Earl Clayton Grefsrud was born the 22nd of September 1928 at the family home in rural Hawley, Minnesota. He was the eighth of thirteen children born to Martina Bratlien and Gustav Grefsrud. Earl's first eight years of education took place in a country school to which he and his siblings walked. Continued education was a dream and after a year of working on the family farm, he left home to work for and live with a sister and her family so he could attend high school.
After his graduation from Hitterdal High School, Earl attended Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota followed by Luther Seminary in St. Paul. On the 22nd of December 1951 Earl was united in marriage with Priscilla Johnson Sorknes of Moorhead at the Bethesda Lutheran Church in that city. They were blessed with three children.
He was ordained the end of May 1953, performed the wedding of his sister Ardell the following Sunday at the family farm, and one week later was installed as the pastor of three-point parish centered in Noonan, North Dakota.
Returning to Minnesota, Earl served parishes at Big Bend and West Bank near Milan, Trinity in Westbrook, and Minnehaha-Communion in Minneapolis. During his ministry he pursued further studies at Biblical Seminary in New York City, Luther Seminary in St. Paul, and Vancouver Theological Seminary in Vancouver, Canada, plus numerous workshops and seminars at various locations. Earl also spent a sabbatical studying at the University School of Theology in Oslo, Norway.
Earl had a beautiful baritone voice with which he chanted the liturgy, sang in each church choir where he was a pastor, and was often called on to solo.
Earl and his wife became charter members of the reorganized Solørlag of America, an organization for people with ancestry in the Solør area of Norway. He served as a president and as a director, in addition to attending board meetings and planning sessions together with his wife who has been genealogist for the organization since its reorganization in 1983.
Following the lead of a mother with a "green thumb," Earl enjoyed gardening, concentrating particularly on flowers. His 200 foot long highway strip of plants and flowers at Lake Viola in Wisconsin has drawn the attention and praises of passers-by for many summers.
Left to mourn Earl's passing are his wife Priscilla, son Mark Nathaniel Grefsrud (Sue Fisher), daughter Pauline Gustafson (Terry Frovik), three grandchildren: Amanda Gustafson, Erik Gustafson, and Sara Massmann (Johann), plus great-grandchildren Anton, Margo and Lydia; siblings Ardell Nelson (Robert), Glenda Bengtson (David), Lorraine Grefsrud, Ardean Grefsrud (Adele) and Wanda Erickson (Carl); and sisters-in-law Joan Meyer Grefsrud, Muriel Nelson Grefsrud, and Joanne Tatley Grefsrud. A host of nieces and nephews plus other relatives and friends join in remembering and honoring Earl's life of 84 years among us.
Preceding him in death were his parents, sisters Myrtle Olson (Oscar), Mamie Peterson (Ernest), and Thelma Peterson (Norman), brothers Orvald, Raymond, Norris, and Vernon as well as daughter Lorinda Grefsrud (Larry Maxwell).
Blessed be his memory.
Service Monday, December 17th, 11 AM at MINDEKIRKEN, Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, 924 E. 21st St., Mpls. Visitation Sunday, December 16th, 4-6 PM at BRADSHAW (McDivitt-Hauge), 3131 Minnehaha Ave. S. and also one hour prior to service at church. Interment Tuesday, December 18th, 1 PM (weather permitting) at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Moorhead, MN.
Memorials to Mindekirken Foundation.