June 13th, 2012

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#579 – Dick Bernard: Donna Elling

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

This afternoon Donna Elling, 88, will be remembered at First Universalist Church in south Minneapolis. We’ll be there, and I expect there’ll be a large crowd. She richly deserves a tribute.

I can’t say I knew Donna well, except through others voices and memories. When I met her and her husband, Lynn, five years ago, her memory was already in decline, but there was no question that she was a classy lady, a partner with her husband since their marriage in 1943, and a loving parent, grand, and great-grandparent.

I got to know Lynn much better than Donna in these past five years. But as I retrace that time, I had many occasions to see Donna. Where Lynn was, so was Donna, always gracious and friendly. Donna was always there, also, in Lynn’s conversation stream. They had a rich 68 years together.

Others can and will relive and recall her long and productive life much better than I.

Some years ago Lynn shared with me his photo album and I made photo copies of some of the pages.

Yesterday, at a meeting, I shared two photo pages of Donna taken from that album. One is below, and both are attached as a pdf Donna Elling 1953001. Appropriately, the magazine is for June 21, the time of the soon-to-occur Summer Solstice.

(click to enlarge photos)

Donna Elling, June 21, 1953 St. Paul Pioneer Press

In my own photo files, there are surprisingly numerous photos of Donna, since where Lynn was, so was Donna to be found.

For her farewell I choose this photo, from September, 2011, at their home in south Minneapolis.

Lynn and Donna Elling, September, 2011

In Peace.

The family has chosen World Citizen, the organization Lynn founded in 1982, as a preferred memorial, and I would ask consideration of Lynn’s ‘driving dream’ which included places (as their home was) as Peace Sites. All information can be found at World Citizen’s website, here.

Do take a look.

Another of Lynn Elling’s passions was the Nobel Peace Prize Festival, now integrated into the Nobel Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg College, Minneapolis MN. One of the last photos I have of Donna and Lynn together was taken at a reception for 1993 co-Nobel Laureate F. W. deKlerk of S. Africa.

from right: Lynn and Donna Elling, F. W. deKlerk, Cathy and Dick Bernard, March 2, 2012

UPDATE June 16, 2012:
Donna had a marvelous celebration of her life on June 13. I’d estimate approximately 300 friends and family attended.
Here’s a great slideshow remembering her life.

Lynn remembers Donna, his spouse of 68 years, at the Memorial Service June 13, 2012