119 Third Street Southwest ~ Rugby, North Dakota ~ 58368-1797
Chapel of the Cross ~ Towner, North Dakota
Jon M. Stork - President / Licensed Director

Phone: 701.776.6381 ~ 701.537.5130
Fax: 701.776.5916
email: afhrugbytowner@gondtc.com


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Eileen Westrum

Eileen Sears Westrum, 93, of Devils Lake, ND, died Thursday, March 15, 2018 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, ND.

Eileen was born July 13, 1924 to John and Hilda (Anderson) Sears, the youngest of seven children. She grew up near Minnewaukan, ND and graduated from Minnewaukan High School in 1942. Eileen attended Minot Teachers College and, thereafter, began her long career as an elementary teacher in North Dakota. She taught in Beaver Township, Leeds, Eldon Township, Albert Township, and then in Minnewaukan until she retired. She received a BS Degree from Minot State College in 1968. She had a passion for teaching, which becomes obvious if you ever encounter a former student.

On July 2, 1953, Eileen married Freeman Westrum. Shortly after they married, Freeman and Eileen purchased his parents’ farm north of Maddock, ND. There they farmed and raised their son, Thomas John Westrum. In 1959, as a hobby, they began raising registered Welsh ponies. They showed their ponies throughout North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota and Wisconsin and won trophies in all those places. Their ponies brought them great pride and enjoyment. After many years of enjoying life on the farm and all it had to offer, Freeman and Eileen decided to sell their farm. They then moved to Rugby, ND. Freeman passed away in 2009. Eileen continued to live in Rugby until 2014, when she moved to Eventide Heartland in Devils Lake.

Eileen had many loves and hobbies. She was a ferocious reader and continued to read right into the weeks before she died. Her love of flowers was obvious if you ever visited their farm. She had beautiful flower gardens surrounding their home. Eileen enjoyed ceramics, crocheting, and various crafts and was very good at all of them. Especially crocheting. Her amazing creations are now keepsakes of many of her family members. Music was a huge part of Eileen’s life. She loved to sing and play piano and for many years was the organist at St. Olaf Lutheran Church. St. Olaf was the nearby country church they attended and where she was an active member, belonging to the St. Olaf ALCW.

Those relatives still holding Eileen in their hearts are: sisters-in-law, Helen Westrum, Cheney, WA, and Jane Sears, Bakersfield, CA; and many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Freeman; her son, Tom; brothers – Ivan, Elwin, Elmer, and Raymond; sisters – Jessie Sears Smith and Nellie Sears Hahn.

****NOTICE****A celebration of life service for Eileen has been rescheduled for 1:00 p.m.on Tuesday, March 27 at Eventide Heartland in Devils Lake, ND.  Spring burial will be in the St. Olaf Lutheran Cemetery, rural Minnewaukan, ND.  Rev.Allen Cambell, officiate.

Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the time of service at the Care Center.

Posted Condolences:

We extend our sympathy to Eileen's nieces and nephews, and thank them for the care which they have given Eileen and Freeman throughout the years.  We were blessed to have Eileen as a member of the Westrum Family.  She enriched the family and the community with her beautiful solos, her willingness to be the organist and pianist for countless church, Farmers Union, and other events, and her excellent teaching of our schools' children.  Blessed be her memory.
We regret that we will not be able to attend the service Saturday.  We have been advised that there should be no travel in the area until roads improve.
Byron and Bernice Knutson


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