a sizeable fortune, the aversion he felt to risk would preclude great business success. He provided for his family and paid his debts, but he would never own any of the acres he farmed.

If he is measured on a higher and more enduring standard, however, the results are very different. If, as he came to believe, that higher and better measure is what a man loves and how he loves it, we can only marvel at his success.

Dad was a profoundly emotional man and he loved extravagantly what he loved. The principal objects of his affection were his God, his wife and family, his independence, and the truth. He was a world-class tease and he loved laughter, his own and that of others. The list would be incomplete were it not to include eating and food, especially deserts -most particularly pie -and, without question, his all-time favorite pie, gooseberry.

Dad loved farming and, in particular, the work of farming. He was genuinely thankful for the work before him each morning. As we were growing up, Jan and I believed he was even more thankful for the work he could put before us each morning. That was not really true, but he did believe that one of his prime duties was to teach us an understanding of the satisfaction and fulfillment that work provided him.

It would never have occurred to Dad to refer to farming as his "calling." That would have been much too pretentious. Nonetheless, that is what it was and he said it other ways: "I'm just a farmer" and "Farming is the only thing I've ever known." Perhaps even beyond HIS full understanding, however, farming took on dimensions different and apart from a mere business or occupation. It was more important to him that he could regard himself as a "good" farmer than as a "successful" one. In his heart, straight rows and fields free from weeds were more important than bushels or dollars per acre.

He endowed the term "perfectionist' with rich new meaning. His world's record for "the most time spent adjusting a two-row weeder" will never be broken. And, to him, "no-till farming" was NOT an improved or advanced cultural practice. It was an excuse for shortcuts and an open invitation to weeds -mortal sins to any right-thinking farmer.

Our country school teacher for Jan's first three grades was from the old school -even for that time. She considered the installation of proper values in her pupils to be a central educational responsibility. Her principal technique was to quote -frequently -small aphorisms calculated to drive home her intended points. Her two favorites were: "Whatever is worth doing is worth doing well" and "Perfect practice makes perfect."

I am quite sure Miss Hill went to her reward with little realization of how totally unnecessary those mini-sermons were for any of Carl Fredrickson's children. Despite all efforts to control it, the instinct to do things "just so" constantly reasserts itself. It has, in turn, been visited upon his grandchildren, and, we trust, the parents of his great-grandchildren will also remember how important straight rows are -even those none of the neighbors can see from the road.

These last years were hard and cruel, in many respects. Dad's beloved work, his physical independence, his home with Mother, and, finally, much of his mental clarity were progressively taken. But there were triumphant aspects, as well. His fierce determination to recover what he had lost never faltered, and his sense of humor survived intact.

Even beyond that, however, this trial brought him a fuller realization of the success of his life than he had ever previously had. He came during this time to define himself by what he loved and how he loved it.

It is especially appropriate that this be the place of this service. He was born into and lived virtually his entire life in the circle of this fellowship. This church had a truly mystic significance to him. I would be remiss, indeed, were I to fail to express the deep appreciation of our entire family to all of you who have been such comfort and help to Mother and Dad. God bless you.

The scriptures give us much reason for anticipation and much reassurance about Heaven, but they are notably short on specifics. That is particularly true with regard to what it is those who go there actually do after they arrive. For my own part, I choose to believe that the faithful are allowed to determine how they will render eternal praise. Dad would not choose to play a harp, however golden, or sing in a choir, however grand, given the opportunity to offer equal praise and adoration farming heavenly fields.

In my mind's eye, I see him planting, cultivating, and harvesting the most bountiful crops In the straightest rows on the richest land where there are no insects nor weeds, no drought nor hail, no fatigue nor prices. God's farmer is truly home and at peace.


Tribute to Alma Fredrickson

Thank you for joining us here today and helping us to honor the memory of our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother and celebrate her release to go where she has long wanted to go. Some funerals are, and should be, focused on sadness, grief, and loss. Others should be celebrations, and this is one of those. I hope we can help you understand why we feel as we do. 

Eight years ago this past October, I stood in this place to speak of our father and grandfather in behalf of all of us as we gathered to mourn his passing and celebrate his spirit. I did not believe that could ever be an easy thing for anyone, and it was not for me, save one part. The words I felt I must say on that day came as if provided by a higher power. I had not reread them until last week, and I would not change them now if that were possible. Those words describe, as well as words could capture, the essence of the man we knew and loved and called Dad. 

Preparing what I should say here today has been a far more difficult challenge. I have scant confidence these words will do Mother the same justice. Perhaps it is simply the fact that she was our Mother that makes an adequate characterization so difficult, but I do not think so. She was as complicated and private as Dad was straightforward and open. He was transparent; she was opaque. She was the most Norwegian of Norwegians; and he was the most Swedish of Swedes. All that being said, let me share a little of her with you as best I can.

Mother was born almost ninety years ago to a very poor Norwegian emigrant farm couple, the eighth of a family of nine. She was baptized in St. Lukeís Church a few miles west of Jamestown and christened Alma Hildred Buer. She was confirmed in Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Norway, Kansas. I should say in passing that I could mention her middle name, Hildred, only because she is no longer is position to object. If she were, she most surely would, probably by refusing to attend here today.

She graduated from Norway High School one of a class of five in 1930. Mathematics and science courses were not her favorites. Latin and English were, and she loved language and reading. Mother played basketball and tennis in high school and admitted to being "fairly good". I have always assumed that much of an admission from her meant that, in fact, she was "quite good".

Following graduation from high school, she began nurses training at the Baptist Hospital in Concordia. She was three weeks away from graduation as a registered nurse when illness prevented her from completing the course work. By this time, she and Dad were engaged to be married, and he did not want her to be a "working wife". No Fredrickson had ever been supported by a working wife, and he had no intention of being the first! She acquiesced and never completed the training or returned to professional nursing.

They were married in March of 1935 on a day following one of the worst of the Dust Storms. Their first home was an elderly four room frame house on eighty rented acres southwest of Concordia. There was, of course, no electricity or running water, and the horsepower required to farm the land was provided by two teams of mules. Poor was an entirely inadequate term, and that status changed but little the rest of their lives.

They moved to a farm east of Concordia in 1938 and again to a farm at Belleville in 1946. They returned to a farm west of Concordia in 1956 and retired to live in Concordia in 1971. In that span of years, they had three children. I was born in 1938, Jan in 1940, and Linda many, many years later. I am sworn not to say exactly how many. She is also survived by my wife, April; Janís wife, Maxine; and Lindaís husband, John; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

For Mother, those years were spent in an unending cycle of Sunday School teaching, 4-H leadership, and Mission Society activities to supplement her day job as farm wife and mother. There were a few health challenges thrown in for good measure, but that brief outline of her life will not strike anyone as the raw material for a movie biography or a television special. She, being an even unusually private Norwegian, would say "Hurray" to that. That brief outline, however, says literally nothing of what she was for us.

First, her life was based on a set of values about which no compromise was possible. Truth and honesty are absolute, indivisible, and essential to everything of value in life. Kindness and respect for others are the distinguishing hallmarks of the truly superior person. The potential for rationality and self-control are the greatest gifts we have received. One does oneís best under any and all circumstances. Whining and complaining, regardless of justification, offend every ear that hears, including particularly Godís.

She fully understood that these were heavy duty, leak-proof standards for living life in the real world. She also knew intuitively that her children would be diligently probing for any possible loopholes, shortcuts, or even occasional soft spots. And try we did! But Mother had splendid control of the awesome powers put at the disposal of mothers. She knew that a word or smile of approval or a frown of disappointment from her had far more force than any lecture or sermon.

The second of the special qualities that defined her for us was her religious faith. As I indicated earlier, she was reared in the Lutheran tradition. She became a member of this church at the time of her marriage and remained so except for the ten years spent in the First Baptist Church in Belleville. She was constantly involved in the work of the Church in wide variety of ways. She had a truly remarkable knowledge of the Scriptures and attempting to stump her with questions about them was a favorite indoor sport. We rarely succeeded.

Her knowledge of the Scriptures and their interpretation was, indeed, prodigious, but it was her faith we remember best. It was absolute, unshakeable, and fairly gleamed through the considerable reserve she maintained. One could not know her very long without being aware that she was a Christian and that her relationship with her Savior was central to her life. Of all she was and represented to us, nothing can quite approach the centrality and the serenity of her life of faith.

Any attempt to think of Mother without thinking of her and Dad would be incomplete, for each of them was simply incomplete without the other. They were very different people, but they were integrated more totally in a union than any married couple I have ever known. They knew, accepted, trusted, loved, and depended on each other without reservation.

They quite literally made marriage appear to be an easy and natural act. As we grew to adulthood and married ourselves, we came to understand that marriage is neither easy nor natural. It is very challenging work. More importantly, we also began to understand that it could not have been nearly as easy for them as they made it appear. They were both very human people with strong wills and healthy tempers. Both of them were also capable of extraordinary obstinance, although Dad rightly believed he was outclassed in this regard. They simply loved each other so extravagantly all their lives together that nothing could prevail against it.

April and I once came to see them at their home here in town on a summer evening. The windows were open and, as we came up the walk, we could hear them talking and laughing together. In the truest sense, joy radiated out into the night. April stopped and whispered in the wonderment we both felt at that moment, "Have we ever come to their door when there was not talk and laughter inside?" ,

Our grandmother Buer died at 82 when I was thirteen. It was the first funeral I had ever attended, and I watched everything and everybody with the utmost concentration. I was, of course, particularly focused on Motherís reactions. By this time, I knew that Mother maintained a rigid control of her emotions. Even so, I was amazed that she did not shed a single tear. She sat through the entirety of her motherís funeral service with a slight, sad smile frozen on her face.

Now this funeral service for a dour, old Norwegian woman took place in Our Saviours Lutheran church in Norway, Kansas. The vast preponderance of those in attendance were Scandinavian people. One needs no additional facts nor be a fan of "A Prairie Home Companion" to understand that in this setting even a modest display of natural and healthy grief would have been noteworthy. Nonetheless, Motherís seeming lack of humanity itself was deeply unsettling to me.

I wanted very badly to know the explanation, but something (probably genetics) prevented me from asking her. I asked Dad instead. His response was first a smile, and then he said, "I think you should ask your Mother. She will want you to know."

Armed with this encouragement, I asked if she would tell me why she did not cry that afternoon. Her response was characteristically simple and direct. She said, "I knew how much she wanted and needed to go. It hurts, but, if I had cried, it would have been just for myself."

That conversation took place almost fifty years ago, but I have never forgotten it. I am not sure that I yet understand all she taught about faith and unselfishness that evening, but I know that if she could speak to us now, she would say, "Do not grieve and weep for me. You know I had long been ready to go and waited impatiently for the call." And then with the angels at the Tomb, "Do not look for the living among the dead."

Her life was played out on a very small and obscure stage. It never sought nor attracted any bright lights. Yet I believe there may be few more sturdy reproofs to those who believe that human existence is futile or that the successful life is a delusion. In her deeply private way, she lived a meaningful, successful, and joyful life. We, who are her beneficiaries, can only aspire to do as well.

Let me end with a brief farewell to her from all of us:

Go now, Gentle Spirit;
We can ask no more of you.
You have given more than we;
Could ever wish or fully understand.

Go now, Gentle Spirit;
This is your home no more.
Take his hand and laugh as always before;
Make what was broken whole again.

Go now, Gentle Spirit.
Weíll hear the laughter and feel the love.
And know that all Creation is in place again.
Go now, Gentle Spirit, and Godspeed.

Thank you.