Elda Bigelow, 86, met her creator whom she loved on January 16, 2022
A Celebration of Life for Elda will be held 1 p.m. CST Saturday, Jan. 22 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 1143 N 26th St, Bismarck
Visitation will be held one hour prior to service. A service livestream will be made available on the funeral home website.
Elda (Birkholz) Bigelow was born in Hazen on March 14, 1935, to Arthur and Rosalie (Kruckenberg) Birkholz. She was the fifth of 12 children. Elda graduated from Hazen High School in 1953.
After graduation, Elda boarded a train bound for Waverly, Iowa, to work in a Lutheran Children’s Home. This love of serving God and others continued throughout Elda’s life.
A job opportunity took Elda to Columbus, Ohio, where mutual friends introduced Elda to Warren A. Bigelow. Elda and Warren married at Peace Lutheran Church in Hazen on September 9, 1956. Warren and Elda made their home in Bismarck until 1967 when Warren entered Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.
Ministry was a joint effort for Warren and Elda. While Warren served parishes in Carson, Flasher, Jamestown and Forman, Elda took great joy in her role as a pastor’s wife.
When Warren passed away in 1979, Elda went to work for Sargent County Social Services in Forman as an eligibility specialist. After retiring, Elda joined the ELCA Lutheran Volunteer Corps and moved to Baltimore Maryland for a year. Elda helped care for people with AIDS at the Don Miller House.
Many remember Elda for her kindness and gentle nature although her three children and eight grandchildren would tell you that there was a strong will and stubborn streak behind her blue eyes and sweet smile. We knew when she meant business!
Elda enjoyed teaching Sunday school (especially the three-year-old’s), cooking, baking, entertaining and all things related to making a house a home.
She was always sending out notes of encouragement and cards to family and friends. We are certain the staff at the local Hallmark store had a cup of tea ready for her regular visits! Elda also enjoyed the Minnesota Twins, playing bridge, golfing, traveling and music.
Family and friends were important to Elda. Elda’s children often said of her, “Mom collects people.” Her son, David, found that out when he was in court in a neighboring state for a traffic ticket that he hadn’t planned on mentioning to his mother. No luck. His judge knew her and spoke of her with fondness!
Alzheimer’s disease made the final years of Elda’s life difficult but the staff at St. Catherine’s North in Fargo that cared for her did so with love. Having given so much kindness throughout her life, Elda received kindness in return.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Pastor Warren; son, David; her parents; five brothers; two sisters; three brothers-in-law; three sisters-in-law; and several nephews.
Elda is survived by daughter, Pastor Bethany (Terry) Haberstroh, and their children, David (Laura) and Akriti; daughter, Mary (Kirk), and their children, Jacob (Phoebe) and Erin and Erin’s son, Warren (who born on Elda’s birthday); daughter-in-law, Angie, and her children, Ryne, Zach, Luke and Grace. She is also survived by three brothers; one sister; five sisters-in-law; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Memorials are preferred to St. Catherine North in Fargo, the North Dakota Alzheimer’s Association and the ELCA Foundation.
Elda will be laid to rest beside her husband at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan, on Sept. 9, 2022, in honor of their 66th wedding anniversary.
To share memories of Elda and to view the service livestream, go to www.eastgatefuneral.com.
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