Dorothy Russum, 91, of Grafton, ND passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 22 in Glenn’s Place at Edgewood Vista in Fargo with her family crowded around the window outside of her room.
Dorothy Mae Johnson was born on November 26, 1928 to Peder and Laura (Flaten) Johnson of rural Park River, ND. She thoroughly enjoyed growing up in the Pleasant Valley area with her siblings and many cousins nearby. She graduated from the Walsh County Agriculture School in 1946 and then began her nursing studies in Fargo. She graduated as an RN at the top of her class from St Luke’s School of Nursing in 1949, excited to begin her career that would last for over 50 years. She began work at Deaconess Hospital in Grafton and worked there until moving to the Lutheran Sunset Home in 1974. She retired from her position as Assistant Director of Nursing at Sunset in 1997 and promptly went back to work part time doing what she loved-taking care of patients! She finally dropped her nursing license when she turned 80 so Sunset would stop calling her to come to work!
She married Vernon Russum on January 14, 1951 and worked at hospitals in California and Maryland while Vernon was in the Army. Daughter, Judy and son, David were born during these years away from North Dakota. Back home in Grafton, they established a farmstead near the original Russum homestead when Vernon began farming and they continued to grow their family. Karen, Sandy and Cheri joined their siblings during this time.
Her strong faith in Jesus Christ was evident in her many passions. Vernon and Dorothy were very involved in the beginning days of the Association Free Lutheran Congregations and Bethel Lutheran Church of Grafton. She volunteered as Camp Nurse at Bible Camps for years and loved bringing grandkids to Family Bible Camp each summer. She also played important roles in the local and district Women’s Missionary Federation as well as teaching Sunday School for years!
Vernon and Dorothy’s love for their grandchildren found them on the road and in the bleachers across Washington, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota watching grandkids and later great-grandkids, in athletic and musical events along with baptisms, birthdays, confirmations, graduations, weddings and other family events.
Dorothy leaves behind a legacy of faithfully serving her Lord Jesus Christ, finding satisfaction in a career she loved and with a smile always demonstrating her compassion for others.
They moved from the farm into Grafton in 2013 and to Edgewood Vista Retirement Community in Fargo in January of 2017.
Dorothy is survived by five children, Judy (Bruce) Seibel of Fargo, David Russum of Fargo, Karen (Randy) Pederson of Tioga, ND, Sandra Harthan of Fargo and Cheri Nelson of Fargo; 17 grandchildren, Andrea (Adam) Berge, Stephanie (Michael) Bull, Emily (Eric) Netland, Kayla Russum, Micah (Jen) Russum, Malea (Matt) Williams, Daniel (Kaitlyn) Russum, Gracia (Aaron) Livie, David (Bree) Pederson, Chris (Megan) Pederson, Evan Pederson (Dani Halverson), Amanda (Nate) McCraven, Laura (Craig) Olson, Todd (Jenna) Harthan, Jonathan (Heidi) Nelson, Josiah (Katie) Nelson and Jordan (fiancée Ellen Barden) Nelson;41 great grandchildren; Timothy, Luke, Hannah, Josiah and Mattea Berge, Olivia, Charlotte and Amelia Bull, Emmerich, Easton, Elyse and Eddie Netland, Zianne, Talitha, Eisley and Diletta Russum, Haaken, Isla and Soren Williams, Asher and Judah Russum, Sophie, Ben, Lila and Isaac Livie, Julian, Chandler and Lukah Pederson, Ellis, Henrik and Harvey Pederson, Austin, Carter and Sophia McCraven, Evie and Maxwell Olson, Barrett Harthan, Jeremiah and Anja Nelson, Erin and John Nelson; and many nieces and nephews.
Preceded in death by her husband of nearly 70 years, Vernon; son-in-law, Phil Harthan her parents; and her siblings; Martha Troftgruben, Allerd Johnson, Howard Johnson, Lois Winther, and Marilyn Johnson.
Visitation: Thursday, June 25, 2020 from 5 to 6 PM with a prayer service at 6 PM at West Funeral Home, West Fargo, ND.
Funeral: Friday, June 26 at 2 PM at Bethel Free Lutheran Church, Grafton with visitation one hour prior. (This public service will honor & celebrate Dorothy and Vernon's life)
Burial: Grafton Cemetery.
The family wishes to express its sincere thanks to the staff at Glenn’s Place in Edgewood Vista and the people of Hospice of the Red River Valley for their wonderful care and kindness. Memorials may be directed to Bethel Church or a ministry of your choice.
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center
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