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Rodney Allen Kvamme 1931 ~ 2015

 

SEELEY LAKE – Born May 9, 1931, at home in the small town of Mekinock, N.D., it was debated for years whether Rodney Allen Kvamme actually arrived on Mother's Day or not. His mother Hilda Kvamme and father Martin Kvamme debated for years as to the actual day, as it was never actually recorded on his official birth certificate until the late 1960s in order to establish a passport. So, May 9 it is.

Rodney passed from this earth Nov. 8, 2015, at age 84 (plus or minus that actual day). He follows his father and mother; brothers Bud and Ellsworth; sisters Adeline and Eleanor and wife of more than 50 years, Pauline. May they once again rejoice in each other's company and rest in peace together.

Rodney is survived by his three sons, Paul, John and Phil; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Rodney was a lifelong scholar, always enjoying reading and learning new things. He began his education with grade school in Mekinock. After the family moved to nearby Grand Forks, N.D., he graduated from Grand Forks Central High School May 27, 1948.

It was during this time that he evolved his lifelong love of creating music by picking up the violin after his father's tradition, which he continued to play all his life – even taking lessons well into his 70s from a fine instructor who was "old enough to be his teacher" at near 100 years old!

Rod played in the St. Olaf College symphony in Northfield, Minn., until he graduated in the 78th graduating class June 2, 1952, with a bachelor's degree in history.

Having heard the calling to the ministry, Rodney moved to the Minneapolis area to pursue his schooling at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. In 1954, Rodney married Pauline Burtness from Minneapolis. Completing his Lutheran ministry preparation, the two were called to internship in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

With gratefulness to God and country, Rodney joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Great Falls and then Sacramento, Calif.

Having fallen in love with Montana, when he was discharged as lieutenant colonel with honors from the service, they returned to Montana (The Last Best Place) to raise their family – first in Kalispell, where they served Calvary Lutheran church before being called to serve First Lutheran Church in Havre in January of 1967.

After raising their family they retired to Seeley Lake in 1984 to write and travel. Their travels took them all around the country and several times to Norway, France, England and the Holy Land.

During their almost 30 years in western Montana, Rodney authored more than six books on devotional ministry, which he also recorded with the Montana Library system books on tape.

The two of them enjoyed many things together, including activity in Lions, founding the Celebration of Trees, active participation in establishing SeLa SenCi (Seeley Lake Senior Citizens), support of the Double Arrow Land Owners Association and being steward-leaders with Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Bonner, Mont.

But perhaps Rod's greatest sense of pride was the result of his enduring efforts to create "The Best Last Place" in Montana, the Seeley Lake Cemetery, where those who dearly loved the area as he did could go to rest. The testament to this vision will live on and the sentiment is permanently stated in the very gates of the cemetery itself.

As living became more challenging, they eventually moved to Billings, Mont. where Rod actively participated in the care for his wife with Alzheimer's until she passed in 2012. He was also challenged with progressing dementia and remained in Billings.

Rodney leaves the world with a rich legacy of stories to tell and songs he taught us to sing. But most importantly he leaves an example and a challenge for us to live up to – "Just do good things because you can." Our world is a little smaller and lonelier without him and he will be missed.

Thank you for showing us the way.

 

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