Ethel Gladys Lerum, resident of Benedictine Manor in La Crosse and formerly of Ferryville, passed away on Monday, January 26, 2015 at the age of 98 surrounded by her family. Ethel had trusted Jesus as her personal Savior and went home to the Lord. She was a life-long Lutheran. She was baptized and confirmed at Utica Lutheran Church and later transferred to Freeman Lutheran Church. She was born on June 4, 1916 in the old log cabin in Copper Creek of rural Ferryville. Her parents were Fay and Christina (Gauld) Allen and she had two brothers, Morris and Bernie, both deceased.
She went to elementary schools in Seneca and Ferryville. In Seneca, her father was a blacksmith, and when the family moved to a small piece of property south of Ferryville, he became a farmer, raising tobacco. When Ethel was in school in Ferryville in the sixth grade, one of her fellow students in the fourth grade was former Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey.
Ethel said that she woke up to music and that has been a big part of her life. She played the piano, organ, keyboard, accordion, and sometimes the violin. During her teen years, the family had a band and played for Saturday night dances. Her father played the fiddle, her mother the piano, her brother Morris played the guitar and accordion, and Ethel played the piano and accordion. She always said that wherever they played, there was never any smoking or drinking.
One Saturday night, they were playing at the old Sandy’s Hall in Sugar Creek and she met the love of her life, Edward Clarence Lerum. They were married on December 12, 1936. Edward passed away on December 16, 1977. They were married 41 years. Edward worked as a farmer, helped build the Lynxville lock and dam with his twin brother Edwin, and retired as a maintenance worker on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad after 32 years. They had three children: Harlan (Glenda) Lerum of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Conrad (Jeanice) Lerum of Plant City, Florida and Constance (Charles) Hall of La Crosse. Conrad and Connie are twins.
Ethel’s life revolved around farming, teaching organ and piano and being active in her church, especially as a member of the church circle. She was the organist at Freeman Lutheran Church for fourteen years and was also active as the Ferryville Historian. She was the Ferryville Correspondent for many years for the Viroqua Broadcaster and the Crawford County Independent weekly newspapers. Besides helping her family raise tobacco, she also worked sorting tobacco at tobacco warehouses in Viroqua and DeSoto and worked sorting apples at one of the apple orchards near Gays Mills.
Ethel had a love of learning and a curiosity of the world around her. Although, as many of her contemporaries did, she finished school at the end of the eighth grade. Later on she spent three years of part-time study at Logan High School in La Crosse and graduated at the age of fifty.
Besides her three children, survivors include 17 grandchildren. Their love for their Grandma was very special. They are Robyn (Tony) Folcey, Hokah, Minn., Connie Jean (Michael) Borsheim, La Crosse, Ed (Jessica) Hall, Hokah, Minn., Gary (Rachel) Hall, Madison, Michael Hall, La Crosse, Rebecca (Joshua) Ruiz, Rochester, Minn., Harlan (Linda) Lerum II, Idaho Falls, Idaho, Heidi (Tim) Lajaunie, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Erik (Raylene) Lerum, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Grant Lerum, Plant City, Florida, Chris (Sharon) Lerum, Tampa, Florida, Charles Hall II, Graham, Washington, Linda (Ron) Kuehl, La Crosse, Brian (Sue) Hall, Texas, Maureen Flanagan, Gig Harbor, Washington, Kevin (Jan) Hall, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Jerry (Michelle) Hall, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Her 25 great grandchildren include: Alia (Andrew) Straub, Eau Claire, Piper Hoffman, La Crosse, Ruth Lerum, Phillip Lerum, David (Andrea) Lerum, Hannah Lerum, William Lerum, Paul Lerum, Sarah and Abigail Lerum, all of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Kody (Shannah) Lerum, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Nicolas Lerum, Sunnyvale, California, Kimberly Lajaunie, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Chuck (Shirley) Hall III, Lisa (Lynn) McDaniel, Kristine (Steve) Johnson, Stephanie (Randy) Davidson, Rhonda (Brett) Matschke, Ron (Renee) Kuehl II, Jeremiah (Desire) Hall, Leah Hall, Jesse (Jennie) Lee, Aaron (Heather) Lee, Cheree Humphry, Christina McGrail and Jarod Charles Hall.
Her 26 great-great grandchildren include: Nathaneil Owens-Lerum, San Diego, California, Alexandra and Caitlynne Lerum (twins), Tampa, Florida, Evelea Straub, Eau Claire, Shane CWH Hall IV, Tara (Shirley) Hall, Michael (Whitney) McDaniel, Nicole (Chance) Hamilton, Stephanie, Kenny and Bobby Johnson, Gary Paul and Rachel Jean Davidson, Nathan Earl and Courtney Jean Matschke, Samantha, Austin, Tyler and Zachary Kuehl, Landon Hall, Lucinda, Angela, Jededia, Joseph and Judah Lee and her ten great-great-great grandchildren include: Oliva, Ashley, Aiden, Annibelle and Conner Hall, Baylee and Riley McDaniel, Mackenzie, Chance and Terianna Hamilton.
Ethel also leaves many nieces and nephews and special friends, including, Pat (Greg) Wade of Ferryville, daughter of cousin Thelma Sanford. Pat’s love for Ethel endeared her to the whole family; Don Anderson of Ferryville who spent many years accompanying Ethel musically with his guitar and piano, his song writing and their shared love of things Norwegian; Suzy Lindner and Ashley Ruehman of the Benedictine staff; Doris Bedward of DeSoto, a former care giver in Ferryville and Karin Gald-Semb, a close relative and friend in Sweden.
A Memorial Funeral service in honor of her love for her Lord will be held at the Utica Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 7, 2015 with a lunch by the ladies of the church to follow. Burial will be in the family plot at Utica next to her beloved husband Edward. Officiating at the funeral will be the Reverend Doug Andersen of Freeman Lutheran Church.
Online condolences may be offered at www.VossFH.com
The Vosseteig Funeral Homes are serving the family.