|Gladys Solyst, 94|
|Written by TRF Times|
Kerkoven - Gladys Solyst, 94, of Kerkhoven and formerly of Argyle, died on Thursday, September 8, 2005 at her home in Kerkhoven.
Funeral services were held on Monday, September 12, at Kerkhoven Lutheran Church in Kerkhoven. Interment was held at Hillside Cemetery in Kerkhoven.
Gladys Marie Steffen was born in the log house on the family farm in Wanger Township, Marshall County, on February 10, 1911, the second child of Carl and Anna (Knitter) Steffen. She was baptized into the Christian faith at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Argyle, Minnesota, on July 25th, 1911. She confirmed her faith on September 5th, 1926, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.
She graduated from Argyle High School in 1929. She graduated from Moorhead State Teachers’ College and continued her education at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Gladys was united in marriage to Ephraim Solyst in Argyle on November 25, 1937. To that union were born two children, Naomi Marie and Mark Ephraim.
Gladys taught first and second grade in both Newfolden and Alvarado, Minnesota public schools, taught kindergarten in Kerkhoven, Minnesota, and developed an elementary school curriculum while at Newfolden. As a certified librarian, she established libraries every place she served including Newfolden and Alvarado public schools, Kerkhoven Community, Kerkhoven Lutheran Church and the Sons of Norway Fedraheimen Lodge. Gladys served as president of the Southwestern Minnesota District Church Library Association.
She taught piano for 52 years. As a member of the Federated Womens’ Club for 65 years, she served as district president and vice-present and president of her local KIP Study Club. She was a Cub Scout leader, a 4-H Club leader, and with her husband, Ephraim, Gladys wrote the history of the city of Kerkhoven and also the history of Kerkhoven Lutheran Church. Working for the war effort, she knitted mittens and stockings during WWII.
Her deep faith and commitment to service resulted in much activity in her local churches and at the synodical and national levels. She taught Sunday school for 52 years beginning in high school in Argyle and continued to teach into her late 70’s when she led a successful high school Bible class. She was Sunday school superintendent for many years providing monthly methods instruction for teachers. Being recognized for her leadership, she taught methods classes for Sunday school teachers in the Crookston Circuit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Southwestern Minnesota District of the American Lutheran Church, and taught at the District Instructors’ Institute at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota.
The Lutheran Free Church asked her to develop and write Sunday school curriculum. She was also asked to write the contents and methods in a course of study used at Augsburg College for students entering the parish ministry. Her articles on lesson enrichment for Sunday school were published in the The Teacher, a national publication. She founded the Lutheran Daughters’ of the Reformation (LDR) at Alvarado Lutheran Church, founded the Lutheran Children of the Reformation (LCR) at Kerkhoven Lutheran Church, and founded LCR chapters in churches in Willmar, Atwater, Grove City and Litchfield. The national LCR/LDR administration called on Gladys to work with programming and promotion, and she participated in the LDR radio programming on WCAL in Northfield, Minnesota.
At Kerkhoven Lutheran Church, she served as Luther League advisor, director Vacation Bible School, started the Senior Citizens’ Club, wrote many programs, and served as president of the American Lutheran Church Women’s organization. She served as vice-president of the Crookston Circuit Women’s Missionary Federation (WMF), president of the Willmar Circuit WMF, and president of the Willmar Conference American Lutheran Church Women (ALCW). She served as secretary on the board of the Division of Service and Mission in America (DSMA) for the Southwestern Minnesota District of the American of the American Lutheran Church (ALC). She was the Director of Refugee Resettlement for the Southwestern Minnesota District of the ALC.
She taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and taught the Christian faith, values, and life skills to Vietnamese families. Gladys served on the board of directors of the Madison Lutheran Home.
As the wife of a school superintendent, she was a wonderful hostess for many occasions in her home for faculty, school board members, and visiting dignitaries.
She loved to read and enjoyed collecting books. As an avid reader, she researched Indian history and belonged to an Indian study group. She enjoyed telling about her collection of Norwegian Trolls, and taught her granddaughter how to make wonderful lefse.
Looking back on her years of service, Gladys said, “I have enjoyed being a part of all these activities and my life and I hope the lives of others has become the richer because of them.”
Survivors include her husband of 67 years; two children, Naomi Marie (Dennis) Raymond of St. Cloud and Mark Ephraim (Carol) Solyst of La Crosse, Wis.; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren;
She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, Harold and Lloyd Steffen, and one sister, Ruth (Steffen) Johnson.