From Pastor Mike
Updated November 2008
Alma Nelson was an inspiration to the Village Church for over 10 years. She was a member of what then was Leisure World Christian Assembly when I came as pastor in 1991. Up until the last year of her life she
hosted a prayer meeting in her home every month.
Alma was a loving and giving person and loved to drive.
She was a taxi for several of our members who did not drive and she seldom arrived at a prayer meeting or worship service without a
car full of people.
It was in her home in 1992 at one of our weekly prayer meetings that our “Family Prayer Project” was inspired. She was one of the first people to list the names of all of her living family members so we could pray for them at all of our public services. Her first draft had over 70 names on it and when she passed away it had over a hundred names. We continue to pray for all of her family three times a week.
Since her home going I have had the joy of marrying two of her grandsons, Chris and Carl. At each of those weddings I held up their grandmothers prayer list with their names on it and reminded them of the prayers their grandmother had for them over the years—and that we had and would continued to pray for them as we do for the rest of the family.
Alma left a legacy with
our ministry that continues
to this day!
We were a fortunate family, having a wonderful Mom for such a long, prosperous life. She was always an inspiration to each of us, her family and friends.
Mom was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Both of her parents were Norwegian immigrants who met in South Dakota after coming to this country. Carl Hanseth was from Mosjoen, and Alette was from Floro. They were married in 1909. Mom was born in 1910 and learned to speak English after she started school. Those were the days when the language of their Lutheran Church was also Norwegian. Life in South Dakota was difficult, due to the harsh winter’s impact on children’s health and work was scarce.
Mom’s written family history tells about the five Norwegian families from Aberdeen who decided in 1922 to pick up everything they had and move to Los Angeles. Our Grandpa learned to drive only three weeks before he bought the 1921 Dodge sedan for the trip. The six-week cross-country camping trip included getting lost and separated from others along the way. After arriving in Los Angeles, they camped at Lincoln Park before finding work and eventually purchasing a home on West 76th Street.
Mom went to Fremont High School and Woodbury College before starting her working career with the office of Fox West Coast Studios on Vermont Ave. Social life for Alma and her sisters, Pearl and Lily revolved around dances at Peer Gynt Lodge. She became a member in 1926.
In 1929 mom met our Dad Eric, a Swedish immigrant, and they were married just after the start of the Great Depression. Their Scandinavian work ethic carried them through a number of job and family experiences. Mom raised six children and inspired all of us with her perpetual optimism and family leadership. Economic opportunities and job changes motivated several family moves from central Los Angeles to Santa Monica, the San Fernando Valley and Vista and back to the LA area. Mom was always upbeat and supportive of all of us while we were moving from one school to another over the years.
It’s hard to imagine the love and effort required of a mother, while raising 6 children and also taking on a swing shift job at Douglas Aircraft during World War II. After we kids were raised, Mom and Dad loved their social life through Sons of Norway.
They were friends of Knut Tu and in-laws of Emil and Olga Nilson, but moved to Santa Monica before Norge Lodge was founded in 1950. But, they became charter members of Sagatun in Santa Monica where, together, they held almost every lodge office up to President. For a period in the 1960’s they were co-chairs of the District 6 Charter Flights from Los Angeles to Norway.
When they moved back to Vista in 1966, they became leaders in Norge Lodge. Alma was twice elected to the position of District 6 Social Director.
Pictured is Alma Nelson (far left behind Pastor Mike) at a prayer meeting in 1992.
Note to family and friends of Alma!
If you would like to contribute your thoughts and or photos to this page please send them to Pastor Mike.