CELEBRATION OF LIFE OF ALLEN RUSSELL MELSNESS
April 25, 1925 - April 12, 2018
Order of Service
Welcome & Invocation
Congregational Hymn: "I know That My Redeemer Liveth" LBW#352
Congregational Hymn: "Children of the Heavenly Father" LBW#474
Eulogy - Grandsons, Trevor Mitchell & Luke Maygard and Nephew, Pastor Dan Berg
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:35-39 - Grandson, Allen Mitchell
Special Music: "Jesus Loves Me" - Delilah, Annabelle & Jenna-Rae Pieper
Sermon - Pastor Ed Skutshek
Duet: "The Lord's My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want" - Pastor Dan & Freda Berg
Apostle's Creed and Prayers
Commendation and Benediction
Congregational Hymn: "O Take My Hand and Lead Me"
Reception following at Grace Lutheran Fellowship Hall
Internment - Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery
Allen Russell Melsness was born April 25, 1925 to Otto & Emma Melsness, the youngest of 11 children, 9 boys and 2 girls.
The family was raised on their farm in Preeceville, SK. With such a large family, they made their fun playing games and competing with one another. Being the youngest, Russell claimed this taught him to be a good loser!
In 1944, at the age of 19, Russell went off to Outlook, SK to attend grade 12 at the Saskatchewan Lutheran Bible Institute. It was here that he would meet his future wife, Astrid. The couple courted for 4 years while Russell studied at Seminary and Astrid completed university. By 1948 they were engaged. They wed July 6, 1950 in Saskatoon.
4 short years later, while new in the ministry and living in Wetaskiwin, AB, Russell & Astrid welcomed their first daughter, Karen. By 1957 the family was living in Medicine Hat, AB and it was there that daughter #2, Randi joined the family, making them complete!
In 1961 the family was on the move again, this time to Burnaby, BC where their spent the next 12 years. In 1973 they made their final move to Kelowna, BC where they settled for good.
By the late 1970’s both daughters had married and in 1980 the grandchildren began to arrive. First, Allen, next Amanda and over the next 5 years – Trevor, Luke and Stacey. These 5 grandchildren are arguably the most blessed group of grandchildren to have ever lived. Russell & Astrid spoiled the grandkids with fishing trips, wiener roasts, afternoons spent on Gilligan’s Island, sleepovers and crosswords in bed with ‘chew coffee’. Many fond memories were created while sitting cross-legged in the garden eating fresh peas, or watching as Grandpa carefully crafted beautiful stools for the grandkids in his woodworking shop. Russell taught each grandchild how to skip rocks at the creek behind their home, an invaluable lesson!
Some years later came the great grandkids – 12 to date! Eli, Blake, Courtney, Wesley, Delilah, Annabelle, Jenna-Rae, Olive, Evelyn, Ethan, Gunnar & Amelia. Russell was proud of his large family and never missed an opportunity to brag about them!
Over their 63 years of marriage, Russell & Astrid enjoyed quite a bit of travelling. Their travels took them to usual tourist spots – Disneyland, the Grand Canyon, Hawaii as well as Norway and other parts of Europe. They also took many, many cruises, the most memorable being the family cruise in 1992!
An avid hunter & fisherman, Russell truly enjoyed the outdoors. He also enjoyed playing golf and watching hockey. He took great pride in watching his great-grandkids play hockey, always asking them for a goal or a good penalty and they were always happy to oblige!
When asked about his greatest achievements in life, Russell’s reply was always the same: His family. Nothing made him happier or more proud than the family he and Astrid built together. Russell had a theory about family trees, adoptive vs. genetic, and he argued that the adoptive tree was stronger. He said that while a genetic family tree grew from a family’s single string of genes rooted somewhere deep in the past, his family tree, the adoptive (or chosen) family tree had a stronger base as it was rooted by many strings of genes wound together, wrapped around each other, supporting each other, growing together. This is what Russell wanted for his family: Strong, supportive, loving and bound together forever.
As we lay Russell to rest today, we have heavy hearts, but we are comforted by the fact that he is where he has always wanted to be: with Astrid and with God.
"So faith, hope, love abide, these three: but the greatest of these is love," 1 Corinthians 13:13