RURAL BRYANT, SD, PRESENTS:
A Biographical Sketch of Bergit Wilhelmine Holbeck Stadem
by Mrs. Walter Kloster
and derived from the Golden Anniversary Booklet
of the life of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Stadem
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
In a Christian home back in Vatnedal Holmesogn, Mandal, Norway, on the 22nd of May in 1885, God blessed a mother and father with their seventh and youngest child. This babe, Bergit Wilhelmine Holbek, was brought to the Lord in Holy Baptism when 3 days old, and at age 15 was confirmed. [Besides Bergit,] Only one brother and one sister of a larger family survived and lived to grow up. At the age of 18 she migrated to America with her [older] sister Kathrine, to join their brother Andrew who had previously come here.
As she recalled her early life she would talk of the joy she had in the spiritual experiences in her home, as they had evening devotions. Her father passed away when she was at the tender age of 5. After his death her mother would take the three little children to Christian Fellowship Prayer meetings. How impressed she always was with any spiritual occasions, and how convicted she would become even at a very young age when she knew she had done something wrong. She would have no peace until confession was made and forgiveness received from God.
She then lost her mother when she was about 14, and after her brother left for America and her sister went to Mandal to work, their old home was rented. She went to work first for a Christian family and later for some Godless people. In 1903 she and her sister came to America to live. Here she worked for different people and had various experiences.
She met a girl named Marie Stadem [not Alfred Stadem's mother but his half-sister perhaps, belonging to Widow Gurina Erickson Stadem, second wife of Alfred's widowed father, Peder/Peter Stadem] and they became friends. On occasion when she was in her friend's home she met Marie's brother Alfred. They soon became real good friends, to the extent that he asked her to become his wife. They were married on August 19, 1908.
Alfred had also come from a home and family of Christian character, and so naturally their home was established with Christ as the foundation. After living on various farms, they moved to a farm 5 miles Northwest of Bryant, S. Dak. in 1919. Here they erected a new home and farm buildings, naming it Plain View Farm.
God blessed this union with nine children, and under Christian teachings, guidance, and example the children as well as the descendants have been influenced to live for Christ.
Sorrow came into the family in 1947 when God chose to call from the family circle their son Arthur and son-in-law Bob Ginther in an aeroplane crash. God was their very present help and refuge in this hour of sorrow. The remaining children [of Alfred and Bergit Stadem] are Mrs. Pearl Ginther, Mrs. Bernice Schaefer, Mrs. Myrtle Svanoe, Mrs. Cora Taylor, Mrs. Alida Spilde, Mrs. Estelle Rangen, and Mrs. Ruth Harrington, and Pastor Leroy Stadem.
Together this couple as God's faithful servants worked very diligently in the Lutheran Fellowship League and the L.A.L.M. [Latin American Lutheran Mission based in Laredo, Texas and headed by Sanford Haugen] for many years, and month by month would edit and prepare the Fellowship League Bulletin for mailing or distribution.
They travelled extensively presenting the work of the Mission in many places. Their efforts are still being felt today, even after the Homegoing of Alfred on Jan. 3, 1964.
And now, to this dear soul whom God so richly blessed the world 90 years ago, and who is so fondly called "Our Mama" by her children, and to the rest of us as "Bessie," we want to say "GOD'S RICHEST BLESSING AND A GREAT AND BIG HAPPY AND BLESSED BIRTHDAY!"