Elsa Randine Hjulstad, 93, of Whitefish and formerly of Box Elder, died of natural causes Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005, at Colonial Manor in Whitefish.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls. Her pastor and friend, the Rev. Rich Jesperson, will conduct the service.
She was born May 3, 1912, in Trondheim, Norway, to Minnie and Arne Nypan. At the turn of the 20th century, her father immigrated to the United States. In Minnesota, he met Minnie Olson and the two were married. In 1912, the couple returned to Norway and Elsa was born in May of that year. She used to be fond of saying that she was made in the U.S.A. and born in Norway. Elsa was baptized, confirmed and attended schools in Tronheim.
In the mid 1930s, Elsa married Fritz Dorum. That marriage produced a daughter, Kari. In 1938, Fritz died in an airplane accident. During her marriage to Fritz, Elsa developed a love for motorcycles and would frequently ride her husband's machine. In February of 1940, Elsa married Arvid Hjulstad and they had a son, Per. Sailing was Arvid's sport and Elsa became an avid participant in this sport. Following World War II, Elsa went to work for a large sporting goods business in Trondheim. She spent her free time at her father's cabin in the country, where skiing became a favorite pastime in the winters.
In 1954, Elsa and her parents traveled to the United States for a few months, visiting places in Minnesota, including where her mother had been born. She also traveled to Montana. That visit intensified her desire to return to the United States to settle as an immigrant. In 1956, Elsa, Arvid and her family immigrated to the United States to settle on a farm in Box Elder. The transition from a big city girl went well as she adjusted to her new life in a Montana wheat farm. For a couple of years, they worked for her uncle, the owner of the farm. Later, they would rent the farm until her uncle's death.
In 1962, Elsa and her husband returned to Norway for a visit and stayed for one month at the site of her birthplace in Trondheim.
In 1963, Elsa went to work for the Box Elder School District. She worked there as a cook until 1975, when she retired. Elsa won acclaim for her cooking, especially for her turkey dinners. Teachers, kids and administrators would all partake. While in Box Elder, she made many friends. Special mention must be given to Irma and Ordean Solberg, who did so much to help her through her last few years in Box Elder. Elsa was an accomplished bridge player, she liked to knit, do latch hooks and while in Norway, play the piano. Often, she would travel to Great Falls to visit her close friends, William and Mildred Gilstad, and her own daughter and grandchildren.
In 1996, she moved to Columbia Falls, where she resided in the Columbia Arms Apartments. In July 2004 she became a resident of the Colonial Manor in Whitefish.
Elsa was preceded in death by her parents, Minnie and Arne Nypan; husbands, Fritz and Arvid; brother, Ernest Nypan; and grandchild, Michael Ray, who died in 1989.
Survivors include her daughter, Kari (Jim) Ray of Irrigon, Ore.; son, Per (Michele) of Columbia Falls; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.
The family has suggested that memorials be made in her name to Grace Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 536, Big Sandy, MT 59520.