Ellen I. Sebstead, age 90, of Fremont, died on Sunday, January 29, 2017 at her home.
Ellen saw many seasons and believed the Bible scripture, “There is a time and a purpose for everything under the kingdom of heaven.” Her 90+ years began at the Pribbernow family farm in Zittau. As the first baby girl to survive infancy, her parents, Hubert and Elsie (Raatz )Pribbernow carefully guarded and guided her. She learned the value of hard work and appreciated all of nature. Under her mother’s eye, she learned to crochet and knit. She loved to read and to converse with people of all ages. She found joy and a sense of community in her church, Immanuel Lutheran, where she was baptized, sang in the choir, and helped the Ladies Aid. During her twenties, Ellen worked for the Readfield Telephone Company. It was here that her future would take a change of course. A young man named Art, walked into the office after his Chevy broke down and needed to make a call. He described her as a “cute red head” and made excuses for return visits to the building. The two were married in 1949 and had three sons and a daughter. As a married couple, their seasons continued as they raised their children in the Lutheran faith, and worked hard to improve and expand their Meadow Lane Farms. Ellen told of Art’s ideas to improve the family business and said that she would encourage and support him. She cooked for family, hired men, and neighbors. She also milked cows, picked strawberries, bagged onions and an endless number of potatoes. The whole family worked together, and their work was rewarded by community recognition of their annual strawberry picking and autumn pumpkin harvest. The maple syrup they produced also brought praise. Ellen’s strongest passion was her family. She was devoted to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her great-grandson Hunter said, “If you meet her, and get to know her, she will stay in your heart.” His words ring true for family members and friends. She loved visiting with all visitors. Her refrigerator displayed favorite pictures and messages. A message saved by Ellen over the years, from Nicole, read, “Gramma, I love you with all of my heart.” So many shared that emotion. Ellen described her life as one which was lived well. She leaves the spiritual legacy to her family and friends to live well and share her belief that there is a time and purpose for everything under the kingdom of heaven.
Ellen is lovingly remembered by her children, Douglas (Arlene), and their children, Vicki (Chris) Jensen, David (Mary) Wilke, Douglas (Lisa) Wilke and Tricia (David) Miller; Lee, and his children, Rachel Sebstead and Nicole (Eugene) Kiehnau; Mark (Kathy), and their children David Sebstead, Lori (Nick) Olsen and Emily Sebstead; Jane Barbar, and her children, Patrick Sebstead, Scott (Kristen) Veeser, Kimberly and Cody Barnard; many great-grandchildren, a brother-in-law, Neil Pergande, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Art; two infant sisters, Helen and Phyllis; a brother, Wilmer, and a sister, Marcella Pergande.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, February 3, 2017 at 11 a.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 9077 North Rd., Fremont. Pastor Mark Kinney will officiate. Burial will be in Lakeside Cemetery, Fremont. Visitation will be held on Thursday, at the Lewin Funeral Home from 4-7 p.m., and on Friday at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of service. A memorial fund has been established.
Ellen’s family would like to extend their appreciation to ThedaCare Hospice staff, Lisa and John Brazil, and to those friends who offered time and help when the season required it.