Eloise A. Orvella

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 4:32 pm

Eloise A. Orvella, 87, of Decorah, died Tuesday morning, Dec. 29, 2015, at Wellington Place in Decorah. Funeral services are at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, at Washington Prairie Lutheran Church in rural Decorah, with Rev. April Ulring Larson officiating. Burial is in the church cemetery. Visitation is from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah and Thursday beginning at 9 a.m., one hour before the service, at the church. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com. Organist is Marcia Engebretson. Soloist is David Judisch (“Behold the Host Arrayed in White”).  Congregational hymns are “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” “Here I Am Lord,” “Beauitiful Savior” and “When Peace Like a River.” Casket bearers are Peter Sersland, Zachary Sersland, Anthony Gloede, Andy Orvella, Cody Hagan and Matthew Moore. Interment is at Washington Prairie Lutheran Cemetery in Decorah.
Eloise Ann (Blegen) Orvella was born July 11, 1928, at Dr. Jeffries’ house in Waukon, the daughter of Hildegard (Hendrickson) and George Perdy Blegen. She was baptized and confirmed at Glenwood Lutheran Church. She attended Lee School No. 5 in Glenwood Township and graduated from Decorah High School in the class of 1948. After graduation, Eloise went to work as a nurse’s assistant in Wittenburg, Wis., and then in the Children’s Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. Eloise was united in marriage to Willard K. Orvella Feb. 8, 1953, at Glenwood Lutheran Church in rural Decorah. The couple had four children: Mary, Kathy, Jim and Larry. Eloise worked with Willard on the family farm. She enjoyed gardening (especially geraniums), canning, making lefse, celebrating her Norwegian heritage, listening to church music and the Luren Singers, and attending her grandchildren’s musical and theatrical events. She and Willard, along with Orville and Dorothy Halverson, made and sold 5,600 lefse in 1997 to raise money for the new metal roof at Washington Prairie Lutheran Church and the Parish Hall. They once sold 640 lefse at the bank downtown in 15 minutes to help fund this project. She was a very active member of Washington Prairie Lutheran Church, where she was a former president of the WELCA, taught Sunday School, and helped with Do-Days and quilt making. She also assisted with numerous church dinners over the years, including many Nordic Fest Suppers. She also served as a 4-H leader, sang in the Farm Bureau Women’s Chorus, assisted with Republican Party voting in Glenwood Township, and was a member of Sons of Norway and the Garden Club.
Eloise is survived by her husband, Willard; two daughters: Mary (Rev. John) Sersland of Fort Dodge, and Kathy (Rick) Gloede of Sumner; two sons: Jim Orvella and Larry (Jane) Orvella, both of Decorah; seven grandchildren: Peter Sersland, Eva (Cody) Hagan, Zachary (Melissa) Sersland, Heather Gloede, Anthony Gloede, Andy Orvella, Rebecca (Matthew) Moore; one great-grandson, Axle Orvella; one sister, Arlene (Don) Sorenson of New Brighton, Minn.; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Hildegard and George Perdy Blegen; one granddaughter, Maria Ann Orvella; one sister, Marian Ashbacher; and her father- and mother-in-law, Helmer and Cora Orvella.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be given to Washington Prairie Lutheran Church, 1725 Washington Prairie Road, Decorah, 52101; Wellington Place, 2479 River Road, Decorah, IA 52101; or WMC Hospice, 901 Montgomery Street, Decorah, Iowa 52101.

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