- About Us
Reuben ElshaugNovember 2, 1930 ~ January 7, 2018 (age 87)
Reuben George Elshaug passed into the arms of the Lord Jesus on, Sunday, January 7, 2018, at age 87, at the Ashley Medical Center, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. He will be remembered for his contagious smile, love of telling jokes, and devotion to helping others. Known to his family as Red, or Ruby, he was an honest, hard-working, kind man who selflessly served his community, church and family. His family gives him a standing ovation for a job well done!
He was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, on November 2, 1930, to Oscar and Ragna Elshaug. He had six brothers, Edwin, Carroll, Oscar Jr., Charles, Steven (who died as an infant), and Baby boy, who died at birth. He also had four sisters, Lillian, Mavis, Maryanne, and Ester, who died as an infant.
Reuben grew up in the farming community of Underwood, Minnesota, and attended a small country school there. His school teacher recognized Reuben’s leadership skills at any early age, so she had him assist her with teaching reading and mathematics to the younger students. This was a spark for Reuben, who spent the rest of his life helping others.
As a youth, he sold the newspaper for pennies a paper, although sometimes he got paid a dime because of his red hair. Whether milking cows, cutting hay, or fixing old farm equipment, he worked long hours tirelessly in the company of his two best friends, his older brother Carroll, and his father, Oscar. The three were always together, and Reuben said he and Oscar felt a great void when his brother, Carroll, was drafted into the army in 1948.
When he turned nineteen, Reuben also joined the army and served overseas from April 30, 1952, to April 10, 1954. Throughout his life he captivated people with war stories and tales of his life growing up on the farm.
After he was discharged from the army, Reuben met the love of his life, Rosella Wilkie, while he was working in Cavalier, North Dakota. They were married on November 18, 1956. Over the years, they had seven children, Lucy Elshaug, Bonny (Wayne) Varnson, Ronald Elshaug, Angela Reuben, Susan Schlenvogt, Catherine (Rocky) Sayler, and Collette Elshaug. In the summers, he loved taking his children camping in the Black Hills, fishing at Lake Oahe, or touring a national park or monument. He also loved watching westerns, reading, watching the futures markets or hanging out with his brothers and their families in Fergus Falls.
Reuben loved to laugh and tell jokes. Rarely was he seen without a smile on his face. He worked for many years in the grain business, and whenever anyone walked into his office, he was ready with a joke and a friendly greeting. After he retired from the Grain Elevator Business, he opened R & R Farm Supply in Ashley, North Dakota, where he ran a feed store for over twenty years. He loved opening his bay door every day, ready to help anyone who needed something.
A devoted servant of God, Reuben served as an altar boy, liturgist, or any other roll asked of him, including maintenance. When his children were young, it was common on a Saturday to find him mowing and watering the church lawn while his children dusted the pews and swept the floor. He had a great voice, and never missed singing in the congregation. As an example of God’s love for all, Reuben championed his church’s reception of Vietnam refugees by welcoming them into his home, finding them places to live, jobs, vehicles and missing family members. His compassionate, Christ-like nature was evident through his early support of cultural acceptance and diversity. The things he did for others served as an example to his children and others around him of open-armed unselfish love.
Now that Reuben is in heaven, he has the chance to meet his siblings, Ester, Steven, and Baby Boy, all of whom died as infants. He is survived by his wife, Rosella, his sister, Maryanne, and his seven children and their heirs. He was much loved by his grandchildren Jarrid Elshaug, Anthony (Maegin) Elshaug, Justin (Charlene) Varnson, Kyle Varnson, Shelby (Keaton) Hanevold, Jessica Chipera, Dylan (Skyla) Chipera, Tiffany (Bill) Solometo, Tyler (Katie) Schlenvogt, Jackie (Ben) Schlepp, Raquel Sayler (Justin Gross), and Will Sayler; also his great-grandchildren Walker Solometo, Marek Varnson, Emmitt Schlepp, and Carmin Elshaug. He was a beloved uncle to many nephews and nieces.
His family thanks the staff and physicians, particularly Nina Klein and Lori Bichler, at the Ashley Clinic and Ashley Nursing Home for their devoted care, and the folks at the Ashley Senior Center for providing meals for him. Also, his family appreciates the care he received from physicians at the Veteran’s Hospitals in Fargo and Jamestown, and for the contribution the Veteran’s Association made to Reuben’s burial service. We also thank the Priests who have been a spiritual light in this otherwise dark world and who recognized Reuben’s kindness and generosity as a direct reflection of our Lord Jesus, whom Reuben so dearly loved.
In lieu of flowers, his family asks that you leave donations at the church to be used for expenses or to be donated to Reuben’s favorite organization, Catholic Christian Charities. Also, his family requests that you tell more jokes, smile more frequently, and always have a friendly greeting for your fellow man.
Reuben is being buried with military honors.
Visitation: 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, January 12, 2018, West Funeral Home in West Fargo
Prayer Service: 7 p.m. in the funeral home.
Funeral: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, January 13, 2018, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in West Fargo.
Burial: Holy Cross – North, in Fargo
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center