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Eleanor Jeanne (Erickson) Hagstrom

October 11, 1927 ~ January 24, 2018 (age 90)

Eleanor Jeanne Erickson was born October 11, 1927 in Watertown, SD, the daughter of Martin and Ella (Anderson) Erickson. Eleanor grew up in Willmar, MN.

Following high school, Eleanor worked for The Bank of Willmar as secretary and bookkeeper. She attended Luther College in Decorah, IA where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Parish Work. She was active in the Nordic Choir and excelled as a soloist.

Eleanor was a parish worker in Stoughton, WI and Glenwood, MN. She met Allen Hagstrom at Luther Crest Bible Camp near Alexandria, MN. On April 14, 1955 Eleanor was united in marriage to Allen in Glenwood, MN. The couple was blessed with three children, Timothy, Elizabeth and Mark.

Eleanor and Allen made their home in Elbow Lake, MN where Allen served as a pastor for 23  years. Eleanor was active in church choirs, women’s groups and bible studies. After her youngest child began school, she worked part-time as a legal secretary/bookkeeper for a law firm in Elbow Lake. As the pastor’s wife, it was Eleanor’s ministry to make ALL members or guests of the church and of her home, feel welcome.

When Allen accepted a call to Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in Benson, MN, Eleanor developed her passion for handbells. She attended conferences and symposiums to support her directing of handbell choirs at Our Redeemer’s.

After Eleanor was widowed in her fifties, she finished their home on Lobster Lake and moved to the Alexandria area. She enrolled in St. Cloud Business College to study court reporting.  During that time, she worked as a word processor and later as a secretary and typist for a realtor in St Cloud. From 1987 to 1989 Eleanor worked at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Morris, MN, and later at the USDA Farmers Home Administration County Office in Alexandria. Perhaps the position she loved the most was serving as secretary at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria from 1989 to 1994. Eleanor retired at age 67. In her free time, Eleanor loved swimming in Lobster Lake and entertaining friends at her lake home.

Eleanor enjoyed her Norwegian heritage; her maternal grandparents emigrated from Norway as did her father, Martin, who was the only one of his family to leave Norway for America.  She traveled to Norway with her mother in 1975 and kept in contact with her cousins and their families there. Her adventurous spirit took her traveling across the country to visit family and she especially loved her trip to Holden Village, WA.

After “retiring” Eleanor volunteered for the Historical Society and served as a Senior Companion, providing friendly visiting, shopping and driving of older adults to doctor appointments for 15 years. She also served on the Board of the Senior Companion program. She was one of the first residents at Grand Arbor in Alexandra when she moved there from her lake home in 2011, and shared her computer skills to create a newsletter for the residents. She was very involved with the Retired Pastors and Spouses group, many of whom also lived at Grand Arbor. She chronicled the lives of many 90 plus year-olds from First Lutheran, conducting interviews and writing their stories.

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018 Eleanor died at the age of 90. She was preceded in death by her husband, Reverend Allen Hagstrom; her parents; sister and brother-in-law, Agnes & Russ Lee; and brothers and sisters-in-law, Earlan & Margaret Erickson and Donald & Vivian Erickson. Eleanor is survived by her children, Tim Hagstrom and wife, Rita, of Fargo, ND, Liz Hagstrom and wife, Elizabeth Skalnek, of Woodbury, MN and Mark Hagstrom of Leesburg, VA; grandchildren, Grant Hagstrom, Rachel Schmidt and husband, Brian, Ingrid Hagstrom and fiancé, Jake Schaefbauer, Austin Hagstrom and Zachary Hagstrom-Skalnek; brother-in-law, John Hagstrom of Alexandria; and niece and nephews, Meredith Lee, Thomas Lee, Martin Erickson and Alan Erickson.

A funeral service will be held 11 AM Friday, February 2, 2018 at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. Reverend Ben Jacobson will officiate. Interment will follow in the White Garden Cemetery. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at church.

Memorials may be sent in memory of Eleanor to Luther Crest Bible Camp, Alexandria, First Lutheran Church, Alexandria, or Luther College, Decorah, IA.

Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria.

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